With NBA ring, Baynes joins select WSU club

THE BOX SCORE in San Antonio's series-clinching win Sunday over Miami in the NBA Finals showed that former Washington State standout Aron Baynes played two minutes, scored two points and snagged one rebound. Modest, yes, but with the Spurs' title the big Aussie has accomplished something no Cougar basketballer has in more than 50 years.

Aron Baynes owns an NBA championship ring.

The last, and only other, Coug to win a championship was Gene Conley. He won three straight -- in 1958-59, 1959-60 and 1960-61 -- as Bill Russell's backup on the Boston Celtics. He also won a World Series championship as a standout pitcher on the 1957 Milwaukee Braves.

Conley played six seasons in the NBA. In 33 total playoff games over the course of the three championship years he averaged 5.1 points and 6.7 rebounds per game.

The only other Coug to come close to an NBA title was Craig Ehlo, whose 1985-86 Houston Rockets lost to Boston, 4 games to 2, in the finals.

James Donaldson, another Coug with a long NBA career, came no closer to an NBA ring than the Western Conference finals with the Mavericks in 1987-88.

BOSTON BIG MEN: GENE CONLEY AND BILL RUSSELL, CIRCA 1961.

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