Last night proved to be significant for Iona College on two fronts, as not only did the Gaels pick up a victory on their home court, but one of their biggest stars in recent memory made his mark at the professional level for the first of many times.
Not too long after the Gaels defeated Niagara 83-72 in their MAAC opener, reigning MAAC Player of the Year Scott Machado became just the sixth Iona player to appear in the NBA, finally making his long-awaited NBA debut for the Houston Rockets in a 120-98 road loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Coming off a flight to Minneapolis in which he and the entire Rockets team attended funeral services for the daughter of head coach Kevin McHale, Machado stepped onto an NBA court for the first time with 2:34 remaining in regulation, wearing No. 1 and replacing starting point guard Jeremy Lin. Machado promptly proceeded to score his first NBA points one second later on a pair of free throws, and remained on the court for the duration of the game, also contributing an assist on a three-pointer by forward Marcus Morris. When he checked in as Lin's replacement, Machado became the first Gael to see NBA action since Sean Green suited up for the Indiana Pacers in 1994.
Machado and the Rockets have both today and tomorrow off before taking the court again Saturday night, returning home to face the Utah Jazz. A Daly Dose Of Hoops will continue to track Machado in his rookie season, so follow us for updates throughout the year.