Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Houston Rockets To Sign Scott Machado

Scott Machado's performance for Houston Rockets' Summer League team in July was apparently good enough for them to sign him to three-year deal that will be announced later this week.  (Photo courtesy of Houston Chronicle)

After eighteen years, Iona College's NBA drought is over.

Despite being inexplicably undrafted and having to seemingly play his way onto the team during his Summer League tryout in Las Vegas this past July, and then having to endure the free agent saga of Jeremy Lin, Scott Machado has a home in the professional ranks; as the Houston Rockets, for whom Machado auditioned two months ago in Sin City, have offered the guard a three-year deal that he is expected to sign later in the week, perhaps as early as tomorrow.

Actual terms of the contract have not been disclosed, but it is a partially guaranteed offer that will make Machado the first Gael to play in the NBA since Sean Green in 1994, and the eleventh overall from the small school in New Rochelle.

"They know I'm a great passer," said the Queens native of his new employer.  "I feel like every day, I progressed and got better, just getting more comfortable and more used to the style of play, the pace of the game and the players around me."

For Machado, the nation's assist leader during his senior year at Iona this past season, the contract is a vindication for all those who had skepticism as to whether or not he would be able to adapt to the professional game, as well as those who felt his statistics were a product of the uptempo offense that has become a trademark of Gaels coach Tim Cluess in his brief two-year tenure.  In his five Summer League games, Machado improved progressively in each contest, ultimately becoming the team's starting point guard.  He will begin his NBA career as a backup, however, as the Rockets signed former Knick sensation Jeremy Lin to a three-year deal in the offseason as well.  

If he lives up to the standard he set for himself at Iona during a career that culminated with his recognition as MAAC Player of the Year and winning the Haggerty Award, given to the best college basketball player in the New York metropolitan area, there is reason to believe that Machado can eventually win the starting job from Lin, perhaps as early as his second season in the league.

Scott's hometown fans will be able to see him for the first time on December 17th, when the Rockets come to Madison Square Garden to take on the New York Knicks, who brought the guard in for a workout before June's NBA Draft only to pass on him in favor of Greek forward Kostas Papanikolaou.  Machado returns home on February 22nd when the Rockets tip off against the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center.

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