Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Mario Chalmers makes preseason debut for Heat

Paul Pierce jokes with Mario Chalmers after Chalmers hit the Legends of the Phog scrimmage's game-tying shot at the buzzer Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Paul Pierce jokes with Mario Chalmers after Chalmers hit the Legends of the Phog scrimmage's game-tying shot at the buzzer Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.


— Miami coach Erik Spoelstra grinned widely, pausing a second before talking about point guard Mario Chalmers’ progression during his four seasons with the Heat.

“I don’t have many gray hairs, but the few ones that I have probably came from Mario,” Spoelstra said of the former Kansas University star. “He’s grown tremendously. We knew right away that he was a gamer, and in those big moments, he would be there for you. But learning the position of point guard — the responsibilities of playing that position, running a team and all the expectations of the head coach for him — it’s been awesome to see his development.”

Chalmers’ improved play last year helped the Heat to their second NBA title. The 6-foot-2 guard averaged 10.4 points in the finals, which included a 25-point outburst in Game Four when Miami defeated Oklahoma City, 104-98.

Chalmers admits life has changed ever since.

That was most evident during a shopping trip to a shoe store a few months ago. Just after Chalmers walked in, the store made an announcement that he was there, and Chalmers ended up signing autographs and taking photos with fans.

That was in New York City.

“New York fans are different. They don’t really like anybody,” Chalmers said with a smile. “It was good to get that love there.”

Chalmers had a homecoming of sorts Wednesday in Kansas City, Mo., playing for the first time in the preseason in the Heat’s 101-94 loss to the Washington Wizards at Sprint Center. He scored eight points on 3-for-7 shooting (2-for-3 shooting from three-point range) with five assists, one steal and one turnover in 20 minutes.

“It was fun. It brings back old memories, especially for this being my first game of the preseason,” Chalmers said. “It was a good way to come out here and play for the Kansas fans.”

Chalmers was held out of the Heat’s previous preseason games because of a quadriceps injury.

“I think he did well. He played well and shot the ball well,” Heat forward LeBron James said. “Conditioning-wise, he’s not there yet, but, of course, he hasn’t played. He’ll continue to get better.”

It says something about Chalmers’ impact at KU that his name being announced in the starting lineup created more of a roar — positive from KU fans, negative from Missouri supporters — than James, who is widely considered the world’s best basketball player.

“It’s very rare, but that happens a lot out here. It’s one of the few places I get more recognition than him,” Chalmers said. “I always tease him about it.”

Chalmers says he continues to keep ties to the Jayhawk basketball program, which includes communication this year with 2012 KU draftees Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson.

“I talk to Tyshawn all the time. That’s my guy right there,” Chalmers said. “Of course, Thomas, with his high hopes, he’s going to do things.

“I told him congratulations on the tip-dunk on (Los Angeles Lakers center) Dwight Howard,” Chalmers added with a laugh. “To get your first dunk on is a good feeling.”

Chalmers also said he had high expectations for this year’s Jayhawks.

“They’ve got a good team — a good young team,” Chalmers said. “Kind of like when we came in, with me, Russ-Rob (Russell Robinson) and B-Rush (Brandon Rush). We had a really young team, so they’ve got kind of the same thing.

“That was the first thing I thought of. I think the oldest guy is Elijah (Johnson) on the team, a senior. ... We had a couple seniors on our team when we got there: Jeff Hawkins, Stephen Vinson and Christian Moody. That’s kind of the same thing.”

Chalmers talks to KU coach Bill Self about once a month in the offseason while keeping the most contact with KU assistant Joe Dooley.

The two talked frequently during the season last year, with Dooley continuing to give Chalmers encouragement and pointers.

“That’s one thing that I did learn after I left is coach Dooley’s a prankster,” Chalmers said. “He’s a great guy — the person that recruited me — so of course I’m going to be the closest with him.”

So what’s next for Chalmers in his fifth NBA season?

Spoelstra believes the confident guard still has another step he can take.

“He’s proven himself as a championship point guard. But it’s always about consistency with him,” Spoelstra said. “He’s at his best in the biggest moments. He’s never shied away from them. We all know that, and that’s why we love him so much.

“Now, he has to continue to prove that he’s a championship point guard while people will be gunning at him. That’s what it’s all about. He’ll enjoy that.”


gthejayhawk 9 years, 6 months ago

Love me some Sir Mario. Great to see him Succeeding at the highest level.

Chris Shaw 9 years, 6 months ago

You are damn right he's at his best in big moments!

Where do you rank the best NCAA Tournament shot's of all-time?

1) Keith Smart (Indiana 1987)-I always see Christian Laettner's shot somewhere at #1 or #2, but I don't get it. Keith Smart hit a shot from the baseline with 5 seconds to go in the National Championship game to give his team a 1 point victory. I don't know how it gets any closer or any better than that. If someone hits the same kind of shot with 1,2, or 3 seconds left to win it than maybe...........but until then Smart gets tops for me.

2) Lorenzo Charles (NC State 1983)-This is a tough one for me considering the original shot was an airball with 4 secs left, but Charles was in the right area at the right time and turned the miss into a last second National Championship dunk. Plus, watching Valvano run around is classic!

