Thursday, June 26, 2014

Shabazz Napier heading to Miami Heat, could be teammate of LeBron James

Shabazz Napier was selected by Charlotte with the 24th pick in the NBA Draft, then immediately traded to the Miami Heat.

He got a congratulatory hug from Isaiah Thomas, among others:

Here's some of what Napier had to say:

“I would love it,” Napier said. “Me and LeBron’s relationship, he’s a great guy. I’ve been to his camps. Me and him chatted a few time at his camps. He’s just a special (person).”

Asked if he had spoken with James recently, Napier said: “He doesn’t have my number.”

After Napier was selected, James said on Twitter: “My favorite player in the draft! #Napier.”

“My agent just told me that he tweeted something out about me just now,” Napier said. “It’s something special to know that one of the best players in the world thinks about you and appreciates your talent. That’s something that I’m humble for.”

With Mario Chalmers now a free agent and Norris Cole coming off a shaky postseason, Napier could step right into the starting point guard role with Miami.

“There’s always opportunity to do something great,” he said. “No matter if I was going to slide in as a starter or come off the bench, I’m going to work hard. I’m going to compete. That’s who I am.”

Despite two national championships and dozens of clutch shots on his resume, Napier was the last of the 20 or so players invited to the green room to be selected. Four point guards and several players whom Napier defeated during his college career were picked ahead of him. Some NBA personnel had questioned Napier’s athleticism heading into the draft.

Napier was asked if slipping to No. 24 would put a chip on his shoulder.

“The chip never leaves my shoulder,” he said. “It will never leave my shoudler. That’s what makes me who I am.”

Here's Shabazz entering the green room early in the evening:

Soon afterwards, DeAndre Daniels was selected by Toronto with the No. 37 overall pick.

Said Daniels: "This is a dream come true. I’m just excited right now. When I heard my name called, I started crying and hugging my family. I’m just so happy Toronto took the opportunity to draft me. I’ll show them it’s not a mistake, I’m going to work hard and I’ve got a chip on my shoulder and I’m going to try to prove a point to everybody.”

(on Toronto)

“I loved it out there, man. It’s a great city, great organization, great team. I can’t wait to get out there and get started.”

(on watching the draft with his family in Manchester)

“It was tough. I was patient, I was walking around non-stop. When it got close to, like, 28, 29, I went to my room. I came out at the right time, and my whole family started going crazy.”

"I just got off the phone with Shabazz. He told me he was happy for me, I told him I was happy for him. He said, 'This is not the end, we're gonna keep working. This is what UConn does.'"

Couple of other quick notes:

*** By my count, the 20 players invited to the green room Thursday night went a combined 1-8 vs. UConn. Julius Randle, James Young and Noah Vonleh all went 0-1, Gary Harris went 0-2 and poor Adreian Payne went 0-3. NC State's T.J. Warren got the lone win.

I don't know what that says, but I guess it says something.

*** Steve Enoch had a good visit to UConn on Thursday. He watched the NBA Draft and was slated to play in pickup games afterwards. Don't know about the other visitors at this point.

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