Baylor’s NBA Presence: Power Ranking the Five Bears Who Have Retired
Do former green and gold donning hardwood heroes such as Red Owens or Micheal Williams ring a bell?
If not, that’s okay. It is Baylor University we are talking about.
And beyond that, we’re talking about former basketball players from that small private Christian school in Waco, Texas that went on to play professionally.
Today we’re going to be power ranking the five Baylor players who went on to play in the NBA before retiring from the game.
In addition, the Bears have five former players on current NBA rosters heading into the 2010-11 season (three on Summer League rosters with a shot at making the pro team or becoming a part of the NBA Development League, and four of the five being recruited by current Baylor basketball head coach Scott Drew).
But looking back, let’s being with No. 5.
No. 5: Red Owens (1949-1952)
Red Owens was the very first Baylor player in the school’s history to be drafted into the NBA although he only spent two seasons at that level.
During his two-year tenure in the NBA, Owens averaged 5.2 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game.
The guard/forward also averaged 21.6 minutes per game while shooting 61.4 percent from the charity stripe and 31.3 percent from the field.
In the playoffs (1949-50 season), Owens averaged 10 points and 2.4 assists per game while draining 68.3 percent of his free throw attempts.
No. 4: Terry Teagle (1982-1993)
Terry Teagle was selected by the Houston Rockets with the No. 16 overall pick in the 1982 NBA Draft, as the shooting guard went on to play 11 solid seasons professionally.
After spending his first two years in Houston, Teagle went on to a successful NBA career with teams such as the Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, and Los Angeles Lakers before returning to the Rockets, playing just two games with the team that originally drafted him before retiring in April 1993.
Over his 11-year career, Teagle averaged 11.6 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game.
The former BU guard also averaged 21.1 minutes per game in his career while shooting 79.2 percent from the charity stripe, 46.5 percent from the field, and 21 percent from beyond the arc.
In postseason play, Teagle’s most productive playoff campaign came in 1988-89 as a member of the Warriors averaging 19.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game while playing approximately 30 minutes per contest.
Overall as a postseason player, Teagle averaged 11 points and 2.2 rebounds per game, draining 78.1 percent of his free throws while shooting 45.1 percent from the field.
No. 3: Micheal Williams (1988-1999)
Micheal—no, not Michael—Williams is a former Baylor basketball player who was selected by the Detroit Pistons with the No. 48 overall pick in the 1988 NBA Draft.
Fortunately for him, the timing was perfect as the Pistons went on to win the NBA Championship in Williams’ first year playing professionally.
In a career spanning 10 seasons, Williams averaged 11 points, 5.8 assists, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.7 steals per game.
The former Bears guard also averaged 25.2 minutes per game while draining 86.8 percent of his free throw attempts, shooting 46.4 percent from the field, and hitting 22.7 percent of his shots from three-point range.
In the NBA playoffs, Williams’ best postseason performance came during the 1990-91 season with the Pistons averaging 20.6 points, 8.4 assists, and 3.2 rebounds per game while playing approximately 36.6 minutes per contest.
Overall as a postseason player, Williams averaged 10.9 points, 4.9 assists, and 2.2 rebounds per game while shooting 85.1 percent from the free throw line, 43.9 percent from the field, and 33.3 percent from beyond the arc.
No. 2: Vinnie Johnson (1979-1992)
Up until the recent selection of Ekpe Udoh as the No. 6 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, former Baylor hoops star Vinnie Johnson held the record for the highest drafted Bear—being taken by the now-defunct Seattle SuperSonics as the No. 7 overall pick in the 1979 NBA Draft.
And in a career spanning 13 seasons as a professional basketball player, Johnson had every reason for the hype and high-selection in 1979 as he was a major factor in helping to propel the Detroit Pistons to back-to-back titles in 1989 and 1990.
Through his 13 years in the NBA, Johnson averaged 12 points, 3.3 assists, and 3.2 rebounds per game while playing approximately 24.7 minutes per contest.
In postseason play, Johnson’s best year came when he was a member of the Pistons during the 1990-91 season averaging 15.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game while playing 23 minutes per matchup.
Overall as a playoff player, Johnson averaged 12 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per contest while draining 75.4 percent of his free throws, 45.3 percent of his field goals, and 27.4 percent of his shots from three-point range.
No. 1: David Wesley (1993-2007)
David Wesley, a former Baylor Bears basketball player who recently returned to the small campus in Waco, Texas to complete his degree and work as a student manager with the men’s hoops team, was an undrafted under-the-radar star before signing with the New Jersey Nets for the 1993-94 season.
And 14 seasons later, was he ever worth it.
Wesley’s most productive scoring season in the NBA came during his 2000-01 campaign as a member of the now-defunct Charlotte Hornets—averaging 17.2 points, 4.4 assists, 2.7 rebounds, and 1.6 steals per game.
Over the span of 14 years in the NBA, Wesley averaged 12.5 points, 4.4 assists, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.3 steals per game while playing approximately 31.9 minutes per contest.
In addition, Wesley’s career percentages were quite impressive: 78.6 percent from the charity stripe, 42.2 percent from the field, and 36.8 percent from beyond the arc.
In postseason play, the NBA guard averaged 12.1 points, 3.7 assists, and 2.2 rebounds per game while playing approximately 35.2 minutes per matchup.
Wesley was also known as a reliable shooter in his 14 seasons in the pros (garnering 10 straight seasons with double-digit scoring averages) and was a phenomenal defender.
And while some may argue that Vinnie Johnson was a better overall player than Wesley, he’s my personal No. 1 in power ranking the five former Baylor Bears to retire from the NBA.
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Denton Ramsey may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
[All Photos Courtesy of Google Images Search]