Shabazz Napier

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Shabazz Napier
Shabazz Napier, Connecticut Huskies.jpg
Napier playing for Connecticut in 2011
No. 13 – Miami Heat
Position Point guard
League NBA
Personal information
Born (1991-07-14) July 14, 1991 (age 23)
Roxbury, Massachusetts
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Listed weight 180 lb (82 kg)
Career information
High school Charlestown
(Charlestown, Massachusetts)
Lawrence Academy
(Groton, Massachusetts)
College Connecticut (2010–2014)
NBA draft 2014 / Round: 1 / Pick: 24th overall
Selected by the Charlotte Hornets
Pro career 2014–present
Career history
2014–present Miami Heat
2014 Sioux Falls Skyforce
Career highlights and awards

Shabazz Bozie Napier (born July 14, 1991) is an American professional basketball player who currently plays for the Miami Heat of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He was drafted 24th overall by the Charlotte Hornets in the 2014 NBA draft and immediately traded to the Miami Heat. Napier played college basketball for the UConn men's basketball team, and won two national championships in 2011 and 2014. Napier was a key player for the Huskies' 2010–11 NCAA championship team, as he made the Big East All Rookie team.[1] Following his junior season, Napier was selected to the All-Big East first team.[2]

In the 2013–14 season, Napier was unanimously selected for the All-AAC first team, and was named the inaugural American Athletic Conference Player of the Year.[3] He was again one of UConn's key players when they won the NCAA tournament for a second time in four years in 2014 and was named as the tournament's most outstanding player.[4]

Early life[edit]

Napier was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts to Puerto Rican native, Carmen Velasquez. He has an older sister Titana and an older brother Timmie. He grew up without a father in a poor city surrounded by drugs and violence,[5] and his family often struggled financially as his mother raised him and his older siblings by herself.[6]

High school career[edit]

Napier attended his first two years of high school at Charlestown High School in Charlestown, Massachusetts before transferring to Lawrence Academy in Groton, Massachusetts and reclassifying as a sophomore. As a junior, Napier led Lawrence Academy to an undefeated season going 29-0 in 2010, as they won the New England Prep Class C title after defeating St. Mark's finishing with 23 points, 8 steals, and 8 assists as he was named Tournament MVP.

In January 2014, Charlestown High School retired Napier's jersey.[7]

College career[edit]

Freshman season[edit]

Napier dribbling around a pick and roll play setup by teammate Alex Oriakhi.

Following his prep career, Napier chose to play at the University of Connecticut under coach Jim Calhoun.[8] Napier had a solid freshman year in 2010–11 backing up Kemba Walker. He appeared in all 41 games for the Huskies, coming off the bench averaging 7.8 points, 3.0 assists and 1.8 steals per game for the season. At the end of the regular season, Napier was named to the Big East All-Rookie team along with teammate Jeremy Lamb.[9]

Napier hit two game clinching free throws to secure a win in the Final Four against Kentucky. Napier's contribution to the team was significant, as Connecticut finished the season 32-9 (9-9) in conference play and won both the Big East Conference Championship and National Championship in 2011.[6]

Sophomore season[edit]

During the summer after his freshman year, Napier was invited to the trials for the 2011 World University Games team.[10] Moving into the starting lineup as a sophomore for Connecticut, Napier was a preseason honorable mention All-Big East pick and a Bob Cousy Award candidate.[11][12] His numbers improved, as Napier averaged 13.0 points, 5.8 assists, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.6 steals per game.

Napier notched his first career triple-double (the ninth in Connecticut men's basketball history) as he tallied 22 points, 12 rebounds and 13 assists.[13] Connecticut earned a 9 seed in the NCAA Tournament, but fell short to Iowa State as the Huskies finished a disappointing season going 20-14 (8-10) in conference play. Before his junior season started, Napier considered transferring after Jim Calhoun's retirement and the team's postseason ban next season, but chose to return.[14] Connecticut hired assistant coach Kevin Ollie to replace Calhoun as head coach.

