#25 Baylor Bears: College Basketball 111 in 111


Baylor cheerleaders

Welcome to The Sports Bank’s third annual college basketball season preview series.  Two years we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  Last year, we were slightly more aggressive and expanded to 111 teams in 111 days and will do so again as we look ahead to the 2012-2013 season.

We will rank the 75 power conference teams and top 36 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

The past few years, the Baylor Bears have relied on their lengthy, athletic frontcourt.  Scott Drew loses his entire starting frontcourt including three of their top four scorers meaning the guard play will be relied on to lead the way this season.

Last Season: T-3rd, 12-6 in Big 12, 30-8 overall
Predicted Big 12 Finish: 2nd

Projected Depth Chart
C: Isaiah Austin (Fr)/J’mison Morgan (Sr)
PF: Cory Jefferson (Sr)/Rico Gathers (Fr)/Chad Rykhoek (Fr)
SG: Brady Heslip (Jr)/Deuce Bello (So)/Taurean Prince (Fr)
G: A.J. Walton (Sr)/Gary Franklin (Jr)
PG: Pierre Jackson (Sr)/L.J. Rose (Fr)

Gone: F-Perry Jones III, F/C-Quincy Acy, SF-Quincy Miller, F-Anthony Jones, F-Fred Ellis

2012-2013 Outlook:
Dynamic point guard Pierre Jackson will be the go-to option.  After transferring in from a junior college, he led Baylor averaging almost 14 point, 6 assists per game last season and shot 41% from distance.  He was chosen as the Big 12’s Preseason Player of the Year and doesn’t let his 5’10 height stand in the way of his aggressive attacking style on both ends of the floor.

Based on their first exhibition game, Drew will likely switch to a three-guard starting line-up that will feature Brady Heslip and A.J. Walton.  Heslip is one of the nation’s top three-point shooters, connecting on 45.5% of his triple tries a year ago.  Walton is a glue guy-type of player who doesn’t excel in any particular area but is versatile and plays hard on the defensive end.  The biggest question I have is how this three-guard line-up will affect Baylor’s defense since they played a lot of 2-3 zone in recent years due to the terrific length of their frontcourt.  Expect to see a lot more man-to-man this season.

Gary Franklin and freshman point guard L.J. Rose provide quality depth in the backcourt.  Franklin is another three-point threat while Rose is a pure point guard who will be the floor general of the future in Waco.  Crazy athletic wing Deuce Bello will allow Drew to use a longer line-up as he should play a more prominent role this season.  A late signee to the 2012 class, former Long Island commit Taurean Green probably won’t factor into the rotation.

Even though Baylor loses their top four frontcourt options from last season, the cupboard is far from bare.  Drew brings in a top ten recruit in 7’1 Isaiah Austin who is true rim protector and great athlete but at 220 pounds, is not at all a physical presence.  That is where J’mison Morgan comes into play.  With all the depth up-front last year, Morgan redshirted since he probably wouldn’t have seen the floor much.  He is 275 pounds and will add some physicality behind Austin.

Cory Jefferson will step into the starting power forward role after playing just ten minutes per game a year ago.  He will be pushed by former St. John’s commit Rico Gathers who isn’t afraid to throw his 260 pound body around inside.  6-11 Chad Rykhoek adds even more size upfront but doesn’t figure to be a contributor this year.

Player to Watch: Isaiah Austin
Austin is expected to be one of biggest impact freshmen in the country this season.  He’s not a prototypical big man in that he handles the ball well for his size and cause mismatches on the perimeter and in the paint.  Where he needs to make his presence felt most is on the glass and protecting the rim as a shotblocker.

Key Non-Conference Games:
11/9 vs. Lehigh
11/15 vs, Boston College (Charleston Classic)
11/16 vs, Colorado/Dayton (Charleston Classic)
11/18 vs, St. John’s/Charleston/Murray State/Auburn (Charleston Classic)
12/1 at Kentucky
12/4 vs. Northwestern
12/21 vs. BYU
12/28 at Gonzaga

OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#26 Wisconsin Badgers
#27 Tennessee Volunteers
#28 Pitt Panthers
#29 New Mexico Lobos
#30 St. Mary’s Gaels
#31 Georgetown Hoyas
#32 North Texas Mean Green
#33 Ohio Bobcats
#34 Texas Longhorns
#35 Miami Hurricanes
#36 Purdue Boilermakers
#37 Alabama Crimson Tide
#38 St. Joseph’s Hawks
#39 Murray State Racers
#40 VCU Rams
#41 Davidson Wildcats
#42 Stanford Cardinal
#43 UMass Minutemen
#44 St. John’s Red Storm
#45 Butler Bulldogs
#46 Florida State Seminoles
#47 Drexel Dragons
#48 St. Louis Billikens
#49 West Virginia Mountaineers
#50 BYU Cougars
#51 Temple Owls
#52 Washington Huskies
#53 California Golden Bears
#54 Kansas State Wildcats
#55 Nevada Wolfpack
#56 Colorado Buffaloes
#57 Iowa State Cyclones
#58 Northern Iowa Panthers
#59 Colorado State Rams
#60 Iowa Hawkeyes
#61 South Florida Bulls
#62 Valparaiso Crusaders
#63 Illinois Fighting Illini
#64 Arkansas Razorbacks
#65 Wichita State Shockers
#66 George Mason Patriots
#67 Virginia Cavaliers
#68 Villanova Wildcats
#69 Maryland Terrapins
#70 Marshall Thundering Herd
#71 Iona Gaels
#72 Northwestern Wildcats
#73 Oklahoms State Cowboys
#74 Rutgers Scarlet Knights
#75 USC Trojans
#76 UConn Huskies
#77 Harvard Crimson
#78 Xavier Musketeers
#79 Ole Miss Rebels
#80 Clemson Tigers
#81 Oregon State Beavers
#82 Texas A&M Aggies
#83 Providence Friars
#84 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
#85 Oklahoma Sooners
#86 Lehigh Mountain Hawks
#87 Washington State Cougars
#88 Long Beach State 49ers
#89 Belmont Bruins
#90 Vanderbilt Commodores
#91 Dayton Flyers
#92 Houston Cougars
#93 UCF Knights
#94 Old Dominion Monarchs
#95 Oregon Ducks
#96 LSU Tigers
#97 South Carolina Gamecocks
#98 Seton Hall Pirates
#99 Georgia Bulldogs
#100 DePaul Blue Demons
#101 Boston College Eagles
#102 Penn State Nittany Lions
#103 Arizona State Sun Devils
#104 Virginia Tech Hokies
#105 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#108 TCU Horned Frogs
#109 Mississippi State Bulldogs
#110 Utah Utes
#111 Nebraska Cornhuskers

David Kay is a senior feature NBA DraftNBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)

You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.

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