If Quincy Acy were a car, he would be an SUV hybrid.
He has a motor that never shuts down. He runs and jumps and dunks, digs his elbows into the hips and midsections of opponents, swipes rebounds and deflects passes, and clears the lane with his bruising 6-foot-7, 240-pound frame.
His dark, drooping beard sort of sums him up. While the Kings forward might not be feared in the conventional sense – his minutes and limited numbers reflect those of a reserve – you certainly don’t want to mess with him.
Whether he starts or comes off the bench, the Mesquite, Texas, native leaves bruises. He is a low-maintenance player with a bang. There is no whining, no pouting, no tantrum. When not in the game, he stands and cheers for his teammates, genuinely pleased with their success. Friends and relatives insist what you see is who he is; they swear Q’s acting skills are nonexistent.
“Quincy was always so full of energy, always into something,” said his mother, Renata Fuller. “One time when he was about 12, we visited my aunt and uncle out in the country in East Texas. He and his friends piled up some wood, set it on fire, and the whole field catches fire. The next thing I know, there’s a fire marshal at the door, wearing his badge, holding his gun. Quincy was crying like a baby. But the marshal told me, ‘Don’t be too hard on your boy, ma’am. He was the only one who stuck around.’ ”
Fuller laughed often when discussing the oldest of her three children. Fuller, an elementary school teacher in Dallas, said Quincy was the one who refused to stay in his seat at school, who clowned around in church, who spent the most time in the principal’s office. When Renata sent her son to his room for punishment, he quietly retaliated by devouring books and relying on his imagination.
“But he was a good student, and he worked hard,” she said. “He works hard at everything – track, football, basketball. He didn’t even make the team his freshman year.”
Acy was late to the dance and arrived with two left feet. When he stepped onto the basketball court for the first time at John Horn High School, coach Billy Clark suspected his skinny freshman was better suited for track or football. Though he was taller than his peers, his basketball skills were virtually nonexistent.
“Extremely raw,” Clark said. “When I first asked Quincy to show me his post move, he stands out there, with his back to the basket. He turns his upper torso, but keeps his feet facing out toward midcourt. I said to myself, ‘No way possible.’ Some of the upperclassmen would complain to me, ‘Coach, he can’t catch the ball.’ I told them, ‘He may not be catching the ball today, but the way he works, he will catch the ball someday.’ He just had that desire to be good, and he had that motor.”
The one that stays on at all times. Acy’s idea of down time is to keep moving. He multitasks while watching television, wipes the countertop, clears the table, tidies up the house. But that high energy – whatever is in that DNA – has had its benefits. Once Clark embraced his string-bean ninth-grader, the youngster developed quickly. He gained confidence as he grew to understand the game. His hands improved. He started expanding his range.
“Quincy told me that he wanted to start shooting the three-point shot,” Clark recalled, “and I said, ‘No, no, no. Let’s work on the mid-range game. That’s where you’re going to earn your money.’ ”
But first there were constant calls from dozens of major-college recruiters, four productive seasons at Baylor, a bachelor’s degree in speech communications, and his mother’s favorite moment – the walk down the aisle in cap and gown.
Acy also went through a series of physical changes in college, with his lean, wiry frame becoming muscular and powerful. His skills evolved into that of a traditional NBA power forward: rebounding, defending, interior scoring. The only problem was that he was no longer the tallest kid in the room. He was labeled a “tweener,” his lack of height leaving him available for the Toronto Raptors in the second round of the 2012 draft.
His experience with the Kings has been circuitous. After limited playing time in Toronto, he was assigned to the Raptors’ NBA Development League team in Bakersfield, acquired by the Kings in the Rudy Gay trade in December 2013 and traded by the previous regime to the New York Knicks in August 2014. After a career-high 68 games a year ago, he signed a two-year free-agent contract and returned to Sacramento.
And not surprisingly? Despite sitting on the bench for 23 games this season? Not a whine from him.
“My whole approach to life is to keep a smile on my face,” Acy said. “I get that from my mom. Being humble. No matter how hard things got, up or down, she never let that affect her.
“If I start, come off the bench, or don’t get into a game? When I get in there, I will give everything I’ve got. That’s just who I am.”