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Renaldo Balkman (born July 14 1984 in Staten Islandmarker, New Yorkmarker) is an Americanmarker professional basketball player, formerly of the University of South Carolinamarker, currently playing for the Denver Nuggets of the NBA. His nickname is "Taz".

High school

Prior to attending Laurinburg Institute, he was at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Floridamarker. At Laurinburg, he led his team to 40-2 record and No. 1 national prep school ranking.



Balkman was a little known player in high school at the Laurinburg Institute, but he was discovered in 2002 by University of South Carolinamarker coach Dave Odom, who instantly saw his potential. According to Odom, "I remember the first time I saw Renaldo Balkman. I was sitting in Orlando in a gym with (South Carolina assistant coach) Barry Sanderson and I asked him 'who is that kid with the dreadlocks? That's the guy we need'. He came back and said nobody knows his name." Balkman was recruited and signed by Carolina, having received little to no interest from any other major basketball programs.

Playing career

Balkman had played an integral role in South Carolina's two wins over eventual national champion Florida during the 2005-2006 college basketball season. He was also the 2006 NIT Most Valuable Player, averaging 9.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.3 blocks per game. Balkman's highlight for the season was a team-leading 28-point, 16-rebound, 4-steal performance in a 67-56 win over Alabama on February 14, 2006. He was 11 of 15 from the field and also had a team-high 2 blocks.

For the 6-foot-8 Balkman, a defensive banger whose style Knicks general manager Isiah Thomas had likened to Dennis Rodman and Ron Artest, the 2006 NIT MVP award was a fitting capper to a three-year college career that produced 7.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and a .553 shooting average.

2006 Draft

The Knicks' choice of Balkman in the first round surprised many, notably ESPN's Jay Bilas, who noted that projected lottery pick Marcus Williams was still available. ESPN columnist Bill Simmons, among others, joked that perhaps Isiah Thomas thought he was drafting Rolando Blackman, a former Knicks player. However, other analysts praised Balkman's work ethic and attitude, as he had transformed himself from a relative unknown into a first round NBA draft pick over the course of a few months. There was further controversy when the Knicks' general manager, Isiah Thomas, claimed that the Phoenix Suns were prepared to take him; the Suns claimed that he was not even "on [their] radar". In the NBA's official draft guide, which was released to all reporters covering the draft, Balkman was not included in the list of the 300 top players eligible to be drafted in the 2006-07 rookie class. However, the Knicks selected Balkman with their first of two draft picks, which was 20th overall. The Knicks later selected Mardy Collins with the 29th pick. It has also been speculated that Thomas and the Knicks selected Balkman because his agent, Leon Rose, was also the agent of then soon-to-be free agent LeBron James.

In the Las Vegasmarker Summer League before the 2006-2007 season, Balkman averaged 7.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.4 steals, 1 block and 2.4 turnovers during the span of 5 games. He played along Knick teammates Channing Frye, David Lee, Nate Robinson and Mardy Collins.

Professional career


Balkman played in 68 games during the 2006–07 NBA season, averaging 15.6 minutes, 4.9 points, and 4.3 rebounds. He logged four double-doubles and showed promise, particularly on the defensive end where he was called upon to guard multiple positions, from shooting guard to center. The press praised Balkman, describing him as a "sparkplug off the bench" and a "crowd favorite for his hustle and enthusiastic defense," though he was criticized for his poor outside shooting. Balkman also led the league's rookies in steals plus blocks per 48 minutes.


Balkman played in 65 games during the 2007-2008 NBA season, averaging fewer minutes, points, and rebounds than the year before.


On July 28 2008, Balkman was traded to the Denver Nuggets along with cash considerations in exchange for Taurean Green, Bobby Jones, and a second round pick in the 2010 draft. The Knicks quickly waived both Green and Jones, solidifying the fact that the deal was a salary dump. Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni stated, "Renaldo really had no role after we drafted Gallinari, and with the emergence of Wilson Chandler his minutes would be nonexistent, so it really wasn’t fair to him to keep him in a spot that he wouldn’t play and also gives us an opportunity to clear up a roster spot and move on." Said Balkman, "I'm going to make the best of my opportunity. New York was great, but that's in my past now. Denver is my future." Balkman soon carved out an important role in Denver's new defensive-minded gameplan and has solidified his reputation as a high-energy contributor off the bench.

2009 Arrest

On 22 August, 2009, Balkman was arrested under suspicion of driving under the influence in Temple Terrace, Florida. He was released on $500 bail.

NBA career statistics

Regular season

New York
68 1 15.6 .505 .185 .567 4.3 .6 .8 .6 4.9
New York
65 0 14.6 .489 .083 .432 3.3 .6 .7 .5 3.4
53 10 14.7 .558 .286 .646 3.8 .6 .9 .4 5.0
186 11 15.0 .517 .174 .536 3.8 .6 .8 .5 4.4


8 0 2.5 .333 .000 .000 .5 .1 .5 0 .5
8 0 2.5 .333 .000 .000 .5 .1 .5 0 .5


  1. NY Knicks | In The Paint
  2. Odom Reflects on Renaldo Balkman the day after
  3. South Carolina Gamecocks Statistics - 2005-06
  4. South Carolina 67, Alabama 56 - Recap - February 14, 2006
  5. Bill Simmons' Draft Diary X
  7. Style Magazine, The Most Powerful Man in Sports?
  8. NBA
  9. Development of Young Players Key to Knicks' Future
  10. Nuggets Acquire Balkman
  11. Knicks waive ex-Nuggets
  12. Nuggets get Balkman from Knicks
  13. Balkman thinks defense first
  14. [1]

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