FanPost

Baylor Men's Basketball 2013-2014: A Comprehensive Preview (Roster)

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Basketball season is just around the corner. I know it because I'm now a graduate student up at KU. Baylor fans might be less aware, and understandably so. Baylor football is tearing through its schedule in spectacular fashion, climbing to an unprecedented #6 ranking in the BCS. If it all turns out to be a dream, I never want to wake up.

Baylor men's basketball team deserves a little love, though. Scott Drew's Bears are an intriguing blend of young talent and senior experience. For every known there is an unknown. This team could be the most balanced of the Scott Drew era since the first Elite Eight squad back in 2010 and the most talented since the other Elite Eight team in 2012. What I'm saying is, I'm really excited by this team. I see great potential to make a deep tournament run, and I'm not talking about the NIT.

I want to create a nearly comprehensive preview, looking at individual players, line-up possibilities, the season outlook, the strong schedule, and the crisp new uniforms. I will do what I can to break it into manageable chunks for you to consume at your leisure. Let's get to it!

Last Season

The 2012-2013 version of Baylor basketball was a frustrating experience. Coming off an Elite Eight loss to the eventual national champion Kentucky Unibrows Wildcats, Pierre Jackson was the pre-season Big 12 player of the year, and Baylor was a candidate to break KU's nearly decade long streak of league titles. Neither of those things happened. Baylor didn't even reach the NCAA Tournament. There were disappointing losses (College of Charleston) and heartbreaking losses (K-State in Waco). It wasn't all bad, though. Pierre Jackson became the first player to lead a power conference in points and assists since Jason Terry for Arizona in 1998-99. The Bears clobbered an Elite Eight KU squad in Waco in the final game of the season, springing itself to an eventual NIT title, the first in the school's history. Perhaps it was a disappointing season when stacked against the preseason expectations, but a lot of schools wish they could have had the season Baylor had in 2012-2013 (see Wildcats, Kentucky).

The Roster:

Baylor has a blend of old and new faces, and every one of them is excited for the season! But what do we really know about this team as it is currently constructed? We'll look at each player on the roster this season, recalling who they've been, who they are now, and who they should aspire to be in the future. Keep in mind, I don't expect these "heroes" to be realistic projections of the players' careers. These heroes are meant to highlight the strengths of each player and point out ways these strengths can be utilized or improved. We'll start with the returning players, then move on to the lesser known commodities.

Isaiah "Don't Call Me Skinny" Austin (SO.)

The Measurables:

Height 7-1
Weight 225

The Stats:

Season School Conf G MP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% FT FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
2012-13 Baylor Big 12 35 1046 181 394 .459 30 90 .333 64 101 .634 88 204 292 39 12 58 65 81 456
Career Baylor 35 1046 181 394 .459 30 90 .333 64 101 .634 88 204 292 39 12 58 65 81 456

Provided by Sports-Reference.com/CBB: View Original Table
Generated 11/2/2013.

Who He's Been:

Perhaps no player better represents Baylor's 2012 season than Austin. He came into Baylor last season as the #3 ranked recruit according to ESPN and a potential NBA lottery pick. Expectations were high, and results were mixed. While he shot a respectable 33% from beyond the arc, Austin did not possess a very versatile skill set on the offensive end. His slight frame allowed bigger defenders to bully him away from the basket, and Austin's moves from the post were frustratingly predictable. At the start of the season Austin shot exclusively over his right shoulder whether on a hook shot or spinning away from contact to the jumper. Once conference play began, he switched shoulders, perhaps because of the shoulder injury that lingered throughout the season. He rarely mixed up his moves. His passing was decent, with 1.1 assists per game. If he can continue to find teammates as they cut to the basket or scoot around the perimeter, Baylor's offense could become lethal.

Who He is Now:

I'll let the be-goggled big man tell you himself:

"People say I'm not tough, but what people don't realize is that I was the team leader in rebounds," Austin said. "But I'm going to be a different player this season. Way better -- because of my mindset."

