Last week, the Miami Heat suspended Dion Waiters 10 games after he overdosed on gummies and had a panic attack on a team flight.
With some free time, Waiters is clearing his head by going back to his alma mater, Syracuse. The guard stopped by the Carrier Dome on Saturday during Syracuse’s win over Seattle and re-connected with the team.
Waiters played two seasons at Syracuse, averaging 9.7 points, though he was not a starter. He was named Big East Sixth Man of the Year after his sophomore season. Waiters was selected fourth by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2012 draft.
Boeheim still a mentor
But his basketball roots are still in upstate New York. Waiters told Syracuse.com that Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim has consistently given him guidance:
I just wanted to come up and talk to Coach. I know that’s a person who will always be there for me if I ever need anything. It’s a chance for me to come up, be around, talk to the coaches, things like that. And that’s important.
Waiters did not speak about the incident that led to his suspension. A teammate reportedly gave him a THC-infused gummy — using THC is prohibited by the NBA. In a statement announcing his suspension, the Heat called the incident “very scary” and said it was “very disappointed” in Waiters’ actions.
The 27-year-old said he wanted to get away and “be around some love.” Waiters pointed to the unconditional love at Syracuse’s program and claimed that he is in a great place:
If you stay locked in, if you believe and trust in yourself, trust in the work you put in, you know, it’s a minor setback. It happens. It’s life. You learn from it. The only thing I can do is move forward. Stay focused. Stay even-keeled. Let everything else take care of itself.
Not the end of his story
Waiters added that this incident is not the end of his story. He is on his third team since arriving in the league in 2012. Though he has averaged double-figures in seven of eight seasons, Waiters’ isolation-heavy style of play led to the moniker “Waiters Island” to describe him.
The gummy incident was obviously a serious one, and Waiters — in the third year of a four-year, $52 million contract — appears to be trying to take a mental break and be near familiar faces during a rough stretch.
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