Now we bring you the RedHawk portion of this summer's tournament bracket. Our second school to provide two entrants into the tournament, we have some very different options.
On one hand, we have Ron Harper, whose five rings make him easily the most accomplished tournament entrant (at least in terms of post-collegiate success).
On the other hand, we have Wally
Szczerbiak Alphabet, whose career is marked by just as many oddities as successes (as well as being just plain good looking).
We shall find out soon enough just how well their face value and name recognition compares to their actual numerical value, but let's get a look at the big picture first.
Ron Harper (1982-86) - Harper was a very impressive player in his time at Miami, posting 24.3 points per game, 11.2 rebounds per game, 3.2 steals per game, and 2.4 blocked shots per game over his time there. He was often compared to Julius Irving and perhaps rightfully so (as the video down below can attest to). His overall career numbers are fairly comparable to a guy like Kyle Singler, for those of you looking for a more recent comparison.
Harper went pro and was a high flier for the Cleveland Cavaliers, got traded to the Clippers, blew out his knee (but still managed to average almost 20 points a game), then came back as the 1990's Bruce Bowen. What did that get him? Not much, just three championship rings with the Post-Retirement Jordan Bulls and then two more with the early Shaq-and-Kobe Lakers. This makes him far and away the most accomplished of our tournament participants.
Wally Szczerbiak (1995 - 99) Wally gradually rounded into form during his time at Miami, slowly transitioning from an eight point, three rebound per game sub off the bench as a freshman to a 24 point, 8 rebound per game juggernaut of a team leader in his last two seasons. Both he and his teammates peaked during his senior season, when a 43 point opening round performance and an average of 30 points per game led his team all the way to the Sweet 16 before bowing out to Kentucky.
He went on to the NBA, where he was a respectable-but-not-amazing shooting guard with the Minnesota Timberwolves alongside Kevin Garnett (and was eventually part of the trade that brought Ray Allen - and subsequently Garnett - to Boston for their glorious run). Alas, Wally's career was cut short by both his balky knees and his insistence on being a starter. He is perhaps now best known for a son named Maximus Jack and for recently putting Kevin Garnett on blast all over Twitter.
He does have the distinction, however, of having been teammates with Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Kevin Durant and LeBron James. And also for pissing off his coaches with his shot selection.