Former D-II Player of the Year signs with 76ers; hits three in his first game

Baltimore has produced many NBA basketball players, but never before has Archbishop Curley boasted of sending a player to “the league.” That changed on Tuesday when former Friar Haywood Highsmith, Jr. signed a two-way deal with the Philadelphia 76ers and was activated for Tuesday’s home game with the Washington Wizards.

Highsmith made the most of his debut, playing five minutes in Philadelphia’s 132-115 win and hitting a three-pointer on his first NBA attempt. He also had an assist.

Even more amazing is that was his second game of the day.

Playing for the Sixers’ G-League squad, the Delaware Blue Coats, Highsmith had seven points and eight rebounds in a victory over Raptors 905, before rushing to Philly to sign his two-way deal. A two-way deal means the 76ers can shuffle him back and forth between their roster and the Blue Coats as often as they wish for a maximum of 45 days. After that they have to assign him to the team’s regular 15-man roster or send him back to the G-League.

Highsmith, 22, graduated from Curley in 2014 and was named All-MIAA in the B Conference for a squad that went 11-7 and did not even qualify for the league playoffs. He did average 24 points and 11 rebounds per game as a senior and eventually found a college basketball home at Division II Wheeling Jesuit University (WV). He cracked the starting lineup as a freshman and averaged 9.7 points per game, but really blossomed as a sophomore when he averaged 14.5 points and 9.4 rebounds, earning first-team All-Mountain East Conference (MEC) honors.

As a senior he averaged 22 points and 12.5 rebounds as was named the MEC Player of the Year as well as the Division II Conference Commissioner’s Association (CCA) National Player of the Year and earned National Basketball Coaches Association (NBCA) First Team All-America status. He was also the MEC Tournament MVP and had an NCAA best 29 double-doubles as a senior.

This earned him an invitation to play for the 76ers NBA Rookie League squad last summer and, eventually, a spot in the G-League.

In 22 games this season in the G-League, Highsmith, who stands 6-feet-6, has averaged 13.8 points and 6.9 rebounds.

Pictured above: Curley graduate Haywood Highsmith, Jr. in his NBA debut, Tuesday, with the Philadelphia 76ers.