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From Stagg H.S. to DePaul to Miami; Heat star Max Strus' journey to NBA Finals

From Hickory Hills to Heat: Max Strus' journey to NBA Finals
From Hickory Hills to Heat: Max Strus' journey to NBA Finals 02:47

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Miami Heat shooting guard Max Strus had 14 points in their Game 2 win over the Denver Nuggets on Sunday in the NBA Finals.

But the DePaul University alum's journey to this point in the NBA had plenty of bumps along the way.

CBS 2's Jori Parys caught up with Strus' siblings, who continue to support him.

"You see the video intro with the trophy, and all the great players who have played, and then they show starting lineup, and there's Max," said Marty Strus.

Before Max Strus was starting for the Heat in the NBA Finals, he was shooting hoops at his home in Hickory Hills.

"My dad was awesome, and put a basketball court on the side yard, and it was like kind of the envy of the neighborhood," said Max's older brother, Marty, who is currently coaching at Stagg High School, the place that shaped Max's competitive nature. "Sophomore/junior year of high school you started to see, like, wow, Max is pretty athletic, and Max can shoot the ball pretty well, and Max is pretty driven to compete, and you just kind of started to see those wheels turning."

Max played the first two years of his college career at Lewis University, where Marty played, before transferring to his mother's alma mater, DePaul.

Family roots are something he has leaned on from day one.

"I think family support for him is extremely important," said Max's sister, Maggie Strus. "Just knowing that there's going to people in his corner, no matter what happens in him in his life and his career."

Max went undrafted out of DePaul in 2019, and signed a free-agent deal with the Boston Celtics. He was waived before the season began, agreeing to another two-way contract with the Chicago Bulls.

"Playing in Hoffman Estates, and taking rides up there, and then, yeah, he gets call up to play with Bulls, and it's like yeah this is really cool; you know, your hometown team. But it didn't work out," Marty said.

A torn ACL eventually led to Max signing with the Miami Heat.

Now, he's trying to help the team become the first No. 8 seed to win the NBA championship.

"People have been telling him what box to fit, and what he can't do his whole life," Maggie said. "I think you've seen that from ACL to now; he loves to prove people wrong, and he does it with smile on his face."

 A player and person who's easy to root for.

"It's pretty inspiring for our community as a whole, but definitely individually. He's just an awesome person to look up to. I hope our community, I hope kids everywhere are following his story and know his story and know there's going to be setbacks. That's what life is, but, it's just how you respond to those things, and I can't think of anyone who has responded better than he has," Marty said.

Max had family members watching him in Denver, and they plan on attending as many NFA Finals games as possible. The best-of-seven series is tied up 1-1, with Game 3 in Miami on Wednesday.

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