#23 Baylor Men's Basketball 2012-13 Preview

Baylor Bears

2012-2013 Overall Rank: #23
Conference Rank: #2 Big 12 Conference
Baylor Men's College Basketball 2012-2013 Team Preview
Baylor Team Page


Last season, the Baylor Bears made the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament, losing to eventual champion Kentucky; two years before, the Bears made the Elite Eight of the Tournament, losing to eventual champion Duke. In between, however, Baylor was a disappointing 18-13 and failed to qualify for postseason play. With the departure of some of their biggest stars, it will fall on Head Coach Scott Drew to rally his returning players, integrate them with another batch of highly talented recruits and keep up this recent stretch of dominance. The 2010-2011 season was the first time in four years that Drew’s Baylor team had failed to win 20 games. It has also been the school’s only misstep since Drew took over in 2003 and brought them out of four consecutive losing seasons.

2011-2012 Record: 30-8, 12-6
2011-2012 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Scott Drew
Coach Record: 154-124 at Baylor, 174-135 Overall

Who’s Out:
Baylor had one of the more fearsome front courts in the nation last year. Perry Jones III, along with Quincy Acy and Quincy Miller were the team’s top three rebounders (both offensively and defensively) by a wide margin. Acy also led the team in blocks, tallying almost two per contest. The three were also the team’s second, third and fourth leading scorers. All three have since departed for the NBA, leaving the inside the responsibility of freshmen. But more than simply losing their production, Baylor will be without their leadership, especially Acy’s. While Perry Jones was more of a quiet leader by example (and a wishy-washy one at that) and Miller was a talented freshman finding his legs, Acy was a powerful, energetic, exciting forward who looked and played like he was more aggressive than his opponent. It remains to be seen who will take over as the emotional leader of the Bears now that he is gone.

Who’s In:
The returning Bears are very guard-heavy. Pierre Jackson, last year’s leading scorer, is back. At just 5’10”, Jackson gets most of his points from the three point line and the free throw line, 60% of them in fact. Although he is a very good foul shooter, his three point efficiency could use some work. Also returning this season in the 6’2” and under camp are guards Brady Heslip and A.J. Walton. While Walton was a bench player and defender last year, his role has room to develop. And Heslip returns as one of the more feared deep shooters in the conference, especially after his NCAA Tournament performance of a year ago. Teamed with the returning guards are a number of talented recruits. Trying to replicate the job of Quincy Miller will be the likes of Isaiah Austin, Ricardo Gathers and Chad Rykhoek, all highly rated and highly anticipated.

Who to Watch:
There are multiple Youtube videos from years past naming Deuce Bello the best high school dunker In The World or EVER! Bordering on hyperbole is fine in an internet compilation video; in practice, Bello was an afterthought last year at Baylor. He was indeed a highly ranked recruit out of high school, just not as high as his teammate Quincy Miller (or his new teammate Isaiah Austin for that matter). But he had some nice games during Baylor’s 30-win campaign, the best of which may have been against #5 Missouri where Bello finished with 13 points and 6 rebounds while playing 22 minutes, his longest game action of any game last year. With a number of returning guards and incoming freshmen, a playing time increase for Deuce is assumed but not guaranteed. If he can work his way to more minutes and more production, we might start to see some Youtube clips naming him the best college dunker as well.

Final Projection:
Even with three star forwards having left, Baylor returns one of the more talented rosters in the Big 12. Scott Drew has turned into a master recruiter, nabbing a top tier talent seemingly every year. With veterans at the guard positions and talent at the bigs, Baylor could again challenge for the conference title and a solid seed come tournament time. If the freshmen don’t contribute enough though, it may lead to an early exit as Jackson or Heslip are not quite at Kemba Walker territory just yet.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Pierre Jackson, Senior, Guard, 13.8 points per game
Brady Heslip, Junior, Guard, 10.2 points per game
Deuce Bello, Sophomore, Guard, 3.3 points per game
Ricardo Gathers, Freshman, Forward, DNP last season
Isaiah Austin, Freshman, Center, DNP last season

Madness 2013 NBA Draft Rankings:
#5 Isaiah Austin
#109 Pierre Jackson

Madness 2012 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#4 Isaiah Austin
#37 Ricardo Gathers
#72 L.J. Rose
#146 Chad Rykhoek