- espn.com

Sounds good to me. Austin was only a freshman last year. With a year under his belt, hopefully he will continue to be an aggressive offensive player and increase his rebounding production. Scott Drew big men, fairly or unfairly, tend to be labelled as "soft" (see Jones, Perry). Austin thinks he can shed that label so easily hoisted on young, thin players. But how do we know he's going to be tougher? Mindset is one thing. How about something a bit more tangible.

Austin came into college weighing 208 pounds and said he is now approaching 225.

- espn.com

Sounds even better! That extra weight should allow him to hold his position in the post on both offense and defense. If he turns over both of his shoulders this season, just imagine what he could do!

Who Should His Hero Be?

Kevin Garnett. I know it's been a long time, but when Garnett entered the NBA out of high school, he was a rail-thin 18-year-old. He had an edge to him, though, and that edge morphed him into one of the meanest sons-of-a-biscuit that the league has seen since the mid-90s. Garnett possesses a lethal bank shot 15 feet away from the basket, is a force in the low post, and was the defensive anchor for a Boston team that went to the NBA championship two-out-of-three years. That's a lot a hyphens! If Austin really does want to bring a tough mindset to this year's Baylor team while making use of his shooting touch and defensive ability, he won't find a better role model than Kevin Garnett.

Cory "Two Sleeves" Jefferson (RSSR.)

The Measurables:

Height 6-9
Weight 220

The Stats:

Season School Conf G MP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% FT FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
2009-10 Baylor Big 12 21 97 9 23 .391 0 1 .000 9 13 .692 12 13 25 0 2 4 5 13 27
2011-12 Baylor Big 12 34 357 47 90 .522 0 2 .000 27 45 .600 25 65 90 3 8 42 15 45 121
2012-13 Baylor Big 12 37 1032 191 313 .610 3 9 .333 107 152 .704 99 196 295 11 17 71 30 85 492
Career Baylor 92 1486 247 426 .580 3 12 .250 143 210 .681 136 274 410 14 27 117 50 143 640

Provided by Sports-Reference.com/CBB: View Original Table
Generated 11/2/2013.

Who he's been:

We're all familiar with Jefferson's story by now, so there's no need to rehash it in detail here. Suffice it to say that Jefferson put the big boost in minutes to good use. In his first season as a starter, he quickly caught the eyes of scouts and media across the country. He took over Quincy Acy's vacant role as the Rim Destroyer, even bringing along a signature goatee as a spiritual successor to Acy's intimidating beard. Jefferson was more than just a pick-and-roll rim finisher, though. He has an impressively consistent 18-foot jumper that allows him to stretch the defense and create space on the offensive edge. He even popped out for the occasional three toward the end of the season, when he brought the crowd to a near-destructive frenzy in the finale against KU. He has great bounce, which he uses to snag tough boards and block shots. If his game lacks anything, it is passing. If he can begin to identify cutters and open shooters from the high-post, look out. That may sound similar to what I said for Austin. I'll make clear the distinctions between the two when I delve into potential line-ups.

Who He is Now:

Jefferson spent a good portion of his summer in international play, competing in the World University Games in Russia representing the USA. He averaged 10.5 points and 9 rebounds on 68% FG, along with 9 blocks in 8 games. If he can continue to improve his already efficient game, he will be tough for the rest of the Big 12 to handle and could be the key to Baylor's success next season. Just ask Chris Johnson of SI.com:

Without a strong season from Jefferson, Baylor will be good. With the aggressive, locked-in, mentally-sharpened Jefferson that emerged last March playing his best basketball on both ends of the floor, the Bears' trajectory is much more promising.

Who Should His Hero Be?

