Mario West Makes Hawks Roster
Former Tech defensive specialist overcomes long odds to become NBA player
Oct. 25, 2007
ATLANTA - Georgia Tech guard Mario West, who for four years was known as one of the most tenacious defenders in the Atlantic Coast Conference and around the nation, survived the final cut and made the 15-man roster for the Atlanta Hawks, according to media reports Thursday. The NBA team opens its regular season on Nov. 2.
The Douglasville, Ga., native was signed by the team as a free agent following the draft, and averaged 3.3 points and 3.2 rebounds in six games for the Hawks' summer league team. It was in the team's training camp that he really began to impress coaches and teammates alike with his hustle and work on defense.
The Hawks went 7-1 in their exhibition schedule, which ended Wednesday in New Orleans. West averaged 2.9 points and 2.3 rebounds in 12.9 minutes per game, hustling every step of the way in his limited role.
The 6-4 guard, known to his Tech teammates as "Rio" but given the nickname "Truck" by his Hawks teammates, completed his Tech career last March. He played in 103 games, averaged 3.2 points over his career, 4.9 over his last two seasons. West stands 16th on Tech's all-time list for steals despite averaging only 13.9 minutes per game in four years.
Following the season, he won the State Farm Slam Dunk Contest that was held at Georgia State University during Final Four week.
West joins Javaris Crittenton, a first-round draft choice by the Los Angeles Lakes, and Thaddeus Young, a first-round pick by Philadelphia, as new Tech alumni on NBA rosters this season. They join veterans Matt Harpring (Utah), Stephon Marbury (New York), Chris Bosh (Toronto) and Jarrett Jack (Portland) in the league this season.