• Baylor’s Prince the No. 12 overall pick in 2016 NBA Draft

    Taurean Prince with the NBA commissioner

    Taurean Prince, BSED ’16, came to Baylor four years ago with little acclaim or notice. He leaves with his degree in hand as one of the highest draft picks in program history.

    Thursday night, the Utah Jazz selected Prince with the 12th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft; once paperwork is complete, he will reportedly be traded to the Atlanta Hawks as part of a pre-draft deal. At No. 12, Prince was the Bears’ third-highest pick ever; only Ekpe Udoh (No. 6 in 2010) and Vinnie Johnson (No. 7 in 1979) were chosen higher.

    If you watched him over the last four years, it’s no surprise. A hard-working player and fan favorite, Prince worked his way up from the bench as a freshmen to the become the team’s top scorer as a senior, when he averaged 15.9 points per game. He wrapped up his career as one of just 30 members of Baylor’s 1,000-point club, reaching the milestone in the Bears’ upset win at Iowa State in January.

    Far more than just a scorer, Prince caught the eyes of NBA scouts by becoming a complete player in all phases of the game. Last season, he was the Big 12’s only player who finished in the top 15 in the conference in points, rebounds, blocked shots and steals.

    His selection gives Baylor six NBA draft picks in the last five years, a total that ranks sixth nationally, is second in the Big 12 (trailing only Kansas, who has eight), and is tops in the state of Texas. (In fact, Baylor’s six picks are more than every other Texas school combined: UNT—1, UT—1, A&M—1.)

    For Prince, it’s just another step in his improbable rise. This week, his story of homelessness as a teen went national, introducing basketball fans across the country to the drive and work ethic that made him an NBA lottery pick.

    Sic ’em, Taurean Prince!

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