UTAH JAZZ

Utah Jazz Honor Royce O’Neale With Tribute Video

Jan 20, 2023, 7:24 PM | Updated: 7:32 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz honored forward Royce O’Neale with a tribute video Friday night when they hosted the Brooklyn Nets.

The Jazz sent O’Neale to Brooklyn in exchange for a 2023 first-round draft pick shortly before free agency opened last July.

During the first quarter, O’Neale was received warmly by Jazz fans in his first return to Utah since the trade.

Royce O’Neale Had Strong Run With Jazz

O’Neale spent the first five seasons of his NBA career with the Jazz after signing with the team as a free agent in 2017.

Former Jazz Vice President of Basketball Operations Dennis Lindsey had noticed O’Neale’s play at his alma mater Baylor, and after successful seasons in Germany and Spain, signed the hard-nosed forward to a guaranteed contract.

As a rookie, O’Neale quickly became a fixture in coach Quin Snyder’s rotation due to his hustle, rebounding, and floor spacing abilities.

In his third season with the team, O’Neale earned his spot as a starter and kept that role over the next three seasons.

During those three seasons as a starter, O’Neale averaged 6.9 points and 5.7 rebounds while shooting 38 percent from the three-point line.

As the Jazz began to remake their roster last offseason, the team traded O’Neale to the Nets for a 2023 first-round pick.

Rags To Riches Story

O’Neale faced long odds of making the NBA after going underrecruited out of high school. The forward began his career at the University of Denver before transferring to Baylor as a junior.

At Baylor, O’Neale averaged a solid, albeit unspectacular 10.1 points and 5.8 rebounds while shooting 45 percent from the floor and 43 percent from three.

The Bears earned at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament in both of O’Neale’s seasons in Waco, but never advanced past the Sweet 16.

O’Neale played for the Golden State Warriors summer league team in 2016 but didn’t stick with the roster.

This season O’Neale is averaging a career-high 9.2 points and 4.1 assists while shooting 39 percent from the floor and 40 percent from three.

The former Jazzman is under contract with the Nets through next season.

Ben Anderson is the Utah Jazz insider for KSL Sports and the co-host of Jake and Ben from 10-12p with Jake Scott on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. Find Ben on Twitter at @BensHoops or on Instagram @BensHoops.

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