Originally signed by the LA Clippers in the first round of the 1998 NBA Draft, Brian Skinner is back where his career began after stints with six other teams.
Skinner, currently a forward for the Clippers, is in his 12th season in the NBA after spending his collegiate days as a member of the Baylor Bears basketball team.
In fact, Skinner was one of the very first college athletes I ever interviewed; and I vividly remember being extremely nervous as I awaited the big man’s arrival while sitting in the home team locker room following a Baylor victory.
I was just a freshman and was truly just beginning to get my feet wet in a career as a sportswriter; Skinner was a senior and was about to be drafted into the NBA just months later.
As I skimmed through my archived stories on athletes I have interviewed in the past, I had a hard time finding a copy of one of my very first sports pieces, a feature story on Skinner (I’ll try to get my hands on a copy in the near future and promise to post it if I find it).
I was a student at Baylor from 1997 through 2000 before taking a break and working for numerous years as a journalist; I returned to complete my degree in 2008 and aim to graduate in 2010.
Similarly, Skinner was drafted in 1998 by the Clippers and returned to LA in 2008.
By no means am I comparing my career as a writer to Skinner’s time in the NBA; it’s just an example of how things have come full circle over the past dozen years.
While donning his green and gold from 1994 until 1998, Skinner was the centerpiece of attention on campus.
And with his 6’9” frame, he towered over a majority of the college students walking around Waco’s beautiful campus.
Skinner averaged a near double-double his entire Baylor career in both points and rebounds, going from an average of 13.1 PPG and 8.2 RPG as a freshman to 18.0 PPG and 9.5 RPG as a senior.
His NBA numbers haven’t been nearly as impressive, but at least he’s still playing the game he loves and adores.
While playing professionally, Skinner has averaged 4.8 PPG and 4.8 RPG through 11 seasons and counting; his best numbers came during the 2003-04 season when he was a member of the Milwaukee Bucks, averaging 10.5 PPG, 7.3 RPG and 1.1 BPG.
But for Baylor fans, that’s not what’s important.
What’s important is that the Bears still have a face in the NBA; and with Scott Drew currently at the helm of the Baylor men’s basketball program, I’d expect many more players to be pro-bound in the very near future…
Denton Ramsey may be reached via email at email@example.com