2008 Baylor Bears Basketball Preview
Last season, the Baylor Bears (21-11 overall, 9-7 Big 12) turned their five-year tailspin into their first winning season since 2001-2002 and a NCAA invite. The last time the Bears went to the Big Dance was 1988. There’s more good news—head coach Scott Drew sees his top five scorers return. This team will be explosive, especially when it comes to the backcourt.
Inside, there’s hope that junior transfer Artem Valov and freshman Anthony Jones can score some points, helping out senior forward Kevin Rogers (29.4 MPG, 12.3 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 0.7 APG, 50.7 FG%, 77.1 FT%). Valov has fine scoring chops around the hoop, while Jones, a top-50 recruit, can score inside or from downtown. Mamadou Diene (16.5 MPG, 3.4 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 0.2 APG, 67.4 FG%, 66.7 FT%) and Josh Lomers ((12.3 MPG, 3.7 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 0.1 APG, 61.1 FG%, 62.2 FT%), both seven-footers, offer much needed rebounding strength.
The Baylor backcourt is deep, versatile and skilled. Senior guard Curtis Jerrells (31.2 MPG, 15.3 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 3.8 APG, 42.6 FG%, 75.0 FT%) has been starting since he was a freshman. He drives to the basket with power and has the athleticism to finish the play and draw the foul. His 33.3% three-point success rate could be better. Senior guard Henry Dugat (27.4 MPG, 12.2 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 0.8 APG, 45.1 FG%, 83.7 FT%) is quick and smart. Last season, he had 46 steals and hit his three-pointers 39% of the time. Junior Tweety Carter (25.8 MPG, 9.6 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 2.8 APG, 42.6 FG%, 73.8 FT%) and sophomore LaceDarius Dunn (22.0 MPG, 13.6 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 0.8 APG, 45.1 FG%, 83.7 FT%) will come off the bench and score points while playing quality minutes.
The Bears have the talent, experience and skill to get back to
the NCAA Tournament once again and to do better than their one-and-done
performance in 2008. The offense is one of the finest in the conference
but the defense needs to step up in order for this team to excel
in the post-season.