Chris Bosh. Sure, Bosh plays for the most hated team in the league, but that doesn't mean he's not a great role model for Jefferson. Bosh has one of the league's best 18-footers right now, occasionally stretches out to the 3-point line, and plays solid defense in a unique Miami defensive system. Maybe Jefferson's ceiling is a bit lower than Bosh's -- Bosh was the #4 pick in one of the all-time great drafts in NBA history, while Jefferson will likely be a late-first round pick -- but if he can continue to improve his skills along the same lines as the Human Meme, Baylor would be better off for it. Having a big who can operate in the high-post efficiently will be a huge boon to his teammates as they cut to the basket.

Brady "Three-Goggles" Heslip (SR.)

The Measurables:

Height 6-2
Weight 180

The Stats:

Season School Conf G MP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% FT FTA FT% TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
2011-12 Baylor Big 12 38 27.1 3.3 7.3 .455 2.6 5.8 .455 0.9 1.0 .921 1.3 1.0 0.6 0.0 0.4 1.4 10.2
2012-13 Baylor Big 12 36 26.3 2.8 7.1 .389 2.3 6.0 .386 0.7 0.9 .758 1.4 0.9 0.5 0.0 0.3 1.1 8.6
Career Baylor 74 26.7 3.1 7.2 .423 2.5 5.9 .421 0.8 1.0 .845 1.4 0.9 0.6 0.0 0.4 1.2 9.4
Provided by Sports-Reference.com/CBB: View Original Table
Generated 11/4/2013.

Who He's Been:

We all remember that NCAA Tournament game against Colorado when Heslip wore the three goggles all game long, going 9-12 from downtown. Brady shot an incredible 45% from 3 that season. The next? A paltry 39%. Wait, what's that you say, KenPom? We should all get off of Heslip's back because 39% is still far above average? You're way smarter than me, so I'll assume you're right. Heslip did have a tougher time last season, though. Defenders hugged him tight around screens all across the floor and closed out hard whenever the ball found him. His low number of free throws per game might indicate he should have put the ball on the floor to draw the foul from the onrushing defender. I don't even want to talk about his defense. Let's just say he was no Aaron Craft.

Who He is Now:

Brady got lots of experience this summer abroad. He played lots and lots of minutes for the Canadian National Team in both FIBA and the World University Games. ESPN's Andy Katz wrote up a pretty nice piece on Heslip's international experience. Thanks, Andy! Remember when I said Heslip should have drawn more fouls? Maybe this newly implemented hand-check rule will help Heslip get to the line more frequently. If you saw Baylor's video from Big 12 Media Day, you know that Brady thinks so, too. The new rule should also force defenders to play a bit farther off shooters. Hopefully that will happen for Heslip. I've also heard rumors he increased his lateral quickness, so maybe his defense will improve this year, although any improvement might be offset by the rule changes.

Who Should His Hero Be?

While it's tempting to go with the cross-racial comparison in Ray Allen, Heslip should be looking to one of the new arrivals to LA, and I'm not talking about Jordan Farmar. J.J. Redick has been running off screens since he played for the offensive juggernaut that was the 2009 Orlando Magic. Even in his brief stint with the Bucks last season Redick managed to be an effective deep shooter while playing with two other ball-dominant guards. Redick has an immense amount of stamina that allows him to run back and forth through screens to find open looks. Like Heslip, Redick was a negative defender in his early years. He has steadily improved each season and is now at least league average. If Heslip can continue to improve his foot speed and endurance, he will be well on his way to being an elite collegiate shooter. Just please, Heslip, turn a blind eye to Jimmer Fredette.

Gary "Solid Senior" Franklin (SR.)

