NEW YORK -- Brooklyn Nets interim coach Tony Brown looked over in Chris McCullough's direction. After nearly 13 months of rehab, it was time for the 21-year-old rookie to make his long-awaited NBA debut.
McCullough checked into the Nets' 105-104 victory over the Denver Nuggets early in the second quarter Monday and ultimately played 11 minutes. He scored two points, grabbed two rebounds and came up with a steal and a block.
First, he drained a 20-foot jumper for his first career points.
"It felt good when it left my hand," he said.
Brooklyn's first-round draft pick (No. 29 overall), McCullough had not played in a game since Jan. 11, 2015, the day he suffered a torn ACL just 16 games into his collegiate career at Syracuse.
"Hearing [Tony] call my name," McCullough said when asked what he'll remember most. "And I was like, 'Oh, snap! You're calling me [to go in]?'"
McCullough knew he would play Monday; his coach told him so. But after all he had been through to get to that point, the moment Brown told him to head to the scorer's table and get ready to check in was special, he said.
"It just felt good to get out there and finally get my first one out of the way," McCullough said. "I was dead after the first three minutes, but it was good to be out there again."
McCullough said he has been told his minutes limit is around 14, as of now.
McCullough's parents, sisters and uncle -- who lives with him at his condo in New Jersey -- were all in attendance. The 6-foot-11 forward, who grew up in the projects in the Bronx, became the first New York native to play for the Brooklyn Nets.
"I didn't feel rusty out there," McCullough said. "But they called one play I didn't know, so I didn't know what I was doing. I just tried to set a screen and get going."