Remembering Sherman Douglas

I got the idea of profiling random players from Boston's past from the stellar Washington Wizards blog, and fellow SB Nation site, Bullets Forever. I really got into the Haywoode Workman post. Although in my case I don't envision this morphing into a series. Rather, I just wanted to talk about Sherman Douglas. Sure I could keep this short and simply remind everyone that he was a "Super Passer". But what fun would that be? Check it out after the jump.

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Age: 42 (43 in September)

Height: 6 feet (6'1 according to him)

Weight: 180 pounds (165 in college)

Drafted: In the 2nd round (28th overall) of the 1989 draft by the Miami Heat

Little Known Fact: During halftime of game 4 of the 2008 NBA Finals I posted a new open game thread for the second half. It included the following sentence, "Now we can sit back and watch the greatest comeback in NBA Finals history" and this YouTube clip. Awesome on numerous levels.

Nickname: The General

YouTube Clip: Unfortunately I couldn't find any clips of his vaunted floater. However, check out this list of top ten plays and compare Douglas' move (1:37 mark) to one of Rajon Rondo's better plays (1:37 mark) from last season. Realistically I can't go after the announcers because Tommy Heinsohn is the most biased guy on television right now. Still, some of Rondo's moves from that clip are outrageous. It's okay to recognize that.

His story: Douglas graduated from Springarn High School in Washington D.C with exactly one Division 1 scholarship offer. Of course that offer came from Syracuse University. Douglas spent his freshman year watching Pearl Washington run the show from one of the best seats in the house. However, the following season Douglas' playing time quadrupled after Washington left for the NBA. Ironically Washington played in Miami during the 1989 season, which doubled as his last season in the NBA and the year before Douglas joined the Heat.  But back to Syracuse. Douglas and a talented group of Orangemen, that included Derrick Coleman and Rony Seikaly, advanced all the way to the NCAA final. Of course Keith Smart was the hero of that one, in part because Steve Alford could not shake Douglas. And Bobby Knight threw a chair. Okay separate incidents, but that clip is mesmerizing. Following that magical run in 1987 Douglas' final 2 years were a disappointment as far as the team was concerned. Still he left with Syracuse with 3 notable accomplishments:

1. Syracuse's all-time leading scorer.
2. NCAA's all-time assist leader.
3. A renowned master of the ally oop. The passing part, not the dunking.

And though his scoring and assist records were both subsequently broken, Douglas took his ally oop pass to the NBA. There he joined a struggling, expansion Miami Heat franchise that won a combined 42 games in his two full seasons in South Beach. Looking to capitalize financially on making the NBA's All-Rookie First Team and a strong sophomore campaign in which he scored 18.5 ppg and dished out 8.5 apg, Douglas held out prior to the 1992 season. He eventually signed a contract, played 5 games, and was dealt to the Boston Celtics for Brian Shaw. On the surface that's a huge upgrade team wise, as Douglas joined a squad with Larry Bird, Robert Parish, Kevin McHale, and Reggie Lewis. Unfortunately it was a team on the decline. And his Boston career reflected that:

Year                                          Record                                        Finish
1991                                           51-31                     Lost Eastern Conference Semifinals
1992                                           48-34                     Lost Eastern Conference First Round
1993                                           32-50                                    Missed Playoffs
1994                                           35-47                     Lost Eastern Conference First Round

However, that's not to say Douglas did not make an impact in Boston. After a slow first year (4.1 assists) Douglas averaged 7.4 dimes in his final 3 full seasons as a Celtic. More importantly he unleashed a trademark floater on numerous forays into the lane. In fact I'm convinced it is impossible for anyone who remembers him to have a conversation about Douglas without bringing up the floater. Tommy Heinsohn still references it from time to time.

Of course Douglas did not finish his career as a Celtic. He was traded to the Bucks in the midst of the 1996 season. Luckily for him he did not join Antoine Walker, Todd Day, M.L. Carr, Pervis Ellison, Brett Szabo, Nate Driggers, and everyone else that participated in that dreadful 1997 Boston Celtics season. Instead Douglas played in Milwaukee, Los Angeles (Clippers), and New Jersey (2 stints) before calling it a career at age 34, following the 2001 season. When it was all said and done he averaged 11 ppg and 5.9 asp, while shooting 48.4% from the field. He also exploded for 42 points against Paul Westhead's all offense, no defense Denver Nuggets. Check out his account of that game here.

Sources:


1. Basketball-reference.com's Boston Celtics page.
2. Basketball-reference.com's Miami Heat page.
3. Basketball-reference.com's Sherman Douglas player profile page.
4. Rival.com's profile of Keith Smart's championship winning shot.
5. Sherman Douglas' recollection of his best scoring game as a pro, courtesy of Heat.com.
6. The Syracuse University Basketball Player Index Sherman Douglas page.

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