#58 Baylor Men's Basketball 2018-2019 Preview

Baylor Bears
2018-2019 Overall Rank: #58
Conference Rank: #8 Big 12
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Baylor fell short of the NCAA Tournament last season for the first time since 2013. Getting back to the Big Dance won’t come easy in 2018-19 either. The Bears’ top four scorers from last season are now departed and only four regular contributors have returned. Scott Drew could have a rebuild on his hands, especially in the always challenging Big 12. Baylor will have a lot of new additions playing major roles this season, so the possible outcomes for the Bears are wide-ranging.
2017-18 Record: 19-15, 8-10
2017-18 Postseason: NIT
Coach: Scott Drew
Coach Record: 298-194 at Baylor, 318-205 overall
Key Departed Players:
Manu Lecomte, Guard, 16.2 ppg
Jo Lual-Acuil, Center, 14.0 ppg
T.J. Maston, Forward, 11.4 ppg
Nuni Omot, Forward, 9.9 ppg
Tyson Jolly, Guard, 1.4 ppg
Key Returning Players:
King McClure, Senior, Guard, 8.1 ppg
Tristan Clark, Sophomore, Forward, 6.8 ppg
Mark Vital, Sophomore, Forward, 6.7 ppg

Jake Lindsey, Senior, Guard, 4.5 ppg

Key New Players:
Darius Allen, Junior, Guard, Junior College Transfer

Devonte Bandoo, Junior, Guard, Junior College Transfer
Jared Butler, Freshman, Guard
Freddie Gillespie, Junior, Forward, Division III Transfer
Mario Kegler, Sophomore, Forward, Transfer from Mississippi State
Makai Mason, Senior, Guard, Grad Transfer from Yale
Matthew Mayer, Freshman, Forward
Jackson Moffatt, Freshman, Guard
Flo Thamba, Forward, Freshman
King McClure is the top returning scorer after averaging 8.1 points per game as a junior. The Bears will hope McClure takes a step forward as a senior and becomes a reliable go-to scorer. Tristan Clark could see a breakout season after averaging 6.8 points and 4.5 rebounds in just 19.9 minutes per game as a freshman. Clark started 30 games last year and will see his playing time extended this season. Mark Vital is also in line for a spike in production after averaging 6.7 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists as a redshirt freshman. Jake Lindsey should be a steady hand at point guard in his senior season in 2018-19. However, those are the only four returning players for Baylor. The Bears will rely on five transfers and four freshmen to take on important roles in their first year playing for the program. Makai Mason and Mario Kegler should make the biggest impact among the transfers this season. Mason is a graduate transfer from Yale who averaged 16.0 points in 2015-16 and was the best player on the floor when Yale beat Baylor in the 2016 NCAA Tournament. However, injuries have kept Mason sidelined for the past two seasons, so it’s unknown just how productive he will be for the Bears this year. Kegler transferred after just one season at Mississippi State where he started 31 games and averaged 9.7 points and 5.5 rebounds. Kegler is a former four-star, top-60 recruit who Baylor hopes finds his full potential with the Bears. Baylor also has two four-star, top-100 freshmen joining the roster in Jared Butler and Matthew Mayer. Scott Drew has a lot of moving pieces to put together this season, but lack of talent won’t be the reason if the Bears struggle this season. Baylor’s range from best-case to worst-case scenarios is likely one of the widest ranges in the nation.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 75.6 (122nd in nation, 6th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 69.7 (102, 5)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.9 (59, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.5 (47, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.4 (289, 10)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.7 (138, 6)
Free-Throw Percentage: 73.4 (96, 4)
Rebound Margin: 6.0 (23, 2)
Assists Per Game: 15.2 (73, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.6 (249, 10)

Madness 2018 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#91 Matthew Mayer