PHILADELPHIA — Over the course of 10 months, Ricky Council IV has been looking to prove to the Philadelphia 76ers that he is a true NBA-caliber player. The undrafted rookie's new contract signifies a massive success in that goal.

The Sixers converted Council's contract from a two-way deal to a four-year contract that makes him eligible for the 2024 postseason. He played in just 31 games for Philly so far this season but has looked impressive when he got extended minutes. Currently on the fringes of the rotation, Council will be there at Nick Nurse's disposal for the rest of the season.

Council said this season has been “a roller coaster” after going undrafted, getting waived and then re-signed to a two-way deal four days later in October, playing in the G League with the Delaware Blue Coats and then going in and out of the 76ers' rotation. Dodging the emotional peaks and valleys allowed him to prosper.

“I just don't get too high, I don't get too low and continue to believe in myself and continue to stay working,” Council said. “I mean, that's all I've been doing, all I've been doing my whole life. That's how I got to this point. It paid off.”

Last week, Council said, was when he got word that the 76ers could be converting his contract, which Philly did the day before the deadline. In March, with his contract status becoming more serious amid some impressive performances, he said that his focus was on letting his game do the talking. In doing so, he shouted to the Sixers that he needed to be a part of their short-term and longer-term future.

Council's athleticism pops in everything he does on the court. His incredible dunks, iron-willed drives into the paint and defensive versatility make him very impactful. The 22-year-old may lack NBA experience but his feel on the court is mature. His shooting has come along nicely and his motor never stops. It’s something that Nurse has praised numerous times throughout the season.

Terquavion Smith said he was proud of Council for earning his new contract, calling it a “surreal moment.” Seeing a fellow undrafted rookie get a standard contract inspires him to keep working in the hopes of landing his own.

Smith has been on the same journey with Council, signing with the 76ers as an undrafted free agent and spending a chunk of his rookie season with the Blue Coats. The two have become close and now with Council signed for the next few years, Smith hopes for the same.

“He worked hard. I've been with him since the first day, so it was good seeing him get that deal,” Smith said. “It means a lot to me. It just gave me extra motivation too, just to know it's possible…It just means a lot to me for that to be my friend and see him work as hard as he did and get it.

The fact that Council earned a multi-year contract with a good team makes his accomplishment all the more impressive. The 76ers are looking to compete for a championship, meaning that they have less time to experiment with young players with questionable NBA pedigree. Council, who saw plenty of chances to play amid a myriad of injuries, showed that there were no questions about his. Now, he could see some action in the postseason.

“I'm really excited for the opportunity,” he said.Heard the playoffs is a different beast but I'm ready for it.”

The rest of Council's veteran teammates have grown fond of him, too. He said that they “started jumping me” when the news of his new deal broke. 76ers fans have been waiting to see if Council would get a new deal and rejoiced when it finally happened. “Definitely shoutout to the fans. They're very funny,” he said. “They're very funny but I love the support and I'll continue to build that relationship.”

Council said his mother flew into town on Friday, so the two got to celebrate the new contract together. He said that she will be in the stands as the Sixers finish their regular season against the Brooklyn Nets. If Council plays, it'll be the first time she gets to see him in an NBA game. He said that she will “for sure” cry if he gets called on to play.

Smith will be watching for any chances Council gets to play after the regular season. The lessons he learned from his first NBA campaign in the 76ers organization will benefit him going forward.

“I feel like I've been doing a great job of maintaining a good mental space and understanding the game,” Smith said. “I feel like I've learned how to have a better shot selection, time and score, all that type of stuff to grow on. I feel like overall I've learned how to play the NBA game.”

For Ricky Council IV, the journey to the NBA is just getting started — and he knows where it will be happening. His talent and hard work ensured that his tenure with the 76ers would not end after his rookie year.

“I have high expectations for myself but they don't always happen the way I plan 'em out. It happened a little later,” Council said of sticking around in the NBA, “but it happened. So, I'm blessed.”