Walter Robert "Wally" Szczerbiak (pronounced Surh-Bee-Ak) (born March 5, 1977) is an American professional Basketball player for the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers.
Szczerbiak was born in Madrid, Spain, while his father Walter (a former ABA player) was playing for Real Madrid, and spent much of his childhood in Europe during his father's playing career. When Walter retired, he moved his family back to his native Long Island, New York, where Wally attended high school in Cold Spring Harbor. Wally set a Cold Spring Harbor record in 1993. Szczerbiak competed for the Long Island team in the 1997 Empire State Games.
In college, Szczerbiak played for Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He graduated from the Richard T. Farmer School of Business at Miami University where he studied Marketing. At Miami he led his team to the Sweet 16 in the 1999 NCAA Tournament. As a #10 seed, Szczerbiak scored a career high 43 points in a first round win over #7 seed University of Washington. He followed that up by with a 24 point performance in the second round against #2 seed University of Utah, leading the Redhawks to the Sweet 16, where they would eventually lose to the University of Kentucky 58-48, despite Szczerbiak's 23-point performance.
The Minnesota Timberwolves selected Szczerbiak 6th overall in the 1999 NBA Draft. His best year as a pro was in 2002 when he was a coaches' selection to the Western Conference All-Star team. Later he tied a Timberwolves franchise record of 44 points on April 13, 2003, since broken by Kevin Garnett. Szczerbiak was coming off the bench for the 2004-2005 NBA season. He was uncomfortable with the role and wanted to be a starter. In the 2005-2006 season, the former All-Star returned to the starting role.
On January 26, 2006, Szczerbiak, along with Michael Olowokandi, Dwayne Jones and a conditional first-round draft pick, was traded to the Boston Celtics for Ricky Davis, Mark Blount, Marcus Banks, Justin Reed, and two second-round draft picks.
Szczerbiak is an offensive-minded player with an excellent perimeter touch; however, his defense is only average. Szczerbiak underwent knee surgery in the 2006 off-season to fix a knee which had been somewhat injured for many months.
In the 2006, Szczerbiak played well early on, including a 35-point performance against the Charlotte Bobcats early in the season. However, he was soon plagued by several injuries to both ankles, which greatly affected his performance, namely his shooting and jumping ability. Szczerbiak decided to have season-ending surgery on his ankles.
On June 28 (the night of the 2007), the Celtics traded Szczerbiak to the Seattle SuperSonics along with Delonte West and Jeff Green (Boston's 5th overall pick) for Ray Allen and Glen Davis (Seattle's 35th overall).
On February 21, 2008, Szczerbiak was traded from the SuperSonics to the Cleveland Cavaliers along with Sonics teammate Delonte West. Ben Wallace and Joe Smith (basketball) were involved in the trade also, and were traded from the Bulls.
Szczerbiak played in 25 regular season games (one start) with the Cavaliers averaging 8.2 points and 3.2 rebounds. He put up 18 points against Detroit on April 16, 2008. Between the Supersonics and the Cavaliers, Szczerbiak played in 75 games (two starts) and averaged 11.5 points and 2.9 rebounds.
During the playoffs, Wally took over as a starter for the Cleveland Cavaliers playing at the #2 spot. Wally helped the Cavs get past the first round of the 2008 by putting up 26 points along with shooting 6-13 from the 3 point line in Game 6 against the Washington Wizards. For the playoffs, Szczerbiak averaged 10.8 points per game.
Szczerbiak and his wife Shannon have 3 children, the youngest of whom was born on March 1, 2008. He is named Maximus Jack. Szczerbiak has two younger siblings, Will (a graduate of Georgetown University) and Wendy (a current member of the women's basketball team at Lehigh).
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