Barry Jackson

Miami Heat signs former Michigan point guard to two-way contract

Michigan guard Derrick Walton Jr. (10) reacts after he hit a 3-pointer during the first half of the Big Ten NCAA college basketball championship game against Wisconsin, Sunday, March 12, 2017, in Washington.
Michigan guard Derrick Walton Jr. (10) reacts after he hit a 3-pointer during the first half of the Big Ten NCAA college basketball championship game against Wisconsin, Sunday, March 12, 2017, in Washington. AP

An hour after signing one skilled three-point shooter, the Heat added another early Monday evening, signing former Michigan standout Derrick Walton Jr. to a two-way contract.

The signing came an hour after Miami announced it signed former UCF guard Matt Williams.

Unlike Williams, Walton Jr. was signed to a two-way deal that allows Miami to retain his rights this season, with the restriction that he can spend no more than 45 days in the NBA and must spend the remainder of the time with the Heat’s D-League affiliate in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

NBA teams can keep 16th and 17th players this season, but those players must be signed to two-way contracts.

Williams’ signing gives the Heat 16 players, with teams permitted to carry as many as 20 before and during training camp.

Walton Jr., 6-1, played for the Orlando Magic’s Summer league team and averaged 10.0 points, 3.5 assists, 2.5 rebounds and 20.5 minutes in four games while shooting 46.9 percent (15-of-32) from the field and 50 percent (6-of-12) from three-point range. His 50 percent shooting on threes for the third-highest during the Orlando Summer League with a minimum of 10 attempts.

Walton, a 2012 Parade All American, averaged 11.6 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.9 assists in four seasons at Michigan, shooting 40.4 percent from the field and 40.1 percent on three-pointers.

Last season, as a senior, he averaged 11.5 points and shot 43.6 percent overall and 42.2 percent on threes (98 for 132).

He averaged 4.9 assists compared with 1.7 turnovers, an improvement over his career assist to turnover ratio (3.9 to 1.8).

Walton appeared in 127 games (126 starts) at the University of Michigan, becoming the only player in program history to score at least 1,000 points, grab 500 rebounds and dish out 400 assists. Among the school’s all-time leaders, he finished second in free throw percentage (.837), third in starts, fourth in assists (499), tied for fourth in three-point field goals made (233), seventh in steals (146), eighth in minutes (4,053), tied for 15th in games played and 22nd in points (1,471).

He helped lead the Wolverines to the 2017 Big Ten Championship and was named the Big Ten Tournament MVP as he continued to guide Michigan to a Sweet 16 berth in the NCAA Tournament after defeating No. 2 Louisville in the previous game.

Additionally, he dished out a single-game school record 16 assists at Nebraska on March 5, 2017 and recorded just the fifth triple-double in Michigan history after tallying 10 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists against Youngstown State on December 19, 2015.

Walton gives the Heat a developmental point guard project for the first time since Briante Weber was in that position for much of the last two seasons before joining NBA teams (Golden State, Charlotte) in the second half of the season.

Here’s more on Matt Williams, also signed by the Heat on Monday.

Related stories from Miami Herald

  Comments