#24 Baylor Men's Basketball 2013-2014 Preview

Baylor Bears

2013-2014 Overall Rank: #24
Conference Rank: #3 Big 12

Baylor Team Page#24 Baylor Men's Basketball 2013-2014 PreviewBuy Baylor Basketball Tickets

It was not the postseason tournament Baylor hoped for, but the Bears cruised through the NIT, beating the likes of Arizona State, Providence, BYU and Iowa en route to a title. Coach Scott Drew and company should be disappointed if they end up back in the NIT. In fact, Baylor has the talent to compete with Kansas and Oklahoma State, the prohibitive favorites, for a Big 12 title.

2012-13 Record: 23-14, 9-9
2012-13 Postseason: NIT
Coach: Scott Drew
Coach Record: 177-133 at Baylor, 197-144 overall

Who’s Out:
However, there are huge questions on the perimeter where the Bears must replace Pierre Jackson and A.J. Walton. Jackson was one of the elite point guards in the entire nation and averaged 19.8 points and 7.1 assists. Those numbers will not be replaced by a single player and even the entire team will struggle to replace the assist numbers. And Jackson’s leadership on the floor will be even more difficult to replicate. Walton did much of the dirty work on the perimeter and proved to be a capable secondary ball handler beside Jackson. Walton was not much of a shooter, but he could do quite a bit of scoring when he found the shots. L.J. Rose and Deuce Bello provided some depth for Baylor, but only averaged about ten minutes per game.

Who’s In:
It is too much to ask Kenny Chery to be the next Jackson, but that is where the expectations lie. Chery spent two years at State Fair Community College in Missouri and that experience will make the transition go smoothly. Like Jackson, Chery can do more than pass and he did average 16.4 points per game last season. But, the Bears have other scoring options and it will be much more important for Chery to keep his team under control. Allerik Freeman and Ish Wainwright are the two incoming freshmen expected to compete for quality minutes in 2013-2014. Freeman was once signed with UCLA and should be able to spark the offense off of the bench for now. Wainwright is a very interesting prospect. The 6-5, 240 pound wing can play just about anywhere on the floor. He has the ball handling skills of a guard and can throw his weight around in the paint. More importantly, he is a superb and versatile defender and that is what will earn him major minutes as a freshman. If Royce O’Neale is eligible this season after transferring in from Denver, the Bears will have even more talent to rotate on the wing. Last season he averaged 11.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists with the Pioneers. Walk-on John Heart, incoming freshman Johnathan Motley and redshirt freshman Chad Rykhoek will add depth in the frontcourt. Motley is a good athlete and Rykhoek added some strength last season.

Who to Watch:
The newcomers up front will not be needed this season thanks to the return of Isaiah Austin, Cory Jefferson, Rico Gathers and Taurean Prince. Austin, a 7-1 center, lived up to his hype as a freshman, averaging 13.0 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks. He is one of the best big men in the country and an All-American candidate. Like Austin, Jefferson told the NBA to wait. Jefferson added 13.3 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.9 blocks during his junior campaign and is only getting better after spending his summer representing the United States at the 2013 World University Games. Gathers, a 6-8 sophomore, can play at either forward spot. At 6-8 and 270 pounds, Coach Drew could start a huge frontcourt with Austin, Jefferson and Gathers. Prince averaged 3.7 points and 2.2 rebounds as a freshman and proved to be relatively reliable.

Final Projection:
Coach Drew is going to have versatile options at the forward positions, especially if O’Neale is eligible. But against certain competition the Bears will likely run another three guard lineup with Brady Heslip and Gary Franklin starting beside Chery. Heslip is the shooter on the team and most of his 8.6 points per game came from beyond the arc last season. Franklin has been a long time reserve, but he can score from anywhere on the floor and has valuable experience. No matter who emerges as regular starters, Coach Drew has options. The most important question is at the point. Baylor can ride Austin and Jefferson to the NCAA Tournament, but to win a Big 12 title and make a serious run in the NCAA Tournament, Chery is going to have to live up to his potential.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Kenny Chery, Junior, Guard, DNP last season
Brady Heslip, Senior, Guard, 8.6 points per game
Gary Franklin, Senior, Guard, 4.0 points per game
Cory Jefferson, Senior, Forward, 13.3 points per game
Isaiah Austin, Sophomore, Center, 13.0 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 76.0 (21st in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 66.4 (164, 7)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.0 (47, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.6 (73, 4)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.9 (93, 2)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.3 (100, 4)
Free-Throw Percentage: 69.2 (182, 6)
Rebound Margin: 2.4 (105, 4)
Assists Per Game: 15.9 (18, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.9 (63, 3)

Madness 2014 NBA Draft Rankings:
#34 Isaiah Austin
#49 Cory Jefferson

Madness 2013 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#59 Ishmail Wainright
#66 Dominic Woodson
#102 Johnathan Motley


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