NBA

Heat get rights to Long Beach State's James Ennis

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MIAMI (AP)

James Ennis is going from the Big West to having a chance to play alongside Miami's Big Three.

The two-time defending NBA champion Heat acquired the rights to Ennis in a trade with the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday night, not long after he was taken with the 50th selection. The Heat gave up a future conditional second-round pick to complete the deal.

Miami entered the night with no draft picks, but ranked the top 60 players like usual and clearly thought there was some value in Ennis, who was the Big West's player of the year this past season.

''We were happy to get into the draft,'' Heat President Pat Riley said. ''We feel that James Ennis, with his size and athleticism, has a huge upside and someone we hope can develop into a high quality NBA player.''

Ennis averaged 16.5 points and 6.7 rebounds as a senior, shooting 49 percent from the floor and leading his team in steals (58) and blocked shots (43). He's expected to join the Heat early next month for summer league, then will have an opportunity in training camp to earn a spot on a roster headlined by LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

''I think it's a great honor for James,'' Long Beach State coach Dan Monson said. ''All of the hard work and sacrifices he made for us have paid off, and this chance is well deserved. I'm thrilled for him personally and it's tremendous for our program and the university.''

Ennis, who plays both shooting guard and small forward, is the first Long Beach State player to be drafted since 1998.

''He really couldn't have gone to a better place, considering the role models there, guys like LeBron and Dwyane Wade,'' Monson said. ''It's a perfect situation for him for him to succeed.''

Ennis scored 18 points against North Carolina this past season, a game where the Tar Heels didn't pull away until the second half. After facing Long Beach State in consecutive seasons, Tar Heels coach Roy Williams said he was duly impressed by Ennis.

''James Ennis has played extremely well against us the last two years,'' Williams said. ''I can really see his skill set fitting in the NBA.''

The 6-foot-7 Ennis spent his first two collegiate seasons at junior colleges. He averaged 13.2 points with Long Beach State over the last two seasons, shooting 49 percent from the floor and 35 percent from 3-point range.

Tagged: Heat, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade

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