Big 3 moves on to the next level


Published: Tuesday, November 1, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, November 1, 2005 at 12:00 a.m.
Former Florida guard Matt Walsh had heard rumors over the weekend that he might survive the last round of cuts from the Miami Heat.
He felt better when he noticed his locker wasn't cleaned out Monday. But he didn't know for sure until he was called into Heat coach Stan Van Gundy's office about 30 minutes before practice started.
"He brought me and Earl Barron in and congratulated both of us for making the team," Walsh said. "He told us that we both earned it and to feel proud because it's hard to make a team as an undrafted free agent."
Walsh and former Florida point guard Anthony Roberson will join ex-senior teammate David Lee in beginning their NBA careers this week. Roberson made the Memphis Grizzlies 15-man roster over the weekend, setting up a Gator reunion when the Heat and Grizzlies open the season Wednesday in Memphis. Five former Gators will be at the FedEx Forum, with Walsh and Roberson joining ex-Gators Jason Williams (Heat), Udonis Haslem (Heat) and Mike Miller (Grizzlies).
Roberson didn't return calls to his cell phone Monday. Walsh said he spoke to Roberson on Sunday night.
"He was really excited about making the team," Walsh said.
Walsh averaged 2.3 points in 9.4 minutes per game this preseason, shooting 38.5 percent from the floor and 40 percent from 3-point range.
"I think I got a chance to show the coaching staff how hard I play, and I shot the ball well," Walsh said. "I showed I could make the three from NBA range."
Whether Roberson or Walsh will be in uniform Wednesday night remains to be seen. Teams can only dress 12 players. There's a chance that Roberson and Walsh could be sent to the NBA Developmental League under a new collective bargaining provision that allows teams to send down up to two first- or second-year players to get more playing time.
"I can't worry about what I can't control," Walsh said. "I can only worry about happens now and try to be as ready as possible when my number is called."
Florida coach Billy Donovan said he was happy for both Walsh and Roberson, who spurned chances to return for their senior seasons. Neither player was picked in the NBA draft.
"I think the big thing for those guys is right now is they would like to carve out a career in the NBA," Donovan said. "Now is the challenging part for both of them."
Playing time looks more promising for the 6-foot-9 forward Lee, a first-round pick of the New York Knicks. Lee scored 17 points in his preseason debut and has impressed first-year coach Larry Brown with his ability to pass and run the floor. The Knicks open the season Wednesday night in Boston.
Kevin Brockway can be reached at (352) 374-5054 or by e-mail at brockwk@gvillesun.com

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