Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Iona's Machado Makes Rockets' Roster, Despite Call

One can only imagine the case of nerves former Iona standout Scott Machado was having over the past week as NBA teams made their final cuts and Machado was uncertain about whether or not he would make the Houston Rockets' opening-day roster or be looking for work elsewhere.

And, then, his phone rang Saturday night. On the other end was Rockets' starting point guard Jeremy Lin, calling to say goodbye and good luck.

Fortunately for Machado, as the two quickly realized, Lin was calling the wrong rookie.

Lin had thought he was calling Jeremy Lamb, the Rockets' top draft pick from UConn, who had just been traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the trade that brought James Harden to Houston.

No other calls came over the weekend. And, then, when Machado got through Monday unscathed, he knew for sure that he would begin the season on the team's 15-player roster and in the NBA.

"I was like, `Hey, it's Scott ... it's not Jeremy,' " Machado told the Houston Chronicle newspaper about his conversation with Lin. "Did you hear something about me? I was all nervous. He was like, 'Oh, I apologize, I apologize.' It all worked out."

Machado, who led the country in assists last season, made the Rockets' opening-night roster when the team waived veteran guard Shaun Livingston on Monday.

For sure the team's decision was a huge relief to Machado, who had a non-guaranteed contract and many nervous moments, including Lin's phone call.

"I was a little nervous even before the recent trade," Machado told the Houston newspaper. "We had four good point guards here and I was the newcomer, the undrafted one. I was here (at the team's training facility) on Monday and nobody told me anything. I came out to practice and it felt good. I feel like it's a true blessing. It's something I always wanted. I've been working hard to get where I wanted to go. It feels real good."

Machado will be one of the team's two back-ups, along with Toney Douglas, behind starter Lin.

Machado did more than enough in the team's seven-game preseason schedule to solidify his start.

He played in six of the seven games and accumulated 32 assists against just seven turnovers playing about 70 total minutes. His assist total was second among Rockets in the preseason (Lin had 36), and his assist-to-turnover ratio of 4.6-to-1 was the best of any Houston player.

According to databasebasketball.com, Machado becomes the sixth Iona player to make an NBA roster, and the first since Sean Green played in the NBA in 1994. The others were Steve Burtt Sr., Richie Guerin, Jeff Ruland and Bob Santini.

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