WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) — If you follow Wheeling sports, you may recognize a familiar face in this year’s NBA Finals.

Haywood Highsmith played four seasons at Wheeling Jesuit University, now known as Wheeling University, from 2014 to 2018. In his senior year with the Cardinals Highsmith averaged 22 points per game and 12.5 rebounds per game while also earning the Division II National Player of the Year Award.

Highsmith went undrafted in 2018. In 2021, he signed a 10-day contract with the Miami Heat and eventually, they offered him a full-time contract. He appeared in 54 games with the Heat this season averaging 17.9 minutes per game and shooting 43% from the field. He credits his hard work and dedication to getting him to where he is today.  

“I just you know tried to just work my hardest, put my head down and just let everything handle itself. You know the ultimate goal was definitely to get here in somehow and some way. You know it wasn’t you know a big possibility I would get here but I just worked my hardest and you know God had a plan for me and I’m glad that I stuck with it and never gave up you know just kept working.”

Haywood Highsmith – Miami Heat Forward

Highsmith and the Heat are now preparing for the NBA Finals against the Denver Nuggets with hopes to make Wheeling proud and raise the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

You can watch all the Finals action on WBOY-ABC.