Udonis Haslem is a Miami native and attended Miami Senior High School. He led his high school to two state titles and earned an athletic scholarship with the Florida Gators. He was college teammates with Mike Miller and was part of an elite class, recruited by Billy Donovan, who engineered Florida into a big-time national basketball program. Haslem was inducted into the University of Florida Hall of Fame last year.
In case you didn’t remember, Udonis Haslem went undrafted in 2002 after a pretty solid (if unspectacular) career with the Gators. After being cut in the preseason by the Atlanta Hawks for being overweight (Haslem weighed over 300 lbs!) he signed with a team in France. While overseas, he he averaged 16 points and nine rebounds per game and even managed to lose over 70 pounds.
In 2003, Udonis returned to his home state, and signed with the Miami Heat. As a rookie, he backed up Brian Grant and averaged 7.3 points and 6.3 rebounds a game earning All-Rookie Second Team. He became a full-time starter in 2004 and averaged over 11 points and 8 rebounds per game. He became a solid defender, enforcer in the paint and an effective 15-foot jump shooter.
After the Heat acquired LeBron James, Chris Bosh and resigned Dwyane Wade, there were questions on whether they could keep Haslem. Haslem could have made more than $10 million dollars with the Dallas Mavericks, but chose to sign with the Heat for less.
What. A. Team. Player.
Udonis Haslem came up big in Game 5. The Pacers led the Miami Heat through three quarters, until Haslem came alive. Haslem finished the game on 8-9 shooting with 16 points to lead all Miami’s scorers except for James. Haslem also had a great Game 3 and the Miami Heat won that game as well.
Haslem, 1 of 2 defensive enforcers (Chris Andersen being the other one) for the Miami Heat comes ready to play every game. His team-first attitude, toughness and knack for finding the open spot’s on the floor are paramount to his success.