Junior season[edit]

Following his return, Napier along with backcourt teammate Ryan Boatright both rose to the national spotlight as they were highlighted as one of the nation's best backcourts, as the two averaged a combined 33 points and 9 assists per game, outplaying nearly every opponents' backcourt they played. Napier also scored his 1000th career point in a game against DePaul.[6] Napier excelled in overtime play, scoring 55 points in 45 minutes of overtime play, as he led them to a school record 5 overtime wins.[15] Napier averaged 17.1 points, 4.6 assists, 4.4 rebounds, and 2.0 steals a game.

Following the end of the regular season, Napier made the All-USBWA District 1 team, and was the USBWA District I Player of the Year.[16] Napier was then chosen to the Big East All First Team, was an honorable mention for Big East Player of the Year.[2] He led the Huskies under first year coach Kevin Ollie to a 20-10 record (10-8) in conference play despite having no postseason eligibility.

Senior season[edit]

On April 26, 2013, Napier opted to return to the team for his senior year along with teammates Ryan Boatright and DeAndre Daniels. Napier said the reason he and his teammates returned is because Napier wanted to get his degree and for him and his teammates to return to the NCAA Tournament.[15] Napier was named as a candidate for the Wooden Award, Bob Cousy Award, Naismith Award, Senior Class Award, and Oscar Robertson Trophy. Napier recorded his 2nd career triple-double (10th in UConn history) with 14 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists on November 11, 2013.[3] Napier led the team to win the 2K Sports Classic Title and was named Tournament MVP. In a game against Florida, Napier hit the game winning shot as time expired. Following the end of the regular season, Napier was named a unanimous selection for the AAC All-First team, and was awarded the inaugural AAC Player of the Year. He was named the USBWA District I Player of the Year for the second straight season, and was named a first team All-American on the Wooden team, Associated Press team, USBWA and NABC, and a second team member for Sporting News. In the AAC Tournament, Napier was named to the All-Tournament team after leading the Huskies to the championship game before falling to Louisville.

In the NCAA Tournament, Connecticut earned a 7 seed as Napier led them under second year coach Kevin Ollie past St. Joseph's, Villanova, Iowa State, and won the East Regional final defeating Michigan State as Napier was named the East Regional Most Outstanding Player. Napier continued to lead the Huskies through the Final Four defeating Florida before reaching the National Championship game. On April 6th, Napier was named the Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year award winner. On April 7th, Napier and the Huskies defeated Kentucky 60-54 in the National Championship game and Napier was named Most Outstanding Player. Connecticut finished the season 32-8 overall (12-6) in conference play, and Napier averaged 18.0 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4.9 assists, and 1.8 steals per game. Napier was later inducted into the Huskies of Honor.

Napier, along with UConn teammates Niels Giffey and Tyler Olander, are the only Division I men's players in history to have won national championships as both freshmen and seniors.[17] Napier is the only player in UConn history with 1,500 points, 500 rebounds, 500 assists, and 250 steals in his career. He finished his career in fourth place on the UConn scoring list with 1,959 points, second all-time with 260 made three-point field goals and steals with 251, first in 143 games played, and free throw made with 509, third in school history with 646 assists.[6]

College statistics[edit]

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2010–11 Connecticut 41 0 23.8 .370 .326 .771 2.4 3.0 1.6 .1 7.8
2011–12 Connecticut 34 31 35.0 .389 .355 .743 3.5 5.8 1.6 .3 13.0
2012–13 Connecticut 28 26 37.3 .441 .398 .819 4.4 4.6 2.0 .1 17.1
2013–14 Connecticut 40 40 35.1 .429 .405 .870 5.9 4.9 1.8 .3 18.0

Professional career[edit]

Miami Heat[edit]

On June 26, 2014, Napier was selected with 24th overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft by the Charlotte Hornets. He was later traded to the Miami Heat on draft night.[18][19] On July 18, 2014, he signed with the Heat after averaging 10.2 points in four summer league games.[20] On December 13, 2014, he was assigned to the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the NBA Development League[21] and recalled two days later.[22]

International career[edit]

Napier's mother and manager, Carmen Velásquez, is ethnically Puerto Rican, which made him directly eligible to represent Puerto Rico under FIBA regulations.

