Twelve former Baylor basketball players, including Chuck Lincoln, Kerry Castleberry, Pat Nunley, Craig Kaiser, and Jay Shakir, who played together from 1978-1984, reunited Saturday to watch the No. 1 Bears take on No. 14 West Virginia at the Ferrell Center.
The former players were recognized by Baylor sports announcer Derek Smith at the game during a time-out call.
Shakir, who played as a point guard through 1985, said witnessing the team evolve decades later makes him proud to see what Baylor basketball has become.
“To see them rise to this level that they’ve probably never been at before is like, ‘Man what’s really going on? What’s happening down here?’” Shakir said. “I think Baylor’s sports program just makes you proud to have graduated from here.”
Nunley, a radio announcer for the Bears, was a shooting guard for the team through 1981. Having been on the team and then transitioning to announcing the games, Nunley said that the players’ evolution has been dramatic.
“It is an incredible transformation, and I don’t use that term lightly,” Nunley said. “It’s just a cultural shift from us being pretty good and occasionally very good, and [then] occasionally not very good, to now where we’re always consistently very good and when we have a year like we have this year, you can just see, we’re elite.”
Watching the team from San Antonio, Shakir said that the teams’ dynamic is what allows it to be successful and he sees some similarities from when he played to the players now.
“Overall, we played as a team, and that was on offense and defense,” Shakir said. “I see the same thing in their team today. They do it on both ends, as a team, and they’re aggressive and tough, and I think we were as well. All they’re doing is gaining experience and building momentum and becoming a better team, so I’m hoping that they continue to become a better team as they march to the playoffs.”
Nunley said that after seeing Saturday’s game, the upcoming game against No. 3 Kansas will bring out a stronger level of toughness and skill that the players already have.
“They are high-character kids, in the sense that they share, they play for one another, they play together,” Nunley said. “They understand that, as a team, they’re better than they are individually, and that assumes that they are extremely talented, which they are.
“There are a lot of really talented teams, but this team is incredibly talented, and it’s very deep, it has all the right parts, but the intangibles, in my mind, are what takes them from being very good to being the number one team in the nation.”