USC Men's Basketball

‘He made us watch him’: Chris Silva shines in NBA debut, impresses Miami Heat coach

Chris Silva made the most of his limited NBA debut on Tuesday.

The South Carolina star didn’t check in to the Miami Heat’s exhibition game against the San Antonio Spurs until late in the third quarter but finished with 16 points, nine rebounds, two steals and two blocks over 14 minutes in a 107-89 Miami win.

“He made us watch him,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of Silva in his postgame press conference. “That’s for sure. And he’s had those moments in training camp, too. The offensive rebounding, the pursuits. He had a great block tonight, but he probably had five blocks better than that in training camp where it shocked everybody in the gym. His efforts, his second jumps, his pursuits, all of these things, that’s a talent, that’s a skill to have a motor like that.”

Silva was a two-time All-SEC performer with the Gamecocks but went undrafted in June. He signed with the Heat shortly thereafter. A two-way contract candidate, Silva is fighting this preseason to stay with the organization — with the NBA team or with Miami’s G League affiliate in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Tuesday’s performance made a nice impression.

“He went five minutes and he was gassed,” Spoelstra said. “And he’s in incredible shape. So it shows you how hard he was going.”

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Andrew Ramspacher has been covering college athletics since 2010, serving as The State’s USC men’s basketball beat writer since October 2017. His work has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors, Virginia Press Association and West Virginia Press Association. At a program-listed 5-foot-10, he’s always been destined to write about the game. Not play it.
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