Luke Harangody wasn't expected to be a big contributor for the Celtics entering the season. After all, he was the team's fifth option behind fellow big men like Shaquille O'Neal, Jermaine O'Neal, Glen Davis and Semih Erden.
But that might change after Friday night's 122-102 win over the Toronto Raptors in which the rookie forward set career highs in both scoring (17 points) and rebounding (11 boards). In the game, Harangody made 8-of-11 field goals and 1-of-5 three pointers and had two blocks.
Harangody, who averaged 21.8 points and 9.1 rebounds in four seasons at Notre Dame, is only averaging 2.3 points and 1.8 rebounds in 16 games for the Celtics this season. He is shooting 48.7% from the field and has 39 points and 30 rebounds.
While Harangody's numbers are far from impressive this season, his performance on Friday night may have gone a long way towards earning him more playing time. Many doubted that Harangody could maintain the same high level of play in the NBA that he did with the Fighting Irish in college.
Based on his college numbers, Harangody is clearly capable of being a top-level shooter. In 129 games at Notre Dame, Harangody made 936-of-1,968 field goals (47.4%) and 42-of-129 three pointers (32.5%). Harangody is also capable of being the main scorer on a team. Harangody was Notre Dame's leading scorer in the 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons, averaging 20.4 points, 23.3 points and 21.8 points respectively.
Now, being on a roster that contains Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and a whole bunch of bonafide NBA scorers, Harangody won't be looked upon to be the team's number one scoring option. But in a league where injuries are frequent, especially on an older team like the Celtics, it never hurts to have a player like Harangody who is capable of pouring in the points.
His play on Friday night proved his critics wrong, and he took a major step towards becoming a regular contributor for the 17-time NBA champions.