DENVER -- Given the rich tradition of Big 5 basketball, it isn’t hard when traveling the NBA beat to find a player on the opposing team who made a name playing college ball in Philadelphia.
The Nuggets’ starting two-guard did just that. Randy Foye played four years at Villanova -- 2002 to 2006.
His senior season, he averaged 20.5 points and 5.8 rebounds. Those numbers helped him be selected seventh overall by the Celtics, although he was traded twice before draft night was over, landing with the Timberwolves.
Now in his seventh NBA season, Foye is on his fifth NBA team. He was part of a three-team trade during the offseason that sent him from Utah to Denver.
Foye started the first 27 games for the Nuggets this season, but then head coach Brian Shaw relegated him to the bench.
“I told Randy when I took him out of the lineup, it was not a permanent thing and it was not an indictment on him,” Shaw said. “He was struggling not just shooting the ball, but in a lot of different areas.
“We needed to make a change, and that position is where we needed to make the change the most.”
Foye was unavailable for comment.
In his first game off the bench Dec. 27, Foye played seven minutes, but then scored 11 points in a 14-minute effort against Memphis the next night and went for 11 points and seven assists two nights later in a loss to the Heat.
Against the Sixers, Foye started and scored 14 points in 37 minutes, shooting 6 for 17 from the field and 0 for 6 from three.
“Over the last couple of games, as well as practices, he seemed to be back in a better rhythm now, so I am putting him back in the starting lineup,” Shaw said before Wednesday’s game against the Sixers.
“When I had the conversation with Randy, I told him he wasn’t defending well, he wasn’t rebounding and he wasn’t making plays for his teammates, and he was struggling shooting the ball.
“It was a combination of all those things that landed him in the second unit. I have to hold guys accountable. I did it with him and I need to do it with other guys too.”