SportsProf

(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Matt Walsh Signs with Miami Heat

Hot off the presses, so read all about it.

And some of the money is guaranteed, too!

It's a free country, so it's any college player's decision to leave school early and to enter the NBA draft, even if you don't have a prayer of being drafted. Matt Walsh, the swingman from Florida with the good offensive game who was MVP of the SEC tournament, left Florida early, as did teammates David Lee and Anthony Roberson. Many questioned why any of them left early.

Lee went to the NBA-sponsored workouts in Chicago and impressed the scouts so much that he made his way into the first round, being the last pick of the first round. Roberson flopped in his workouts and went undrafted. Walsh worked out for a lot of teams -- but he didn't go to the pre-draft camp in Chicago. Even so, on the eve of the draft was confident that he was going to be selected between 18th and 30th in the first round.

He went undrafted. And because he signed with an agent after declaring for the draft, he became ineligible to return to Florida.

Someone gave Walsh bad advice, at least as to the part about being drafted in the first round and most likely about electing not to go to Chicago. Walsh and his camp (his agent and his father, particularly) are defensive on the overall point of what advice Walsh got and whether it was bad, arguing that the critics don't know what they're talking about. Whether Walsh had a shot at making a pro roster -- even if going undrafted -- well, it's obvious that some people, including Matt Walsh himself, liked his chances.

There is more to this kid than the frilly haircut and headband that he fancied while he played at Florida (and there's more to him than the Playmate girlfriend he had, too). He played hard, has a good offensive game, is pretty quick and is an excellent shooter. He's relatively slight in build and has to get stronger, but he does have the potential to be a good player on a professional team -- somewhere. Clearly, he'd like his next team to be an NBA team, and not one in Spain or Italy.

I thought Walsh would have benefitted from another year in college, a year in which he could have gotten stronger and better on the defensive end to solidify his status with an NBA team and, importantly, to get serious playing time. It's unclear how Walsh will develop even if he makes an NBA team, because most likely he'll be a thirteenth, fourteenth or fifteenth man, and it's unclear how much playing time, let alone roster time, he'll get in that spot.

Hard being a kid, and hard to filter advice when the lights are so bright. Let's just hope for his sake that in pursuit of those bright lights, the heat that they give off doesn't melt a promising pro career that begins, from most estimates, prematurely.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really glad Matt Walsh has signed with the Heat. I followed his career with UofF and feel he will be an asset to the Heat.

3:41 PM  
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