The NBA season is kicking into gear, and the Bears have five players in the league.
Quincy Acy enters his sixth NBA season. He’ll play for the Nets this year and should get a decent bit of playing time. Acy played on Baylor’s 2010 and 2012 Elite Eight squads. He also dunked on Texas 10 times in 2010. Though some say he still hasn’t stopped dunking on them.
Johnathan Motley has a two-way contract with the Mavs. That contract allows Motley to split team in the G-league (NBA minor league) and on the Mavericks roster. He won the Karl Malone Award last season, which is given to college basketball’s best power forward.
Royce O’Neale returns to the United States and is playing his first NBA season. He was the last man to make the Utah Jazz roster. O’Neale played on Baylor’s 2014 Sweet 16 team and the No. 3 seeded 2015 team. He’s a good ball handler, elite shooter and quick defender. Hopefully he sticks in the NBA.
Taurean Prince is America’s small forward. He was a lottery selection of the Atlanta Hawks two seasons ago. Now that the Hawks have dealt much of their roster, he’s in line to be one of the team’s best players. Prince should have a breakout season.
Ekpe Udoh returns to the NBA after winning a title in Europe last season. Udoh was the No. 6 pick of the Golden State Warriors in the 2010 NBA Draft. He struggled to score consistently in the NBA and played for the Bucks and Clippers. But with the NBA’s emphasis on big men who can switch and guard perimeter players, Udoh figures to see major minutes for the Jazz. He also hosts a great book club.
Hopefully a few other Bears make it to the NBA. Cory Jefferson, Perry Jones, Quincy Miller and Pierre Jackson have played for NBA teams. And Brady Heslip has been a force in the G-league. One of those five could make it someday.