Recent Duke basketball star gets the boot in Texas

Duke basketball (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports) /

Duke basketball product Matthew Hurt is hoping to find some NBA permanence.

After going undrafted in late July following two seasons as a Duke basketball player, Matthew Hurt looked to be in a relatively ideal situation to set in motion his pro career.

Until this week, that is.

In early August, the Houston Rockets signed the 6-foot-9, 235-pound stretch-four to a two-way contract. It meant — or so it seemed at the time — that Hurt would have the opportunity to continue honing his craft via valuable G League experience. He’d have done so while holding on to a reasonable chance at seeing considerable playing time on the main stage as an NBA rookie.

A change in plans for Duke basketball’s All-ACC performer

On Friday, Houston Rockets insider Alykhan Bijani of The Athletic was the first to report that the franchise waived Matthew Hurt.

Therefore, the 2020-21 ACC Most Improved Player will not participate in this week’s training camp, at least not as a member of the Rockets. No, despite his productive sophomore campaign as a Blue Devil in addition to his brief two-way status, which is the equivalent of being an NBA team’s “16th or 17th man,” Hurt is now in search of a new “starter home” in the league.

At this point, several NBA insiders seem to believe the 21-year-old Minnesota native’s best bet right now as an aspiring professional is probably somewhere overseas.

Unfortunately, the only way to change that narrative might be for Hurt to magically discover a method to boost his quickness considerably and instantly. After all, remember that he had one of the slowest three-quarter sprint times and one of the highest body fat percentages at this summer’s NBA Combine.

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On the other hand, Hurt’s positive attitude and pure shooting stroke are admirable. Only time will tell, though, if his total package proves worthy of a full-time job in the NBA.