The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Former Mustang great returns home to play with Mavs

As young athletes map out their future, careers of “going pro” are few and far between. Some forgo college, hoping they can establish themselves as a respectable athlete while still just a teenager. Others, like SMU alumni Quinton Ross, a former member of the Mustang basketball team, waited four years to pursue a professional career in the NBA.

The NBA seemed to work for the likes of a younger Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Garnett and Tracy McGrady, all of whom opted out of college, but an education was more important for Ross. After all, being a member of the same group as Michael Jordan, Carmelo Anthony, Dwayne Wade and Wilt Chamberlain isn’t bad either.

Born and raised in Dallas, Ross is back home after spending the years since his 2003 graduation from the Hilltop, living and traveling between California and Tennessee as a member of the L.A. Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies. Now, after nearly five years away from Dallas, Ross returns home as the newest guard on the Dallas Mavericks’ roster.

“Quinton has been part of the Dallas basketball fabric for many years,” Donnie Nelson, President of the Dallas Mavericks Basketball Operations said in a statement released upon Ross’ signing. “We are happy and proud to bring him home. His athleticism, defensive versatility and experience will add depth to our backcourt.”

The Mavs selected Ross on July 7, the first day free agents were available for selection. As per team policy, the terms of Ross’ deal with the Western Conference team were not disclosed. Ross is the 12th Mustang to join the NBA in the program’s history.

A man of few words, Ross is thrilled to be coming back home to Dallas to continue his NBA career after a six year road trip landed him nearly 1,500 miles away from home.

“It’s going to be an unbelievable experience to be playing around my family,” said Ross about him move to the Dallas to play for the Mavericks.

Undrafted upon graduating from SMU, Ross spent the preseason in L.A. but was waived prior to the start of the 2003 season. Instead, Ross went overseas to play with Telindus Oostende of Belgium during the 2003-04 season.

“It was a learning experience,” Ross said of playing overseas. “It taught me how to be professional. I went into my rookie year prepared to handle the trials and tribulations of playing in the NBA.”

It was after one year in Europe that Ross came to sign a four-year free agent contract with the Clippers in 2004. Ross, then 23, was picked up as a rookie free agent by the L.A. Clippers, averaging just under 21 minutes in 370 games (158 starts), 4.6 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.1 assists.

Ross had his peak performance in 2007 in a win over the Golden State Warriors, reaching a new career high 24 points. Prior to that, Ross held a career-high 18 points in Game 6 of the 2006 Western Conference semifinals against the Phoenix Suns.

After four years, the 6-foot-6, 193-pound Kimball High School graduate left California to join the Grizzlies for the 2008-09 season, where he played alongside his cousin, Darrell Arthur. However, with just seven starts out of 68 games and only shooting an average of only 3.9 points and 1.9 boards per game, Ross left Memphis to return home for the upcoming 2009-10 season.

While on the Hilltop from 1999-2003, Ross established himself as the fourth-highest scorer in the school’s history with 1,763 career points, averaging 14.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 119 games. In his fourth and final season as a Mustang, Ross was named the 2002-03 Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year, starting all 30 games and averaging 20.3 points per game as a senior.

“I had a great time at SMU,” Ross said. “From my freshman year through the post season my senior year it was always fun. The basketball atmosphere was positive. I had a great coach and made some great friends on the team.”

Ross’ final season at SMU also marked the fifth time in seven years the Mustangs received votes in the Associated Press Top 25 polls. Leading SMU to a winning 17-13 record, including 11 conference wins and a No.2 seed in the WAC Tournament, Ross was named an Associated Press Honorable mention All-American player, the first Mustang to win the honor since Jon Koncak in 1985.

Under former head coach Mike Dement, now the head coach at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Ross also received team awards as Most Valuable Player and Best Defender. A player who was “hard to keep off the floor,” according to his former coach, Dement praised the former WAC Defensive Player of the Year for his hard work ethic.

“It was always just a matter of time before he joined the NBA,” said Dement. “[Quinton] was always a guy who worked really hard so I always knew he was going to be successful.”

Former teammate and restricted free agent of the Mavericks, James Singleton of the L.A. Clippers, who signed with Dallas at the start of last season, may return to play alongside Ross after spending two years in L.A.’s backcourt with the Dallas native from 2005 to 2007. Though not former teammates, Greg Buckner, a member of the Grizzlies from 2007-09, also joined the Mavs this season as a 6-4 guard after starting his NBA career in Dallas in 1999.

“I’m just going to try and keep getting better,” Ross said of his transition to Dallas. “I want to help this team any way I can. I just hope I can be a positive addition to the team.”

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