3) Mario Chalmers (Kansas 2008) Mario Chalmers shot is forever my favorite shot (Hmmmm-don't know why), but the only bad part of the shot in terms of this ranking is that it went through bottom of the net down 3 instead of just down 2. I firmly believe that if that shot would have given Kansas a 1 point victory instead of game tying OT would be hands down the greatest shot in NCAA history. As it currently stands, it's the greatest shot in Kansas history, "One" of the greatest shots in NCAA history and has competiton with 3 or 4 other shots.

4) Michael Jordan (UNC 1982)-I never quite got the appeal of this shot from Michael Jordan, but when it's Jordan, UNC, and the National Championship, you have to give it it's respects. Even though it was with 18 seconds to go and G-Town still had a shot to win, nevertheless, it was a winning shot in the National Championship game that won UNC the title.

5) Christian Laettner (Duke 1992)-Look, I agree that this shot was spectacular, exciting, and filled with drama because of Kentucky/Duke...............but it was in the Elite 8 to go to a Final 4. I think the other 4 above are more deserving simply because those are in "Championship" games where the stakes are at the very pinnacle.

5A) Tyus Edney (UCLA 1995)-Any Kansas fan would obviously have Tyus Edney and his full court last second lay-up victory over Mizzou in their Top 5. That's a no brainer.

Steve Gantz 9 years, 6 months ago

I have a funny story. I taught a kid a couple of years ago who told me his uncle was an NBA coach. My ears perked up and he told me his name was Keith Smart! I said wow, you mean the same Keith Smart who made the NCAA winning shot? He had no clue! I called his mom, she confirmed, Keith Smart was her brother and was a coach for the Hornets at the time.

As for your list, even though Mario's shot was for the tie, if he doesn't make it, we lose. It's #1.

Another for your list might be Scotty Thurmond's shot which won it for Arkansas, I forget the exact time, but it was last 10 seconds or so.

Also Lorenzo Charles play broke a it wasn't do or die.

Jim Roth 9 years, 6 months ago

Makes you feel old, doesn't it? 1987 is now ancient history.

s6u6r6f 9 years, 6 months ago

Tyus Edney. Ha ha ha. Tape loop the gif to the screensaver. Love Mario forever. And ."coach Dooley’s a prankster.” Like rolling on Further with Kesey and Cassady? Awesome, man. Rock chalk.

Michael Pannacciulli 9 years, 6 months ago

Recruits should know that guys like Dooley will keep in touch and provide encouragement and pointers years after they leave - good to hear that from a solid pro like Mario.

Martin Rosenblum 9 years, 6 months ago

I wonder if that shoe store in NYC was a Foot Locker or a Cole Haan store?

yovoy 9 years, 6 months ago

Recently went shoe shopping and was shocked to find out that Foot Locker is basically a Nike store. Sheesh. Since Nike owns the Cole Haan brand, if SuperMario was in either place, he'd still basically be in a "Nike Store".

I stopped buying CH when I found out Nike owned them.

BTW, Nike has been trying to sell CH for awhile.

jaybate 9 years, 6 months ago


Thx for a great walk down memory lane. Now it's time for the Prophet to join the list!

jaybate 9 years, 6 months ago

Spoelstra needs to win a ring without Rile's before I believe he is anything but a slightly better looking van Gundy.

jaybate 9 years, 6 months ago

Mario should thank his lucky stars Self put him in the toughening box for so long, or Mario would crack under all the egoes in that organization.

Gotta love Mario pimping lebron. More cheers here. Got an NCAA ring lebron will never have. Got an NBA ring same time lebron did. Lebron's got the bones, but Mario's got the bragging rights. Probably what makes that team finally work.

REHawk 9 years, 6 months ago

Well, our newcomers this season might not quite match up with those of Mario's class; but the experienced 4 seniors, alongside Tharpe and Wesley, are certainly a stronger group. Jeff, Elijah and Travis are all candidates for Big 12 first team recognition. If Jeff should lead the nation in blocks, or perhaps set a season NCAA record, he will show up on some All-American lists. On second thought, Ben, Perry, Andrew and Co. might eventually catch or surpass the accolades of Mario's class. Lots of potential in this group of newcomers. Huge upside.

Cameron Cederlind 9 years, 6 months ago

I'd say a better comparison to that '08 team would be when Tharpe is a senior. Self's recruiting class with Chalmers/Rush/Wright/Downs was huge and could be compared to this years recruits (plus a couple red shirt freshmen) then you bring in next years class which is currently ranked #2. As long as we get the majority to stay 2 years when Tharpe is a senior, this team will be of that caliber.

Curtis Stutz 9 years, 6 months ago

Ya, love Chalmers and all, but he's off by about a year on his comments. The reason KU got such a great class his freshman year was the lack of upperclassmen. Next year will hold a lot of similarities to his freshman year, even though we have a freshman called 'Rio this year. Plus his class followed up a strong class. It's pretty straightforward. Hopefully history doesn't repeat itself as far as that cycle in the NCAA Tourney, don't believe it will.

stinkybulldog 9 years, 6 months ago

To win a High School, NCAA & NBA Championship is remarkable. Keep doing BIG things, Mario!

