Former Celtics guard takes home Player of the Game honors at FIBA World Cup

Boston Celtics (Photo by Luis Veniegra/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Boston Celtics (Photo by Luis Veniegra/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images) /

Even though no current Boston Celtics players are taking part in this year’s FIBA World Cup in the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia, there are still reasons for Cs fans to tune in. Tremont Waters presented a reason why in his first game of Group B play with Puerto Rico.

The former 51st overall selection of the Celtics led Nelson Colón’s team to a narrow overtime triumph over Maine Celtic Marial Shayok and South Sudan. Los Gallos’ No. 51 did his best Stephen Curry impression on the world stage, knocking down a game-high four threes.

Four threes is just a surface-level statistic of how that went down. Within the first five minutes of the contest, Waters hit two shots from way far beyond the arc including one fearless transition three.

His unselfishness was also on display, dishing on 11 assists while amassing three steals on the other end of the floor. Royal Ivey’s team was consistently on its heels trying to contain the former Celtics guard from getting into the teeth of its defense. The Connecticut native drilled two clutch free throws at the end of regulation that allowed the contest to be pushed into an overtime period.

The former G-League Rookie of the Year contributed over 43 minutes between the white lines to open the World Cup, drawing his nation level on points with Serbia ahead of Monday’s encounter. Waters did manage to collect eight turnovers running the show for the Caribbean side, but his outing vs. the African outfit was enough to earn him FIBA’s TCL Player of the Game.

Puerto Rican fans on “X” disagreed with FIBA’s choice of Player of the Game, but it is hard to argue the imprint he had on the offensive end for nearly the entire contest.

Waters’ final regular season contest in green came in May 2021 when he netted 17 points in a defeat to the New York Knicks in the final game of the campaign. After playing a small part in three of Boston’s postseason games that year, the LSU product bounced around the association.

The five-foot-10 guard played for four organizations, never seeming to break into a rotation within a team. He averaged over 15 points and six assists in his G-League career, but that never led to success at the higher level in the United States. Once he was selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the Baloncesto Superior Nacional draft in 2022, the ex-SEC standout found his footing at the professional level.

Ex-Boston Celtics point guard Tremont Waters continues to thrive since taking his game to Puerto Rico in 2022

The fiery guard may never crack an NBA roster again, but it is nice to see Waters succeed on a stage like the FIBA World Cup. With a win to open up group play, he is well on his way to leading Puerto Rico to its best finish in this competition since 2002.

The former No. 51 in Boston Celtics green has already captained his side to the same amount of wins that the nation managed in 2010, and 2014.

Waters returns to action at the FIBA World Cup on Monday, August 28 at 8:00 a.m. EST against Bogdan Bogdanovic and Serbia.