The Measurables:

Height 6-2
Weight 190

The Stats:

Season School Conf G MP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% FT FTA FT% TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
2010-11 California Pac-10 13 25.7 2.7 9.1 .297 1.8 6.3 .293 0.9 2.1 .444 1.1 2.0 0.6 0.1 2.1 1.4 8.2
2011-12 Baylor Big 12 27 10.2 0.7 2.3 .306 0.7 2.0 .333 0.0 0.1 .000 0.6 1.0 0.1 0.0 0.6 1.3 2.1
2012-13 Baylor Big 12 37 18.0 1.2 3.3 .364 0.9 2.6 .358 0.7 0.9 .813 0.9 1.1 0.6 0.0 0.6 1.3 4.0
Career Overall 77 16.6 1.3 3.9 .326 1.0 3.0 .329 0.5 0.8 .623 0.8 1.2 0.4 0.0 0.8 1.3 4.0
California 13 25.7 2.7 9.1 .297 1.8 6.3 .293 0.9 2.1 .444 1.1 2.0 0.6 0.1 2.1 1.4 8.2
Baylor 64 14.7 1.0 2.9 .344 0.8 2.3 .349 0.4 0.5 .765 0.8 1.1 0.4 0.0 0.6 1.3 3.2
Provided by Sports-Reference.com/CBB: View Original Table
Generated 11/4/2013.

Who he's been:

So, the stats don't really stand out. I checked the advanced stats, hoping to find something positive, and those are just as mediocre. The whole season last year I felt like Franklin was outplaying Heslip, but I have no proof to bear that out. He was worse than Heslip in almost every category. My confidence in him appears to be indefensible. He's been a mostly reliable defender, made good passes, and hit the occasional three. He's just done all of those things less than I seem to have imagined.

Who he is now:

Franklin has improved every season. This progression will likely culminate in his being an average contributor off the bench in his senior season, and there's nothing wrong with that. He provides Scott Drew with a reliable guard off the bench in case of foul trouble, and he can spot Heslip a few minutes here and there without too much drop off. Long live the solid senior guard.

Who should his hero be?

Andre Miller. Miller has never been on an NBA all-star team, and it's doubtful that Franklin will end up on anyone's postseason awards short lists. Nevertheless, the Professor has made a long NBA career out of steady play, the occasional three, and lobbing the ball up to the big boys. What more could you want out a your senior guard? Miller plays solid defense, spaces the floor, makes the right passes, and does all the little things to make life easier for his teammates. Franklin should be able to do the same thing for his fellow Bears. Who knows? Maybe Franklin will even surprise us with a spectacular postseason game.

Rico "Never Played Football" Gathers (SO.)

The Measurables:

Height 6-8
Weight 270

The Stats:

Season School Conf G MP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% FT FTA FT% TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
2012-13 Baylor Big 12 37 16.7 2.2 4.3 .525 0.0 0.0 1.2 2.4 .506 5.7 0.2 0.4 0.5 0.9 2.1 5.7
Career Baylor 37 16.7 2.2 4.3 .525 0.0 0.0 1.2 2.4 .506 5.7 0.2 0.4 0.5 0.9 2.1 5.7
Provided by Sports-Reference.com/CBB: View Original Table
Generated 11/4/2013.

Who he's been:

I'm sorry it took me this long to get to him. I know he's your favorite. He's everyone's favorite. I mean, just look at him! Wait, I seem to have confused him with a golem. Here, this this him. Sure, his rebound numbers in the stat line above don't look impressive at first, but if you look deeper, things become frightening. Gathers had a defensive rebounding percentage of 21.3%, third on the team and highest of anyone who played significant minutes throughout the season. That number also put Gathers at fifth in the Big 12 of players who clocked over 600 minutes in the season (Baylor had three in the top ten)! Oh, and he led the team and the conference in offensive rebounding percentage at 16.4%, coming sixth in the nation among players who had over 600 minutes! Gathers also sports the funkiest/most shockingly effective free throw form you'll ever see. Sure, he's basically at 50%, but have you seen his form? It should be way lower! This guy is energy embodied, and that embodiment can smash through a brick wall. Did you know he never played football? I think commentators only mentioned that once or twice last season. Gotta make sure you're up-to-date.

