Buay Tuach has come a long way in the past three years. In 2015, Tuach wrapped up his sophomore year at Northeast Community College in Norfolk, Nebraska— two and half hours northwest of the state’s capital, Lincoln. Since then, the 23-year-old guard finished his collegiate career at Loyola Marymount and has used the NBA G League and Westchester Knicks to propel him to the next level.
Coming out of Omaha South High school, Tuach chose to go down the junior college path. He believed it was best for him, so he could continue developing and learn more about the game. Soon after, he took his talents to Loyola Marymount. Tuach believed he could do a lot in his two years there and attributed how great of a journey it was under Mike Dunlap, who carries a track record of developing players and boasts NBA coaching experience.
“I had a great coach that coached in the NBA that had a lot of development skills with players and also had a lot of connections,” Tuach told KnicksJournal.com. “I just stuck with him and he was in my corner and he helped me throughout my two years at Loyola Marymount and that was a good journey for me.”
Tuach made a significant leap from his junior to his senior season. With his increased time on the court, the 23-year-old guard was able to showcase his athleticism, along with improvements in his shooting and perimeter game. Tuach attributed his strong senior campaign to his focus in improving his overall game.
“During that offseason, I was just trying to focus on getting better at everything little thing that I’ve been getting critiqued about,” Tuach said. “I had access to the Loyola Marymount gym all summer. Coach Dunlap would be there whenever I needed him to be and just got the work done. As long as you put the work in, the results will show up.”
As Tuach mentioned, Dunlap had experience in The Association, which included two years as an assistant coach with the Denver Nuggets and one season as the-then Charlotte Bobcats’ head coach. The Loyola Marymount coach instilled mental toughness in Tuach, which kept him to keep pushing himself.
After his collegiate career came to an end, he was set to start his professional career with the Phoenix Hagen in Germany. Tuach didn’t make his debut in the German ProA league since he had passport issues. Instead, through the words of his coach, the Loyola Marymount product entered his name in the 2017 NBA G League Draft and was selected in the second round (No. 30 overall) by the Long Island Nets. Despite not staying with Long Island, it didn’t take long for him to make another roster. Four days after being waived, Tuach’s journey was rerouted 39 miles north to White Plains, New York.
In his rookie season with the Westchester Knicks, Tuach didn’t see much action early on. Even with other players ahead of him on the depth chart, Tuach always remained ready and focused. Through the challenges, he kept himself positive for when the opportunity came knocking.
“The challenges are just staying mentally stable [and] don’t get down on yourself,” the Westchester guard said. “[You should] always be positive and just know that your name could get called at time. When your name is called, be prepared to go in and do the work that needs to be done.”
When the roster started to shake up, the 6’6″ guard took on an increased opportunity and had some productive games in those outings. Along with the assistance from the coaching staff, Tuach was getting in a grove and displayed his skills. He recorded seven points on 50% from the field in a January 27 meeting against the Erie BayHawks. In March, Tuach saw an increased role and capitalized on that.
“It’s an opportunity that I really got to take on,” Tuach said. “When they get called up, that’s just motivation. You’re really a step closer to your dream. I’m just happy what’s happening.”
On his growth and development during the season, Tuach believes his handles and shot got better in his Westchester tenure.
“My handles got a bit tighter,” Tuach said. “My shot got better because now I’m holding my follow through more and that’s something I really never done. I let go of my release quick and just playing off the ball, [including] coming off screens and knocking down shots from the mid-range. I’ve been really locked in on defense.”
His magic touch continued against Erie in March when he fell a rebound short of a double-double. The Westchester guard was slamming down dunks in transition and had his most efficient shooting game of the season. He was able to connect on 5-of-7 shots from the field, while draining 2-of-3 shots from deep.
With his rookie season in the books, Tuach has a great situation in Westchester and it was a blessing of a season. The Loyola Marymount product saw his game grow and was around a winning environment that accumulated 32 wins. He believes the NBA is in his future, but his magic 8-ball doesn’t have a time frame on when that will happen. His determination and consistency to improve and develop was on display for the Knicks. By having skills like that will only push him to the next level.