On February 19, 2012, it was announced that following formal meetings with personnel of the Puerto Rican Basketball Federation, he had presented the required documentation and agreed to join the Puerto Rico national basketball team's practice for its next tournament, the 2012 CentroBasket.

This tournament served as qualifier for the 2013 FIBA Americas Tournament.[23] He didn't participate in the 2012 CentroBasket due to injury.

In December 2013, the teams's coach Paco Olmos held a meeting with Napier and Velásquez, where his program was explained.[24] The coach referred to this meeting as "constructive" and later noted that both sides kept good communication.[25]

When questioned about the possibility of joining Puerto Rico in 2014, Napier responded by saying "I would love to go and have that experience. It would be something unique and that will definitely help my game for the goals I have set. It will be an honor. [...] Everything I am today as a player, I owe to [UCONN]. And as a person, to the education of my mother, who would be proud if I play for Puerto Rico."[26]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Shabazz Napier's triple-double helps UConn rally to beat Coppin State
  2. ^ a b Duffy, Kevin. "Napier named All-Big East First Team, Calhoun on All-Rookie Team - UConn Basketball". Connecticut News. Connecticut Post. Retrieved 29 June 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Shabazz Napier's triple-double lifts No. 19 UConn over Yale". ESPN.com. November 11, 2013. Retrieved June 27, 2014. 
  4. ^ "UConn's Napier named most outstanding player of Final Four". Fox News. Associated Press. Retrieved 29 June 2014. 
  5. ^ "THE PATH TO STARDOM". SportsOnEarth.com. February 11, 2014. Retrieved June 27, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b c d "Shabazz Napier Bio". UConnHuskies.com. Retrieved June 27, 2014. 
  7. ^ Shabazz Napier going back to where it all started
  8. ^ Schwartz, Alex. "BLOG.NORTHSTARBBALL.COM: Shabazz Napier Picks UConn, Attempting to Reclassify". Northstar Basketball Blog. Retrieved 29 June 2014. 
  9. ^ "Three Huskies Honored By Big East << CBS Connecticut". CBS Connecticut. CBS. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  10. ^ Keefe, Gavin. "The Day - Napier heads to tryouts, Oriakhi leaves". The Day Connecticut. The Day Connecticut. Retrieved 29 June 2014. 
  11. ^ Bethune, Ian. "UConn Men Picked To Finish Atop Big East With Syracuse". Bloguin. Bloguin. Retrieved 29 June 2014. 
  12. ^ "UConn's Shabazz Napier Candidate For Cousy Award". Hartford Courant. Hartford Courant. Retrieved 29 June 2014. 
  13. ^ Amore, Dom. "Shabazz Napier Joins List of UConn's Triple-Doubles". Hartford Courant. Hartford Courant. Retrieved 29 June 2014. 
  14. ^ "UConn’s Napier Considered Leaving After Calhoun Retired". ZagsBlog.com. Retrieved 29 June 2014. 
  15. ^ a b "Shabazz Napier Will Return For Senior Year". UConnhuskies.com. Retrieved 29 June 2014. 
  16. ^ "USBWA names All-District Teams". PickinSplinters.com. Retrieved 29 June 2014. 
  17. ^ Brennan, Eamonn (November 10, 2014). "Welcome to 'The Year After'". ESPN.com. Retrieved November 10, 2014. 
  18. ^ HEAT Acquires Shabazz Napier in the 2014 NBA Draft
  19. ^ Heat trade up for Shabazz Napier
  20. ^ HEAT Sign Shabazz Napier
  21. ^ HEAT Assign Napier and Whiteside to Skyforce
  22. ^ HEAT Recall Napier and Whiteside From Skyforce
  23. ^ "Contento Flor Meléndez con Harkless y Shabazz Napier". PrimeraHora.com (in Spanish). February 21, 2012. Retrieved February 21, 2012. 
  24. ^ Paco Olmos ya habló con Shabazz Napier
  25. ^ Olmos: "Hemos hecho todo y más para conseguir a Napier"
  26. ^ SPAIN2014 - Napier: "It will be an honor”

External links[edit]