Who he is now:

Harder. Better. Faster. Stronger. Kanye is a modern day prophet, and he foresaw a future in which Gathers would become the most powerful player to walk onto the collegiate hardwood. Gathers is the first big off the bench. When he comes in, you know he is bringing the energy and the effort. Can Gathers refine his offensive game? Can he use those big mitts to finish at the rim as effectively as he grabs the ball of the board? Does he even need to do any of that? It would sure be nice. Gathers can also improve as a defender, both on the ball and from the weak side. He's dedicated to selling his body to take the charge. If he can improve his recognition and reaction time, he could become an effective wall off which opposing point guards will bounce.

Who should his hero be?

Glen Davis. I'm not calling Gathers any names, but if he can become the next Big Baby, Baylor will possess one of the best big men off the bench in the Big 12. Glen Davis was an important part of the 2008 Celtic's title run, coming off the bench to spot Kendrick Perkins -- then still considered to be a good basketball player. He has been a solid fixture in Orlando for the past few seasons, providing a physical presence beneath the rim who can bang bodies with players several inches taller. Davis and Gathers are both undersized for their position and skill set, but their impressive physiques and excellent timing on the rebound allow them to compete at a high level.

Taurean "Give Me the Rock" Waller-Prince (SO.)

The Measurables:

Height 6-7
Weight 210

The Stats:

Season School Conf G MP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% FT FTA FT% TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
2012-13 Baylor Big 12 24 6.4 1.5 2.5 .583 0.1 0.3 .333 0.7 0.9 .727 2.2 0.1 0.4 0.1 0.5 1.5 3.7
Career Baylor 24 6.4 1.5 2.5 .583 0.1 0.3 .333 0.7 0.9 .727 2.2 0.1 0.4 0.1 0.5 1.5 3.7
Provided by Sports-Reference.com/CBB: View Original Table
Generated 11/4/2013.

Who he's been:

Waller-Prince, who appears to be going by his full name now, didn't get much run to start the season. Once Baylor got a little ways into conference play, though, Scott Drew slotted in the high energy wing. And when he was on the floor? Boy did he fly all over the place. He only played 154 minutes last season, but when he was out there, he his usage rate was 26.6%, meaning he ended 26.6% of Baylor's possessions with either a shot, free throw, or turnover when he was on the floor. That rate was second only to Pierre Jackson (29.5%) and just above Austin (24.1%). That is one aggressive, confident kid right there. He shot a surprisingly high FG% for such a high usage rate and showed versatility in doing it. He has some midrange, he dives to the rim on and off the ball, and he hit the occasional 3. Waller-Prince, like Gathers, was also active on both ends of the floor rebounding. He was a turnstile at times on defense and tended to reach with his hands too much because he was out of position. Everyone's got something to work on, though.

Who he is now:

I see huge sixth-man potential here. Hold on, did you say something, Jason King of ESPN?

Go on...

That answered my question exactly! Minutes might be tough to find in Baylor's front court this season, but can you keep a guy with his natural scoring ability and energy on the bench? If Scott Drew doesn't give him minutes early in the season, expect me to become very disgruntled.

Who should his hero be?

Tayshaun Prince. As far as I know, these two are not related. Tayshaun Prince is part of the old guard now, but he was a starter on the 2004 Detroit Pistons championship team, contributing everywhere on the floor. Prince the Elder used his long arms and athleticism to be disruptive on the defensive end, forcing turnovers and generating fast break opportunities for his teammates. He worked great off the ball with relentless energy, driving to the rim and crashing the offensive glass. Even now with most of his athleticism sapped by age, he is a reliable wing defender off the bench for one of the NBA's stingiest defenses in the Memphis Grizzlies. Prince the Elder was a hero in Detroit, and Prince-Waller the Younger can be the same in Waco. Give that kid the rock and let him go to work.

Logan "GPA" Lowery (JR.)

