HEAT Signs Dwyane Wade

Miami's Dwyane Wade
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Miami HEAT President and Head Coach Pat Riley announced August 19th that the team has signed its top pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, 6’4”, 210-pound guard Dwyane Wade from Marquette University, who the HEAT selected with the fifth overall pick. Wade was Miami’s highest draft pick since the HEAT selected Steve Smith with the fifth pick of the 1991 NBA Draft and the highest draftee in school history. As per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“We feel like for us we made the best pick in the draft,” said Riley. “Dwyane not only is a great addition to our youth movement, but will also compliment our veterans very well.”

Wade, who played collegiately for two seasons before becoming an early entry candidate after his junior year, became the first Marquette player since 1978 to be named a First Team All-American by the Associated Press. He also earned a spot on the Wooden Award All-America team and was one of five finalists for the Wooden Award after helping lead the Golden Eagles to the 2003 Final Four, the school’s first appearance since 1977. Wade finished his career ranked 20th on Marquette’s all-time scoring list with 1,281 points and also ranked ninth on both the school’s all-time steals list (150) and all-time blocks list (79).

“I am really excited to have signed my first NBA contract today, “ said Wade. “It’s nice to now concentrate more about playing than the business side of things.”

In addition to garnering consensus First Team All-America honors, he was named the Conference USA Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and First Team All Conference USA during the 2002-03 season. Wade led Conference USA and ranked 22nd nationally in scoring (21.5 ppg) and set a Marquette single-season scoring record with 710 points. He also ranked second in the league in steals (2.15 spg), eighth in assists (4.4 apg), 10th in field goal percentage (.501) and 11th in free throw percentage (.779). The Chicago, IL native also averaged 6.3 rebounds, 1.30 blocks and 32.1 minutes while leading the Golden Eagles to a 27-6 record. Wade capped an outstanding junior year by being named the MVP of the Midwest Regional Final compiling 51 points, 15 assists and 14 rebounds in victories over Pittsburgh and Kentucky. In the victory over Kentucky, which vaulted the Golden Eagles into the Final Four and ended the Wildcats’ 26-game winning streak, Wade registered Marquette’s first triple-double since 1994 when he totaled 29 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in an 83-69 victory. On 21 occasions during the 2002-03 season he scored 20 or more points, including a 35-point effort at Tulane on Jan. 14 which tied his career high. At the team’s postseason banquet, Wade showed his versatility by receiving the Most Valuable Player Award, the Hank Raymond Sportsmanship Award, the Bart Miller Standard of Excellence Award (combines the qualities of the ultimate team player - selflessness, hard work and loyalty, with those excellence in the classroom) and the Deflection King Award.

As a sophomore during the 2001-02 campaign, Wade earned Honorable Mention All-America honors from the Associated Press and First Team All Conference USA honors. He led the Golden Eagles in scoring (17.8 ppg, 8th in C-USA), rebounding (6.6 rpg) and steals (2.47 spg, 1st in C-USA). On nine occasions he scored 20 or more points, including a career-high 35 against conference rival DePaul.

Wade is the fourth Marquette player to be selected in the first-round of the NBA Draft joining Dean Meminger (1971 by New York), Bo Ellis (1977 by Washington) and Butch Lee (1978 by Atlanta). Prior to Wade, Lee had been MU’s highest draftee being tabbed 10th overall in 1978.