Could Roxbury’s own Shabazz Napier suit up for the Boston Celtics?
That scenario would be a dream come true for the UConn point guard. The Boston native led his seventh-seeded Huskies to a national championship earlier this month.
Napier and his teammates were honored yesterday for their historic run at Fenway Park prior to the Red Sox-Yankees series opener. Napier threw out the first pitch to Red Sox catcher David Ross.
The 22-year-old was asked about the possibility of playing for the Celtics while speaking with reporters before the game.
“Man, that would be crazy,” Napier said. “That would be insane, man. Growing up, that’s something I envisioned, myself playing for the Celtics. It's just something every Boston kid envisions himself [being able to do]. The Boston Celtics are so big. When you're from the New England area, you just want to be a part of it because you know how special it is."
Napier played two seasons of his high school career at Charleston High before transferring to Lawrence Academy in Groton. The 6’1’’ point guard then moved onto UConn, where he won a national championship back in 2011 in addition to this year’s title. The senior averaged 18.0 points, 5.9 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game this year for the Huskies.
After being named the NCAA Tournament’s most outstanding player following the title win, Napier’s draft stock has skyrocketed. Draft Express had Napier pegged as a second round pick prior to UConn’s NCA championship, but the guard’s stellar play has launched him to the bottom of the first round in recent mock drafts.
The Boston Celtics have the 17th overall pick in the NBA Draft and it’s unlikely that Napier’s stock will jump that high in the next couple months. Boston’s second round selection may have been a more realistic possibility for the team to select Napier, but they traded away that 34th overall draft pick to the Dallas Mavericks last year. That deal makes it a long shot the Celtics will select the Boston native with any of their current picks.
There is always the possibility that the team could acquire another pick via trade to select the point guard if the team is high on Napier. With Jerryd Bayless and Avery Bradley heading into free agency, there should be room in the backcourt for a player like Napier to play behind Rajon Rondo, if Bayless and Bradley aren’t re-signed.
We won’t know until draft night on June 26th whether Napier’s Celtics dream will come true. If his play this March was any indication though, the hometown star will prove to be a valuable addition for whichever team selects him.
You can watch video of Napier’s first pitch yesterday at Fenway below.