The Measurables:

Height 6-6
Weight 190

The Stats:

Season School Conf G MP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% FT FTA FT% TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
2010-11 Centenary (LA) Summit 30 20.2 2.6 6.2 .416 0.7 1.9 .357 1.1 1.5 .727 2.2 0.8 0.6 0.3 1.7 1.8 6.9
2012-13 Baylor Big 12 12 3.3 0.3 0.6 .571 0.1 0.1 1.000 0.1 0.1 1.000 0.8 0.2 0.0 0.1 0.0 0.3 0.8
Career Overall 42 15.4 1.9 4.6 .422 0.5 1.4 .368 0.8 1.1 .733 1.8 0.6 0.4 0.2 1.2 1.4 5.1
Centenary (LA) 30 20.2 2.6 6.2 .416 0.7 1.9 .357 1.1 1.5 .727 2.2 0.8 0.6 0.3 1.7 1.8 6.9
Baylor 12 3.3 0.3 0.6 .571 0.1 0.1 1.000 0.1 0.1 1.000 0.8 0.2 0.0 0.1 0.0 0.3 0.8
Provided by Sports-Reference.com/CBB: View Original Table
Generated 11/4/2013.

Who he's been:

Lowery doesn't get a lot of points on the court, but man does he get them in the classroom! Here's his entire 2012-2013 season in one block quote from the Baylor Athletics page:

2012-13 (REDSHIRT SOPHOMORE, BAYLOR)
BIG 12 COMMISSIONER'S HONOR ROLL (FALL 2012, SPRING 2013)
DEAN'S LIST (FALL 2012, SPRING 2013)
Played in 12 games, averaging 0.8 points and 0.8 rebounds in 3.3 minutes per game ... Saw majority of action in 17 minutes of play vs. Hardin-Simmons (1/19), posted career highs with eight points, seven rebounds and two assists ... Played in five Big 12 games, but did not score in conference play ... Had two points and one rebound in NIT first-round win vs. Long Beach State (3/20).

Honor Roll! Dean's List!

Who he is now:

You can likely copy and paste that quote down here, change some dates and names, and no one would call you a liar.

Who should his hero be?

Baylor's own Jacob Neubert. Carry on that Baylor tradition.

Chad "Twitter Hero" Rykhoek (RSFR.)

The Measurables:

Height 6-11
Weight 230

The Stats:

He has no stats.

Who he's been:

He redshirted last season, so we don't really know much about him. But hey, check out his Charger Camero! (Sorry, Chad!)

Hey Chad, would you consider yourself famous?

Now THAT is humility.

Who he is now:

Will he be able to crack the lineup? That's difficult to say. Baylor has a lot of talent in the front court along with depth. He is very big, though, and being very big always gives you a good shot at getting on a basketball court. Rykhoek might find minutes in the waining minutes of blow out victories. If he's playing key minutes for the Bears this season, something has gone terribly wrong.

Who should his hero be?

Josh Lomers. The Big Asthmatic might be one of the most underrated Baylor big men of all time. In Baylor's 2010 Elite Eight run, they came up against a tough St. Mary's team in the Sweet Sixteen. Their star player had the word "beast" tattooed on the INSIDE of his lower lip. That's how tough they were. Lomers absolutely destroyed Mr. Beast on the defensive end, allowing Baylor to win handily on their way to the next round. Lomers had his share of highs and lows, though, and his bulky physique, slow feet, and asthma made him the butt of a lot of jokes among the Baylor student body. But he stuck through it all and won over our hearts in the end. I don't know if Rykhoek has asthma, but he would do well to follow the slow-plodding, steady pace of Lomers as he continues his time in the green and gold. Banging bodies with Austin, Jefferson, and Gathers should help him get there. (If Rykhoek were a player at KU Whithey would be the obvious hero. Came into KU with zero expectations, practiced against several classes of NBA caliber big men, and became a proficient defender with soft touch around the rim by his own senior year. If Scott Drew had Bill Self's big man development ability, I would almost call this a lock for Rykhoek.)

Royce "Put Me in, Coach" O'Neale (JR.)

