The Miami Heat have announced the official signing of rookie Shabazz Napier just hours after locking up Udonis Haslem to a multi-year deal. The point guard will be earning around $1.2 million in his first year after being 24th in the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft.
"Shabazz is a proven winner and one of the most mature college players that I have ever met," said HEAT President Pat Riley. "Not only did he help lead UConn to two NCAA Championships, but he also knows exactly what he needs to do to make an impact at the NBA level. I believe the experience he had during the Summer League is going to payoff in leaps and bounds when training camp begins."
"Growing up, this is what you want to do," Napier told ESPN.com. "You want to be part of a great organization. It's always great to have that extra feeling of relief. I told my family about it and it's something we all will cherish."
"I spent a great deal of time studying him in preparation for the draft and we liked his qualities: his toughness, his competitiveness, his ability to play bigger in bigger moments," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said earlier this week during the Las Vegas summer league. "He has a very good feel for the point guard position but can also play off the ball. He will be a shooter in this league.
The press release details more of Napier's accomplishments before turning pro...
Napier, a two-time NCAA Champion, appeared in 143 career games (98 starts) at the University of Connecticut and averaged 13.7 points, 4.5 assists, 4.0 rebounds, 1.76 steals and 32.3 minutes while shooting 41.1 percent from the field, 37.5 percent from three-point range and 81.3 percent from the foul line. He capped his collegiate career with 1,959 points and 646 assists, becoming the only player in school history to total at least 1,500 career points and 500 career assists. Among the Huskies all-time leaders, he finished first in games played and free throws made (509), second in steals (251) and three-point field goals made (260), third in assists and steals per game, fourth in points, 10th in free throw percentage and 11th in field goals made (595).
Last season at UConn, Napier appeared in 40 games (all starts) and averaged 18.0 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.83 steals and 35.1 minutes while shooting 42.9 percent from the field, 40.5 percent from three-point range and 87 percent from the foul line. He was named the 2014 American Athletic Conference Player of the Year and the 2014 Bob Cousy Collegiate Point Guard of the Year as well as being voted a member of both the All-Conference and AP All-American First Teams. Additionally, he earned both the Final Four and East Regional Most Outstanding Player honors while averaging 21.2 points during the NCAA tournament.
Napier was acquired by the HEAT in a draft night trade after being originally selected in the first round (24th overall) by the Charlotte Hornets in the 2014 NBA Draft.