Celtics Grizzlies Basketball

Boston Celtics' Tremont Waters plays against the Memphis Grizzlies in an NBA summer league basketball game Thursday, July 11, 2019, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Days after the sudden death of his father, former LSU star Tremont Waters responded by doing what he does best: Playing basketball. 

Waters was the starting point guard for the Boston Celtics in their Las Vegas Summer League game Saturday against the Memphis Grizzlies. 

He scored 16 points and had 3 assists in the game, but the Celtics lost 94-88 -- ending their experience in the offseason tournament.

The game came a day after news broke that 49-year-old Ed Waters Jr. was found dead Thursday in a West Haven, Connecticut hotel room. The medical examiner ruled his death was the result of a suicide. 

Waters has not spoken publicly regarding his father's death, but chose to play in the game, according to a report from Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald. His family was in attendance for support and he was spotted wearing shoes that read "Team Waters" and "Waters Way," also bearing his father's initials and the date of his death. 

Waters' decision to play echoes a story regarding former Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas, who chose to play in a playoff game in the days following his sister's sudden death in 2017. He scored 53 points in an emotional victory over the Washington Wizards. 

The Summer League playoffs didn't hold a candle to the intrigue of the true NBA season, but it's an important setting for Waters as he looks to carve out his role as Boston's next beloved —- and traditionally undersized — point guard. Waters has impressed to this point and reportedly agreed to a two-way contract with the team after he was drafted No. 51 overall in the June 20 draft. 

Waters played in all five of the team's games -- helping to win the first four -- and put on several highlight plays. His best performance came Thursday against the same Grizzlies squad with eight points and nine assists. 

Waters wore a No. 51 jersey that mirrored his draft slot and used an array of dazzling passes to set up teammates for easy baskets. One of those was an off-the backboard assist to Robert Williams. The play mirrored the creative passing style he showed off at LSU.

He had a similar play for the Tigers on the road against Alabama last season, this one coming on a steal and fast-break and ending with a fast-break dunk by teammate Skylar Mays. 

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His long-distance shot came and went, though, as he adjusted to deeper 3-point line. In his final two games he went just 1-of-12 on 3-point attempts. 

Waters said he grew up a Celtics fan in his native Connecticut and that Thomas was his all-time favorite player for the team, as well as his role model. 

Spotting the remarks, Thomas responded on twitter: "Us short guys gotta stick together." 

Waters' NBA experience comes after two highly successful seasons in Baton Rouge. In his sophomore season he led the Tigers to their first SEC regular season title since 2009, and also led a run into the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16. That season also began with heartbreak after teammate Wayde Sims was killed in a fatal shooting.

 


Email Jeff Nowak at jnowak@theadvocate.com

Twitter: @Jeff_Nowak