The Measurables:

Height 6-6
Weight 220

The Stats:

Season School Conf G MP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% FT FTA FT% TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
2011-12 Denver Sun Belt 31 27.0 3.2 6.2 .510 0.9 2.4 .387 2.7 3.1 .865 5.8 2.1 1.4 0.4 2.1 2.6 9.9
2012-13 Denver WAC 32 35.2 3.5 8.0 .441 1.2 3.6 .333 2.9 3.8 .762 5.5 3.5 1.4 0.4 2.3 2.5 11.2
Career Denver 63 31.1 3.3 7.1 .471 1.1 3.0 .354 2.8 3.5 .807 5.7 2.8 1.4 0.4 2.2 2.6 10.6
Provided by Sports-Reference.com/CBB: View Original Table
Generated 11/4/2013.

Who he's been:

We're entering the lesser known players on Baylor's roster. I've never seen the rest of these guys play, so I'll be relying on bits of news from other sources. For O'Neale, we can start with the quote below:

In their final season as a member of the WAC the Denver Pioneers managed to win a share of the regular season conference title, with forwards Chris Udofia and Royce O'Neale and guards Chase Hallam and Brett Olson leading the way.

-College Basketball Talk

O'Neale comes to Baylor out of a winning situation, and that's always a good thing. Pierre Jackson had immediate success at Baylor in part because he had just come off winning the JUCO national title and expected to continue his winning ways. O'Neale should bring a beneficial attitude to the Bears alongside his basketball abilities. He's known for being a versatile wing player who can handle the ball a bit, rebound, distribute, and score.

Who he is now:

He's eligible!

O'Neale transferred to Baylor in order to be closer to his ailing grandfather, and honestly, doesn't that make you love him all the more? He's a Texas native who's come back home to be with his family in the tough times. That's the kind of guy I want on my team. Glad to hear the NCAA granted him immediate eligibility.

CBS Sports expects O'Neale to spend most of his time at guard, which is just find with me. Having some experience, reliability, and flexibility in the front court will allow Drew to mix up his line ups and be able to respond to a variety of tactics opposing coaches may throw at him. Fran Fraschilla, noted ESPN Baylor enthusiast for the last several seasons, has only good things to say about O'Neale:

A D-and-three guy would be greatly appreciated on the roster. He has the length to be disruptive, and if he can become a consistent outside threat -- he's already on his way -- then Baylor will have acquired a very valuable player. He adds depth to an already deep roster at the wing, which was a weak point last year for the Bears.

Those are three quality wings. We'll get to the last guy in a minute. First, let's think about who O'Neale should look to as a blueprint for developing his game.

Who should his hero be?

Bruce Bowen. I grew up a Dallas Mavericks fan. I hated Bowen. Now that he's retired and wearing silly bow-ties on Sportscenter, I have some more appreciation for him. Bowen was the most annoying piece of the Tim Duncan-Gregg Popovich era Spurs, which somehow is still going on. He was the premier wing defender of the league who could shut down the other team's best player and hit the occasional three. This type of player has become even more valuable in today's NBA, and with the NCAA affecting rule changes to make the college game more like the pros, the same should happen at the collegiate level. If you want a current player to look to, Taj Gibson of the Bulls would be another great hero. O'Neale could become one of those underrated role players who rarely gets the praise he deserves but who is integral to his team's success. The depth he adds could become tremendously valuable, especially given the rate at which fouls will be called with the new hand check rules.

Ish "Impact" Wainright (FR.)

The Measurables:

Height 6-5
Weight 245

The Stats:

I tried. I couldn't find them for his senior year. The scouting sites to which I subscribe didn't list any. My bad. His junior year stat line was 8 points, 8.2 assists, and 4.4 rebounds per game. That info comes via Bleacher Report. My hands cramped up for ten minutes just thinking about attributing any sort of credit to them.

Who he's been:

"I've been working non-stop every day," he (Wainright) explained. "Early in the morning, shooting five hundred shots a day, and that's before the day even starts. Staying after practice shooting thousands of shots so I feel more comfortable."

