There have been over 4,500 NBA players during the course of the league's history and each have their own stories. Some are similar while others not so much as there are several routes to make it to the National Basketball Association. One of those unique player stories comes from Hickory Hills Native and Hoss Company supporter Max Strus.
For those that are not familiar, here is a quick little summary:
- Only D1 offer out of high school was from Chicago State.
- Decided to go to Lewis University (D2) in Romeoville, Illinois.
- After a very successful two years at Lewis, he decided to transfer.
- He averaged 20.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 3.5 assists during his sophomore season. Good enough to be named first team All-Great Lakes Valley Conference.
- After several school reaching out to Strus, he ended up staying up to play for his mother's alma mater, DePaul University.
- Due to NCAA rules, he sat out his first year at DePaul before becoming the face of the Blue Demons for two seasons.
- He averaged 16.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.3 steals per game his first season.
- He turn the program around as he helped propel the Blue Demons to a 19-17 record which gave them their first winning season since 2006-2007 during his senior season (2018-19).
- Averaged 20.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 2.2 assist that year which earned him second team All-Big East honors.
- Despite his college success, the doubters continued and he would go undrafted but would quickly be swept up by the Boston Celtics.
- He showed out in camp but was cut last minute.
- His hometown team would end up signing him close to the start of the 2019-20 season with a two-way deal. He spent most that season with their G-League affiliate Windy Bulls. He did make two appearances with the Chicago Bulls.
- Unfortunately, he suffered a torn ACL in late December of 2019 which would sideline him for about a year.
- His time with the Bulls was short. He next signed with the Miami Heat the following November on a training camp deal. He impressed their staff and had his contracted quickly converted to a two-way deal.
- After a strong first year in Miami which saw Strus play 39 games off the bench while averaging 6.1 points, he was invited to Summer League to play for the Heat.
- It was at this point that NBA fans, media, and the league would be made clear of the talent Strus has.
- After a stellar summer, Miami signed Strus to a two-year/$3.5 million deal.
- Strus continues to excel and make major improvement on his game and find new ways to contribute whether it be off the bench, in a start or even coming up clutch late in games. His past three seasons in Miami show just that.
- So far this season, he has played 23 games (14 off the bench) and is averaging 14.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 0.9 steals per game.
- He is averaging career-highs in just about every major statistical category that is measured.
This is probably just the beginning so buckle up.
Side note, Strus is more than just a NBA player. He is a man of the people, an everyday guy, and someone that is about giving back.
This summer, he combined his love for the game, wanting to support a local foundation, and his hometown by hosting the first ever Max Strus Basketball Camp.
The camp was four days long and was held at Amos Alonzo Stagg High School (Strus' old high school). Hundreds of kids showed out and a lot of money was raised for the Andrew Weishar Foundation which raises money to "provide direct financial relief and ensuring patients and their families know they're not alone in this fight."
Two of Strus' Heat teammates showed up too. Gabe Vincent and Udonis Haslem both came out to get involved and take part in Max's camp.
Also in attendance was the Miami Heat media team which put together a video on Max Strus and where he camp which also highlighted his camp. To watch, 'Inside The Heat: Max Strus', click below.
Miami Heat | NBA.com
Watch the latest video on NBA.com
Hoss Company also happened to be present for the first annual Max Strus Camp. Here is the Hoss Company recap attached below.