CBB Summer Buzz: Baylor Bears
Behind a rising star and a pair of stud recruits, Baylor is poised for a rebound
Insider knows you're hot for hoops during the summer, so we're bringing you a closer look at a few of the big-profile schools before most freshmen have even moved into their dorms. We continue with Baylor.
Perry Jones arrived at Baylor as the No. 7-ranked recruit in the country, and the hype followed him: Kevin Garnett comparisons, chants of one-and-done and talk of a Big 12 title. But after the Bears lost five of their final six games and found themselves sitting at home during the 2011 NCAA tournament, a different type of hype followed him into the offseason: soft, passive and just not dominant.
"That's what the media wants me to live up to," said Jones, who had just two field goals in each of his last two games. "They say I wasn't dominant every game, so I've been working on that this summer. Trust me, I'll be dominant every time I step on the floor this season."
Scott Drew could sense trouble starting when not a single bench player scored in an ugly, 72-57 loss on Jan. 15 to an Iowa State team that finished .500. "We were one of the younger teams in the nation," said the ninth-year Baylor coach, whose lone senior was leading scorer LaceDarius Dunn. "We had a ton of talent, but people tend to forget experience still matters in college basketball."
This was evident in the play of A.J. Walton, who was thrust into the starting point guard role as a sophomore. His minutes per game jumped from 17.6 to 33.0, and Baylor turned the ball over at a higher rate (23.4 percent) than any major Division I squad other than South Florida. (Don't be too hard on Walton. His backup, true freshman Stargell Love, had a worse turnover rate in his 12 minutes per game and quickly transferred.)
But this talented group is now a year older, and none of them are more intent on getting redemption than Jones, who turned down the NBA to headline arguably the best frontcourt in the conference, if not all of college basketball. Quincy Acy and the Joneses (Anthony and Perry) were involved in 44.3 percent of Baylor's offense last season, according to Synergy Sports, and each scored on nearly 50 percent of their respective plays.
"No one liked the taste we had left in our mouths," Perry Jones says. "We're not messing around this summer."
To read the complete Summer Buzz preview on the Baylor Bears, which includes a look at the team's top incoming freshmen, you must be an ESPN Insider.
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