Tony Bandle 9 years, 6 months ago

Win an Olympic gold and Mario will be in rarified air, indeed!! [Air Jordan, that is..actually MJ never one a high school state title but is one of the very few players in history to win Olympic Gold both as an amateur AND as a pro]

Geezer 9 years, 6 months ago

“He actually thinks he’s the best player on this team,” Wade said in the NBA Finals run, “and that’s a gift and a curse.”

Love me some Rio.

Curtis Stutz 9 years, 6 months ago

Hmm, he did refer to 'Rio as a starter, so that's an interesting take. When he said 2 4-star freshmen filling the void I assumed he was talking about BMac and Ellis, but apparently he was talking about 'Rio. Not having heard of Ben McLemore puts his insight into question. Also goes on to call John Henson one of the greatest defensive players in cbb history and 2nd greatest last year? D-

Steve Gantz 9 years, 6 months ago

Didn't read the North Carolina part, but I'd say that comment is a bit over the top too. Some of his analysis of us was a bit shaky too I thought, but I just thought I'd share it as it was generally a pretty positive article.

texashawk10 9 years, 6 months ago

Adams was a low end 4 star on Rivals, but I do seriously question this guys credibility by not being aware of McLemore and that McLemore may be the best offensive player on the team.

HawkKlaw 9 years, 6 months ago

Interesting, but saying "Ellis has an unreliable jump shot" is kind of irrelevant. He's a proven scorer. It doesn't really matter how he scores. It's just important that he does (and by most accounts, that's the best part of his game).

Also, he says "the only question marks will come at the smaller guard positions," but I think EJ will be an adequate defender (he was last year, at least). I don't see that as a question mark. And Bill Self has said that BMac's game is very similar to BRush's. Rush was one of the top defenders on that 2008 Championship team. I think our perimeter defense will be fine (exceptional, even).

I agree with the rest of the assessment (although BMac will definitely start over Adams). KU will be solid defensively (Bill Self's teams always are), but offensively it will be a work in progress for most of the season. Things will probably get ugly early on, but as he said, by March KU will be ready to roll.

Jonathan Allison 9 years, 6 months ago

when Rush came to KU one of the things that he said he was looking forward to was learning how to play defense. I think that BMac has mentioned the same thing, and Coach Self seems to have a lot of faith in what BMac can do defensively. The main similarity that makes them both excellent defensively is that they are both very big and very athletic. Take Lebron for example. He is considered one of the top 5 best defenders in the NBA, and he makes it look almost effortless just because he is so big and athletic.

Curtis Stutz 9 years, 6 months ago

No doubt, glad you shared, just wanted to give my thoughts. Anybody that keeps Indiana an echelon below KU gets a gold star.

JayhawkNNE 9 years, 6 months ago

From what I've read about Ellis, he's the next Danny Manning. Is that all hype or do the "so called" sports analyst just not know how good this kid is?

Jim Roth 9 years, 6 months ago

We will never have another Danny Manning in college because nobody with that talent will ever again stay 4 years. It was the combination of talent and experience that made him so special in 1988.

wildjayhawk 9 years, 6 months ago

Tharpe will not be on the KU team long.

Chris Shaw 9 years, 6 months ago

I am curious to hear your reasoning behind this?

Curtis Stutz 9 years, 6 months ago

Or...Tharpe will be a senior PG that leads KU to a national championship in a few years. Impossible to say at this point.

REHawk 9 years, 6 months ago

I'm betting on Tharpe to hang tough to propel himself into a very solid role before he departs Lawrence.

Joel Thomas 9 years, 6 months ago

Did anyone else find it annoying that Mario was always the whipping boy? I get that he's not the best player in the world, but just because the Big Three are superstars doesn't mean they are without blame. To me, it came across as them saying, "Deny, deny, deny."

Tony Bandle 9 years, 6 months ago

It's kind of like elite racehorses..they have strange little friends to keep them calm....goats, donkeys, dogs. llamas. In the case of the Maimi Heat, however, the most normal person on the team is probably Mario.....and the rest of his teamates envy him that!!

Chris Shaw 9 years, 6 months ago

They will appreciate him as they get older! Kobe didn't understand how valuable Derek Fisher was until he left the first time.

Chris Shaw 9 years, 6 months ago

I wish somehow the Celtics would trade Avery Bradley for Chalmers so Chalmers could play with Rondo, KG, and Pierce. Would love to see him put up points against the Heat!

Tony Bandle 9 years, 6 months ago

After a lot of research, it appears that the only three players to have won a State high school championship, an NCAA Championship, an NBA title and an Olympic Gold Medal in basketball......Jerry Lucas, Quinn Buckner and Magic Johnson. ONLY THREE!!!!!

Mario could be the FOURTH!!!

Scott Smetana 9 years, 6 months ago

Maybe I'm wrong, but Erik Spoelstra seems like a puppet. I don't him acting like he knows more than Mario. Mario has more skills and knowledge on one finger. Mario is hugely under appreciated on this ego maniac team. Plus I don't like Miami in general:)

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