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Bears to the big leagues

July 5, 2012

Bears to the big leagues

The Year of the Bear carried over into the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball drafts this spring, as a school-record 14 Bears were picked across the three leagues, including three first-round picks.

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NFL

As expected, the Washington Redskins selected quarterback Robert Griffin III with the second overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. RG3 became the fourth Bear ever taken with the No. 2 pick, following Jack Wilson (1942), Adrian Burk (1950) and Jason Smith (2009); he was also the first BU quarterback to be drafted since Cody Carlson in 1987, and the first Baylor QB to go in the first round since Cotton Davidson in 1954.

Wide receiver Kendall Wright went No. 20 overall to the Tennessee Titans, the first Baylor receiver to go in the first round since Lawrence Elkins in 1965. That gave the Bears five NFL first-rounders in the last four seasons, matching the program's total from 1966 to 2008 when Art Briles was hired as head coach.

Three more Bears were selected later in the draft, bringing Baylor's total to five, the most for BU since 1996. The Denver Broncos used the fourth-round pick they received for trading Tim Tebow to grab center Philip Blake; in Denver, he will either battle fellow Bear J.D. Walton for the starting center job or shift to guard. In the sixth round, the New York Jets drafted running back Terrance Ganaway and tackle Robert T. Griffin with back-to-back picks. Another three Bears signed free-agent deals with NFL teams after the draft: Elliot Coffey (Broncos), Nicolas Jean-Baptiste (Baltimore Ravens) and Tracy Robertson (Houston Texans).

Baylor joined Alabama as the only two schools in the country with multiple first-round NFL picks each of the last two years. Over the past four years, only Alabama and USC have had more first-round NFL picks than Baylor, and only Oklahoma has had more top-5 overall picks than Baylor during that time. The Bears' five picks in 2012 were the most of any school in Texas and second-most in the Big 12.

NBA

Two months later (and just hours before this issue went on press), a program-record three Baylor players were selected in the 2012 NBA Draft. Only once before had Baylor even had two players drafted in the same year (1988, Micheal Williams and Darryl Middleton).

The NBA Western Conference champion Oklahoma City Thunder got things started by drafting sophomore Perry Jones III with the 28th overall pick, making the Duncanville, Texas, native the fifth first-round pick in Baylor men's basketball history (and the second in three years under head coach Scott Drew).

Senior Quincy Acy and sophomore Quincy Miller were selected with back-to-back picks early in the second round, giving Baylor three of this year's top 38 picks. The Toronto Raptors chose Acy with the seventh pick of the second round (No. 37 overall), and Miller went one spot later to the Denver Nuggets.

In the last three years, only Kentucky, Kansas, North Carolina and Texas have had more NBA selections than Baylor.

MLB

Six Baylor baseball players were selected in the 2012 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, including the Bears' entire weekend rotation. At least one Bear has been chosen in every draft since 1991.

After Major League Baseball conducted its first round on day one of the draft, three Baylor position players were selected on day two: junior first baseman Max Muncy (5th round, Texas Rangers), senior catcher Josh Ludy (8th round, Philadelphia Phillies) and junior center fielder Logan Vick (11th round, Cleveland Indians).

On day three, Josh Turley (16th round, Detroit Tigers), senior Tyler Bremer (27th round, Chicago Cubs) and senior Trent Blank (30th round, Colorado Rockies) were all drafted as pitchers.

The six selections bring Baylor's all-time total to 123 draft picks, including 89 in head coach Steve Smith's 18 seasons at the helm.

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