#59 Baylor Men's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview

Baylor Bears

2014-2015 Overall Rank: #59
Conference Rank: #7 Big 12

Baylor Team Page#59 Baylor Men's Basketball 2014-2015 PreviewBuy Baylor Basketball Tickets

Baylor wants to reestablish themselves as a basketball powerhouse, and just making it to the NCAA’s won’t cut it for Scott Drew’s Bears. Losing many key players from last season makes it a challenge to compete in a loaded Big 12, but the team from Waco seems to always find a way to contend.  Here’s what you need to know about the new look Baylor Bears.

2013-2014 Record: 26-12, 9-9
2013-2014 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Scott Drew
Coach Record: 206-160 at Baylor, 226-171 overall

Who’s Out:
Their top two scorers, Cory Jefferson and Brady Heslip, along with Isiah Austin, will not be in a Baylor uniform this upcoming season. Jefferson led the team in points and rebounds and the loss of him is devastating to the Bears. Their other big man from last season, Isaiah Austin, will also not be back, as a Marfan syndrome diagnosis kept him from being drafted, and ended his basketball career. But even though he’ll never play on a basketball court again, he’ll get to coach on as he’ll serve as an assistant to Scott Drew this season. Their star three point shooter, Brady Heslip, graduated and will be missed after averaging 11-points per game last year.

Who’s In:
Baylor did not have a good recruiting year, as they didn’t even rank in the top-40 of ESPN.com’s Class Rankings. They landed 4-star recruit SG Kobe Eubanks, who is known for his consistency shooting the three. Scott Drew is hoping he can be as good as that other shooting guard named Kobe.  They also got a commit from 3-star Damiyne Durham, who is also a shooting guard. Junior college star Lester Medford is Waco bound after averaging 15.2 PPG at Indian Hills Community College last season.  They weren’t able to get any big power forward or center recruits after losing Jefferson and Austin, and that will really hurt the Bears down low.

Who to Watch:
Kenny Chery will be back for his senior season in Waco, after making a big impact for the Bears in his junior campaign. Averaging 11.5 PPG, and 4.7 APG, Chery led the Bears up top last season, and this time around, he will have to lead the whole team if Baylor wants to have a good year.  Look for junior Rico Gathers to replace Jefferson at the power forward position, and don’t be surprised if Royce O’Neale has a breakout year at small forward.  Taurean Prince is expected to replace Austin at center.

Final Projection:
The Bears have talent up top, but lack depth down low. It will be hard for the Bears to contend for a Big 12 title for that reason alone, and it will be a challenge to make the NCAA Tournament as well. Expect Baylor to sit on the bubble for the majority of this season, and if they want to be happy on Selection Sunday, they will need their experience players to step up. It will probably be an up-and-down year for the Bears, but if they can surprise us down low, they might get into the tourney and make a run.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT

Projected Starting Five:
Kenny Chery, Senior, Guard, 11.5 point per game
Kobe Eubanks, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
Royce O’Neale, Senior, Forward, 7.1 point per game
Rico Gathers, Junior, Forward, 6.8 points per game
Taurean Prince, Junior, Forward, 6.2 point per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 74.8 (68th in nation, 6th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 67.8 (114, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.5 (106, 5)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.6 (117, 6)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.4 (69, 4)
Three-Point Field Goal Percentage: 38.6 (30, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 68.1 (235, 8)
Rebound Margin: 6.7 (12, 3)
Assists Per Game: 14.8 (45, 4)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.6 (103, 5)


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