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Sports Illustrator
07-06-2008, 11:02 PM
MIAMI, July 5 (AP) - Everywhere Mario Chalmers goes these days, someone asks about The Shot.

You know the one. Down by three, 2.1 seconds left, NCAA title game, Kansas vs. Memphis. Chalmers gets the ball near the top of the key, lets fly over the outstretched arm of Memphis guard Derrick Rose and waits for the crowd to roar. They did, the Jayhawks head to overtime and minutes later, they're the national champions and Chalmers is the hero of the Sunflower State.

"The biggest shot in Kansas history,'' Kansas coach Bill Self said. "It'll never be forgotten.''

Fast forward 2 1/2 months. Somehow, on NBA draft night, Chalmers felt he was forgotten.

Fortunately for him, the Miami Heat remembered.

Now, Chalmers starts anew. Drafted 34th overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves and subsequently traded to the Heat for two second-round picks and cash, the boyish-looking 6-foot-1 guard who grew up amid the long winters of Anchorage now heads to sultry South Beach. He expected to be a first-round selection - and so did the Heat, who had him ranked 12th on their draft board - but both sides couldn't be happier with the outcome.

"For them to think that highly of me, it's a great honor,'' Chalmers said.

Chalmers will likely see plenty of minutes this coming week at summer league in Orlando, where the Heat will play five games in five days starting Monday. Sure, most eyes in the stands at Miami's summer games will likely be tuned on No. 2 overall pick Michael Beasley - Chalmers' rival from Kansas State this past season - but the Heat will be paying attention to what Chalmers can do as well.

Upgrading the point guard position is one of Miami's top priorities this summer. Incumbent starter Jason Williams is an unrestricted free agent and isn't a guarantee to return, backup Chris Quinn is a restricted free agent who may be lured elsewhere, and Marcus Banks - whom the Heat got last season in the deal that sent Shaquille O'Neal to Phoenix and brought Shawn Marion to Miami - is still considered to be a bit of an unproven commodity.

Chalmers knows opportunity is knocking.

"We don't want to put too much on his shoulders, but he definitely shows some good leadership qualities out there,'' new Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "He's very good at communicating and talking to his teammates. Pays attention, he knows what's going on, you can tell he's a highly intelligent guy.''

Oh, and he can flat-out play, too.

His shot in the NCAA championship game - which immediately began being mentioned in the same breath as Michael Jordan's jumper for North Carolina against Georgetown in 1982 and Keith Smart's baseline make in the final seconds of Indiana's 1987 title-game win over Syracuse - is hardly the only highlight from Chalmers' three seasons at Kansas.

Chalmers scored 30 points in the Jayhawks' win over Texas in the league title game this past season. But even with a Most Outstanding Player award from the Final Four on his resume, Chalmers' college calling card was defense: He was the 2007 Big 12 defensive player of the year, held Texas star guard D.J. Augustin to 1-for-13 shooting in a regular-season meeting earlier this year, and holds Kansas' single-season record for steals (97, set in each of the last two years).

"I take a lot of pride in my defense,'' Chalmers said. "I think that starts with my mom. Growing up, she always instilled in me defense and my dad always instilled offense. I just tried to use them both and that's why I'm the player I am today.''

Somehow, though, he kept slipping on draft night, a fact that wasn't lost in the Heat draft room.

After drafting Beasley, they tried to obtain another first-round pick to take Chalmers, but couldn't close any deals. So then the deal was struck with Minnesota, but before the Timberwolves could actually take Chalmers, there was one more hurdle to clear.

Portland picked 33rd overall. The Trail Blazers' general manager, Kevin Pritchard, was the starting point guard on Kansas' national title team in 1988. Surely he would take Chalmers and dash Miami's hopes, right?

Not quite.

Portland picked Memphis' Joey Dorsey. The same Joey Dorsey who slumped in disbelief when Chalmers' 3-pointer sent the title game to overtime and denied the Tigers a championship.

Talk about irony.

"There's a lot to like about Mario and I don't think we thought we'd be in position to add him to this team,'' Heat general manager Randy Pfund said.

What happens next is up to Chalmers.

He can shoot and he can defend, two things Heat president Pat Riley absolutely craves from his point guards. So even though the first-round dream didn't happen, he could very easily find himself playing alongside Dwyane Wade quite a bit in Miami.

Chalmers clearly likes that notion.

"Anytime you come from a small town like Anchorage, Alaska, and step into the big time at the University of Kansas, it's a great honor but at the same time you're going to be a little nervous,'' Chalmers said. "Right now I'm just trying not to be nervous. I'll just use what I used at Kansas and apply it here.''

From NBA.COM (http://www.nba.com/nba_news/heat_chalmers_070805.html)

daleja424
07-07-2008, 07:31 AM
12th on the heats draft board??? Wow they really did steal him!!! I THOUGHT HE WAS LIKE 25th, but 12th. Either pat got it wrong or a lot of other people did...

ATX
07-07-2008, 11:07 AM
Great article!

What a perfect situation Chalmers finds himself in. He is in a situation that gives him the best chance to succeed. He provides exactly what the Heat are looking for. A point who plays tough on the defensive end, who can hit the outside shot with consistency, who is rises in the face of adversity, and who is a good character guy. Chalmers has the attitude and work ethic to succeed at this level, and he will embrace his opportunity to play alongside Wade. I'm really excited to see him play.

DQL
07-07-2008, 01:31 PM
Oh Riley did try to trade up to get Chalmers? We would have given up a lot. But thanks god we got him at the price of only 2 2nd round picks!! That's one hell of a steal!

jgray305
07-07-2008, 02:42 PM
Kind of ironic chalmers hit that BIG shot over Rose. Pretty sweet...

BALLER71
07-07-2008, 03:00 PM
Kind of ironic chalmers hit that BIG shot over Rose. Pretty sweet...

Hopefully we'll see that again ;)

King Koopa
07-07-2008, 03:01 PM
Thats nice to have someone with that Mindset, kind of reminds me of younger Zo, they both take pride in there Defense, if only there were more players like that, the game would be much better to watch, instead of watching players going up and down scoring.

ATX
07-07-2008, 03:04 PM
Kind of ironic chalmers hit that BIG shot over Rose. Pretty sweet...

How freaking hillarious would it be if Chalmers turns out to be a better pro...I'm not saying he will, but that would be so funny!

Giaps
07-08-2008, 07:06 PM
This guy is beasting.

19 points, 9 assists and 3 steals today. Knicks missed out on this guy.

ATX
07-08-2008, 07:23 PM
This guy is beasting.

19 points, 9 assists and 3 steals today. Knicks missed out on this guy.

I know it's just the summer league, but ya, he's already starting to turn heads.

greek miami hea
07-08-2008, 07:56 PM
he is a gift from god.oh!beastley and supermario rocks!this was one of the best drafts in our franchise history(if not the best)

denversgm
07-08-2008, 09:22 PM
congrat to the heat i was praying denver would take him in the first, then they traded their pick, and when i saw him land in the second i was praying we would trade to get him instead we go after Weems.

all i can say is miami u r lucky ur front office isnt as bad as ours.

Diehardheatfan
07-08-2008, 09:51 PM
Go Heat!!!!

DQL
07-08-2008, 10:26 PM
If he can keep up this performance throughout the rest of camp then the starting PG job is definitely his. That's my boi :clap: