Before he became a four-year starter at Georgia Tech and then an undrafted D-League All-Star for the Maine Red Claws this season, new Heat swingman Marcus Georges-Hunt was always a Miami guy at heart.
Born at Miami’s Baptist Hospital, he grew up in South Miami until he was about 10 and was a fan of both the Heat and Hurricanes. In fact, had his family not picked up and moved to College Park, Georgia, in 2005, Georges-Hunt would have been a prep star at South Miami High — where his parents went to school — and probably would have ended up playing for Jim Larrañaga in Coral Gables.
“I liked coach Larrañaga,” said Georges-Hunt, who was a four-star recruit in high school and the 59th best player in his senior class, according to ESPN. “At the time, Frank Haith recruited me. Then he left, but when Larrañaga came in my offer was still on the table. [UM was] in my top [five] coming out of high school. It was a close decision, but it came down to Georgia Tech.”
As fate would have it, Georges-Hunt is back with his hometown team now.
Although this particular homecoming might not last long considering he’s on a 10-day contract and really on the team to provide insurance while guards Dion Waiters and Josh Richardson recover from injury, Georges-Hunt, 22, is soaking in the experience and holding out hope he can find a place with the Heat organization — even if it means going back down to the D-League to play in Sioux Falls, Miami’s affiliate.
“Being a part of this brotherhood would be great,” said Georges-Hunt, who was averaging 16.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 1.0 steals per game with the Red Claws, Boston’s D-League team before the Heat picked him up. “Pat Riley is one of the best at what he does. I would love to be a part of it.”
As a kid, Georges-Hunt said he never got to go to a Heat game as a fan. So, he is very much looking forward to Monday’s game against the Magic at AmericanAirlines Arena. He said most of his family, who still live in South Florida, will be there to cheer him on.
Former Heat forward Derrick Williams, who was released by the team on Monday and signed a 10-day contract with Cleveland on Thursday, had 12 points in 22 minutes in his Cavaliers debut Thursday night in a loss to Oklahoma City.
“I was happy for him,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We texted before the game. I sent him a congratulations after, even though they lost. It was good to see. So much of this league is about preparing yourself mentally and physical to being in top shape and then be ready for the right opportunity at the right time and hopefully this is what that is.”
▪ Waiters (sprained left ankle) missed his second game in a row Friday night in Brooklyn but is on the mend, according to Spoelstra.
“I’m encouraged by the progress he’s made the last two days,” Spoelstra said. “It was swollen after the game. The next day it swelled up a little bit more, but now the swelling is almost all removed.”
Saturday: Heat at 76ers
When/where: 7:30 p.m.; Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia.
TV/radio: SUN; WAXY 790, WAQI (Spanish).
Series: Heat leads 57-54.
Scouting report: The 76ers announced Friday that center Joel Embiid will miss his eighth consecutive game Saturday with a bruised left knee. The Heat trounced Philly 125-102 on Feb. 4 with Embiid and center Jahlil Okafor out last weekend. Okafor will play this time around.