Phoenix Suns fans know Michael Beasley as a free agent acquisition gone wrong, as the talented-yet-underachieving forward has averaged just 10.8 points and 4.1 rebounds per game.
Sure, there have been flashes of the scoring ability that enticed the Suns to take a chance on him, but overall it would be fair to classify his short time with the club as a disappointment.
And, given that he was arrested in late January due to multiple driving offenses, the 24-year-old has really done little to ingratiate himself thus far in his Valley tenure.
However, the Michael Beasley Phoenix knows is not the one South Carolina head basketball coach Frank Martin remembers.
Following his team’s 64-46 loss to LSU, Martin shared some thoughts on his team.
“For the ball to go in the basket, you’ve got to have a little courage and you’ve got to work at it,” he said. “Right now we’re short on courage and we’ve got guys who don’t understand how to put in extra time.”
Seems reasonable enough, and after a game in which his team shot just 28.1 percent from the field his words make quite a bit of sense.
But then Martin started to reminisce about his time at Kansas State, where he previously coached.
“I’m going to give you a quick story,” he told the media. “We played at Texas Tech and I had a young man on my team named Michael Beasley, and he’s averaging, on the year, 24 and 14. We played Texas Tech, we lose by five or something like that and he’s a freshman. He scores 21 or something.”
Beasley scored 22 points on the night on 6 of 20 shooting and grabbed 15 rebounds in the 84-75 loss. So while Martin’s recollection isn’t perfect, the gist of his point remains valid.
“Well that game was in Lubbock Texas, started at 9:00 p.m. because it was an ESPN2, middle of the week game or whatever,” he said. “So we get on the plane. We land at 1:30 in the morning. The airport to our gym, where everyone’s car was at, maybe a 10 minute drive.
“He got off the bus, went into the arena and shot 500 balls at 2 o’clock in the morning. And he is a real good player. Not an average player; a real good player.”
Well, was, anyway. Things haven’t really panned out for Beasley in the NBA.
“He didn’t do that because I asked him to, he did that because he knew he didn’t play well that day,” Martin said. “That’s what it’s about. In life you get what you deserve, so he put in the time.
“He earned the right to average whatever the heck he averaged for his career. I know this: I never had to worry about him not being ready to play, I never had to worry about him not doing what I asked him to do. Funny how that works.”
Beasley averaged 26.2 points and 12.4 rebounds per game in his only year at Kansas State before being selected with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. Things have not gone as well for the forward since then, as he’s now played for three different teams and put together career averages of 14.5 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.
However, it’s worth noting that not one member of the Suns, be it a coach, member of management or teammate, has publicly questioned Beasley’s work ethic.