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Miami Heat sign Yante Maten as their second two-way contract player

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Yante Maten gets a chance to hone his skills under the watchful of Heat coaches.

NCAA Basketball: SEC Conference Tournament-Georgia vs Vanderbilt Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat have officially made Yante Maten part of the family with a two-way deal.

OFFICIAL: The Miami HEAT have signed forward Yante Maten to a two-way contract. More info

Maten showed a lot of promise over the summer and will get a chance to bring his skills to the next level under the guidance of NBA-level professional coaches Erik Spoelstra and his staff, per an official press release.

“Maten appeared in seven Summer League games (one start) with the HEAT in both Sacramento and Las Vegas and averaged 10.7 points and 5.6 rebounds while shooting 44.6 percent from the field, 38.5 percent from three-point range and 76.9 percent from the foul line. He posted five double-figure scoring games, including 19 points off the bench on 8-of-14 shooting from the field and a perfect 3-of-3 from the foul line while grabbing seven rebounds and blocking two shots in a, 110-106, win against New Orleans in the first round of the Las Vegas tournament.”

He had quite an illustrious college career also, snagging some hard-to-get accolades.

“Maten, the 2018 SEC Player of the Year, played four seasons at the University of Georgia appearing in 128 career collegiate games (97 starts). Among the school’s all-time lists, he finished second in points (1,886), third in blocks (198), fourth in rebounds (889) and free throws made (518), sixth in field goals made (655), 13th in free throw percentage (.755) and 15th in field goal percentage (.483). He scored the most points during a single season by a senior (636), including the fifth-most overall, in school history while appearing in 33 games (all starts) and averaging 19.3 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.48 blocks and 34.3 minutes while shooting 46.4 percent from the field last season. He also led the conference in scoring average, becoming just the fifth player in school history to accomplish the feat. Additionally, Maten became the first Bulldog in 25 years to earn three All-SEC honors in his career and just the sixth player in program history to achieve the feat.”

In a summer league game against the Los Angeles Lakers, Maten (#71) displayed his smooth stroke from downtown, made a nice outlet pass, showed great hustle running down the court for a put-back basket, and had the ability to get baskets in traffic.

Maten’s field goal percentages dipped in his senior year: 2P% from .495 to .523 to .493, and 3P% from .533 to .488 to .341, while his free-throw percentages improved .783 to .716 to a stellar .801.

Probably a Grade 2 MCL sprain he suffered in 2017, which can cause loss of lift, affected those numbers.

“Georgia was also without forward Yante Maten for the NIT opener. Maten played back-to-back days against Tennessee and Kentucky in the SEC Tournament after sustaining a Grade 2 MCL sprain in his right knee. Following the Kentucky game, Fox said Maten’s knee did not recover well, which led to the decision to keep him out for the Belmont game.”

The next year against University of Kentucky, Maten suffered a painful bone bruise.

“He had actually suffered a deep bruise in his leg, and although he tried to play through it, it had an effect on his play.

“From the very beginning, Kentucky was able to control Maten on the interior. Like many teams do, the Wildcats double-teamed, sometimes triple-teamed him, but the Wildcats’ length and athleticism was far too much for the senior forward to handle.

“With Maten not much of a factor, scoring only nine points on 2 of 10 shooting, the Wildcats had a field day on the boards, grabbing several contested rebounds, which allowed them to extend their possessions and find higher-percentage shots.”

Once Maten gets back to full health and in Heat shape, Miami might have themselves a player who could have been this summer’s draft pick.

An overlooked fact is his youth for a 4-year college player, because he’s only 21 years-old as of today, and will be 22 next month.

Miami now has four versatile players to groom who are between 21 and 22 years old: Bam Adebayo (6’10”, 255 lbs, b. 7/18/1997), Derrick Jones Jr. (6’7”, 200 lbs, b. 2/15/1997), Yante Maten (6’8”, 240 lbs, b. 8/14/1996), Justise Winslow (6’7”, 225 lbs, b. 3/26/1996), which gives them a stealth youth movement after this summer of inactivity in the 2018 NBA Draft.