David Wear makes his family, Bighorns proud
David Wear was the golden child. So was his twin brother Travis.
Both players went undrafted out of UCLA last summer. Travis made the New York Knicks’ opening day roster, while David was waived by the Sacramento Kings in training camp. Jealousy never crossed the mind.
“I was extremely happy for him,” David Wear told Cowbell Kingdom on Tuesday. “I felt like in a way we had made it (together), just because we’re super close, we talk every single day. We’ve always competed against each other, and pushed each other since we started playing this game. So when he made it I was thrilled, but at the same time it just made me want it much more, and he knew it was a tough situation where I was still trying to get to that level and try to get on a roster somewhere. So when this happened, it was like the way I felt for him when he made the Knicks roster, it was a dream come true.”
The dream, according to David, was his own NBA breakthrough. The Kings signed the 6-foot-10, 235-pound forward to a 10-day contract on Monday.
This was all made possible by his D-League prominence. After being waived in the preseason, Wear joined the Reno Bighorns and blossomed. The 24-year-old averaged 16.3 points and 7.4 rebounds in 43 appearances (31 starts), and scored a career-high 33 points versus the Los Angeles D-Fenders on December 3.
But before Wear could get going, David Arseneault Jr. and his coaching staff in Reno had to rebuild him. They told the willing student to shake the mindset of a scrub.
“I think it was mainly just being aggressive,” Wear said of their instructions. “Getting that scoring mentality back, looking for my shot, honing my shot and not hesitating. When I’m open, shoot the ball. Be a confident scorer.”
Next, was getting Wear and his Bighorns teammates to buy into what the first-year pro head coach was selling.
“I mean the first time he explained to us, he was saying, ‘We’re never going to take any midrange shots, we’re going to press the whole game,’” Wear recalled of his introduction to the Grinnell offense. “Obviously, you know you’re allowed to take some midrange shots, so it’s not quite what he made it out to be. But definitely it was something new for us. I mean we take I think like 40 or 50 3’s a game, so it’s unbelievable. So a lot of us were a little dumbfounded at first when he told us. But once we started getting into it, we realized it’s a fun way to play and it allows us a lot of freedom as players.”
Through 46 regular season games, Arseneault Jr.’s system has the Bighorns scoring 132.6 points a night. More importantly, it has featured the skills of youngsters like Eric Moreland, Quincy Miller, Jordan Hamilton, Brady Heslip and David Stockton, all of whom have since found work in the NBA or overseas.
“I think if you’re a shooter, No. 1 it’s going to highlight that, and No. 2, playmaking ability, it’s all about just being a playmaker,” Wear reflected. “Making reads and just playing basketball and making quick decisions. I think if you can be a playmaker and you can make open shots and you’re a good shooter, I think it’s really going to highlight what you do well.”
If 2.6 assists per game and a 39.4 percent 3-point average in the D-League is any indication, Wear fits the description.
Wear is simply the latest graduate to benefit from Bighorns basketball. He is quick to note the similarities between the Grinnell offense and George Karl’s.
“It’s a little crazy (in Reno). Obviously it’s just super fast paced. Pressure defense, a lot of the time we’re pressing or trapping the ball. But that actually helped a little bit because coming here, just talking about coach Karl and the coaching staff here and seeing how they played, it’s kind of similar principles in that it’s all about spacing, you want to catch and drive, try to get into the lane. And then you’re really looking for kickout open 3’s or layups at the basket which is what we stressed in Reno.”
Wear found himself on Tuesday in Sacramento, which is an irony considering his roots as a Southern California native.
“Yeah, I was a huge Lakers fan growing up. Obviously being from that area. I’m familiar with the Robert Horry shot, all that stuff. All those teams back then, huge fan of all those games, those series.”
His parents and brother give him no flak, despite the fact he suits up for an archrival.
“Oh no, not at all,” Wear said of teasing. “They’re just excited I’m able to play at this level. My mom and dad, obviously with my brother in the NBA they were just waiting for me to get my shot to say that we were both there. And they know it’s been a tough year as far as just me trying to get to this level, and they were extremely happy and thrilled that I was finally able to make it come true.”
Wear didn’t check into Tuesday’s match versus the Philadelphia 76ers. But he is officially an NBA athlete, and the family and D-League team which raised the man can always call him their own.