NBA: Beasley doesnít drop far
By Tim Reynolds
MIAMI ó Michael Beasley left his workout with the Miami Heat last week, telling confidants that he wanted to begin his NBA career learning from Pat Riley.
Heís in line to get that opportunity.
The star Kansas State forward went to the Heat with the No. 2 selection in the NBA draft Thursday night moments after the Chicago Bulls, as expected, took Memphis point guard Derrick Rose with the top pick.
So barring a trade, Beasley will line up alongside Dwyane Wade when the Heat begins its rebuilding project next season.
iWeíre here now,î the 19-year-old Beasley said. iIím happy with the decision that has been made, and Iím just ready to get to Miami.î
Beasley was expected to arrive in South Florida today, when heíll be formally introduced as the highest Heat draft pick in team history. Most of the estimated 4,000 fans at the teamís draft party stood and cheered when Beasleyís name was announced; one young boy even wore a Heat jersey with iBeasleyî stitched over the name of a former Miami player ó Shaquille OíNeal.
iI donít think there was any question on our part,î said Riley, the Heat president who retired as head coach after this past season. iWe love Michael. Heís an incredible athlete. Heís a great scorer. I donít even want to get into talking with you about the numbers weíve analyzed. Theyíre really off the charts.î
Beasley averaged 26.2 points and a Division I-best 12.4 rebounds in his lone season at Kansas State. The Heat were largely silent in the weeks leading up to the draft and worked out several other prospects, prompting speculation they simply werenít enthralled with Beasley.
Not even close.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra even called the Miami-doesnít-want-Beasley talk in recent days ia little humorous.î
iIn the last couple days, we felt very comfortable that if he was available we were very excited to take the pick,î Spoelstra said.
Riley said his top personnel staff ó general manager Randy Pfund, player personnel VP Chet Kammerer and director of college scouting Adam Simon ó igot me in a room and made sure that Mr. Beasley was going to be part of the Miami Heat.î
Riley said several teams asked about making trades with Miami in an effort to get the chance to draft Beasley, and one of those deals would have included a point guard and a center ó two areas of need for the Heat.
But Riley declined the overtures.
iThey were good players,î Riley said. iBut I think this kidís going to be a great player.î
Beasley, according to the people around him, would be thrilled to be on South Beach for years to come.
iHe canít wait to get going,î said Bruce Shingler, who left his job on Kansas Stateís basketball staff to be Beasleyís mentor for his first pro season.
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