Sunday, July 12, 2009 | 4:21 p.m.
Romel Beck was taken out of the San Antonio Spurs’ lineup with two minutes left Sunday afternoon against New Orleans at Cox Pavilion.
Yet, the former UNLV swingman couldn’t sit still. He stood, watching his teammates take control against the Hornets in the NBA Summer League.
He clapped when the Spurs took an 87-86 lead. He pumped a fist when George Hill hit a 3-pointer from the left corner to give San Antonio a 90-86 edge with 20 seconds remaining. The Spurs won, 92-86.
“I want to win, big time,” Beck said. “I’ve always been a competitor, one of those guys who, I don’t care if I play 20 minutes, the whole game or one minute, I’ll be that guy cheering my team on. That’s the kind of player I am.”
Beck, 27, scored 13 points in 24 minutes off the bench for the Spurs. He also collected three rebounds, and had a steal and an assist. He had no turnovers.
It was an extension, he said, of how he played in San Antonio’s mini-camp.
“I like my situation right now,” Beck said. “I’m in a good position. I played well in San Antonio’s mini-camp and they invited me to their Summer League.
“I’m shooting the ball real well, and if I keep it up there’s the possibility that something will happen.”
Beck has become a veteran of the waiting game, to see if something will happen.
He has played in Italy and Mexico, and he averaged almost 16 points in 16 games for Dakota last season in the NBA Development League after an ill-fated stint for a Croatian team, whose main sponsor crumpled with the poor global economy.
“It was a good experience in the D-League,” Beck said. “There’s a whole bunch of hungry guys out there, just right there, so close to making it in the NBA. It was a humbling experience.
“I appreciate every little bit of it. I learned a lot, I got better and I got a lot of exposure.”
He realizes the clock on his professional career is ticking.
“Sometimes, you have to look at yourself in the mirror,” he said. “You have to realize you’re not 22, 23, 24 or 25 anymore. I’m just blessed and thank God every day that I’m out here doing what I’m doing.
“Whether I’m playing here in the States or in Europe, I have to make the most of it.”
Two teams in Italy, and squads in Spain and Poland have contacted Beck’s agent about next season.
“It feels good to be wanted,” Beck said, “but it also feels better to be back at home.”
The free agent said he’s feeling great and optimistic that his career, and this season, will work out. He feels especially proud to be wearing his red UNLV cap back on his former campus.
“I always wear it to support UNLV,” he said. “It’s a special place and will always be a special place in my heart.”