That quote comes from an excellent piece on Wainright by Mass Live. "Thousands" might be an exaggeration, but then again, maybe not. Wainright was known as a guy who did everything for his team on both ends of the floor. Another quote from the same piece:

"He plays on both ends of the floor. A lot of people don't see that, they just look at the box score ... they don't see the amount of time that he works defensively," said Montrose Christian (Md.) coach Stu Vetter.

It's true; Wainright's line (14 points and 10 rebounds) in a 63-51 loss to St. Benedict's Prep didn't show the impact he had defensively on the floor. But his opponent's box score might.

Who he is now:

Wainright, who was also offered by Ohio State, is the first player of this type to come to Baylor in a while. His athleticism and intelligence allow him to impact the game in almost every facet. He's a lock-down defender, a more than capable ball-handler, and excellent distributor, and a crafty scorer. He can play and defend multiple positions -- one of the above tweets from King noted he could play 1-3, but 247 scouting thinks he could even see time at the 4 now and then. He's an instant starter and is the type of player that makes everyone around him better. His on-court presence should be felt immediately. What is already noticeable, however, is the massive impact he has off the court. Just look at this video from Big 12 Media Day:

That video has a lot of stuff to break down. Heslip's thoughts on the rule change are dead on, Franklin's analysis of the front court is encouraging, Austin and Jefferson's confidence just what we need, and Wainright's personality is on full display. Even Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford loves him! Wainright is the glue guy this team was lacking last season. He's the Ahmad Dixon of basketball. He will be the face of the team for years to come if the NBA doesn't whisk him away too early. He is the sort of player who takes a team to the next level. His discipline, his personality, and his ability have already made him a leader on this team. If Baylor finds success this season, it will be because of what Wainright provides as a player and as a person. I am going to be the driver of the Wainright bandwagon, and I expect many, many people to join me as the season progresses. Fraschilla is already here with me in the passenger seat:

Honestly, it would take me a couple of thousand words to outline what Wainright really means to this team, but I'll spare you that for now. Just know he deserves almost every platitude you can think of. Once he's adjusted to the speed of the college game, and that might not take long, he will be a force felt throughout the Big 12. If he's is what I think he is, I want the ball in his hands when that clock ticks down at the end of games. He will bend defenses in ways no one else on the roster can, and he has the decision-making ability to take advantage of that.

Who should his hero be?

Andre Iguodala. What, you didn't think I would say LeBron James, did you? Wainright, while crafty, is not a true scorer just yet, and with all the weapons around him, he may never have to be. Iguadala was once thought to be the heir of the 76ers franchise after Allen Iverson. His offense never quite rose to that level, but by golly everything else was spectacular. Don't be fooled by his one NBA all-defensive team, Iguadala is a top three wing defender in the league right next to James and Tony Allen. He will shut down anyone you want him to. Iguadala slices and dices a defense with his ability to dash through the lane, creating scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates. He helped the Denver Nuggets claim a franchise high 57 wins last season and has been widely regarded as one of the best offseason acquisitions for a Warriors team poised to take the NBA by storm raining down threes from the perimeter and attacking the rack with Iguadala's unique offensive skill set. Wainwright has the potential to do the same thing in Waco. If he continues to work hard and push his teammates to achieve their potential, Wainright could have a similar impact to Iguadala's in Denver last season, where he improved the play of guys like JaVale McGee, Kenneth Faried, Ty Lawson, and Wilson Chandler. Now you tell me that Nuggets roster construction doesn't sound eerily similar to Baylor's.

Bonus: Here is one of Wainright's highlight reels. I see so much to love here.

Kenny "Next in Line" Chery (JR.)

The Measurables:

Height 5-11
Weight 180

The Stats:

And from the DMN:

Chery averaged 16.4 points and 3.7 assists last season at State Fair Community College in Missouri. He had 48 steals and shot 45 percent from 3-point range.

Get used to me not having great stat lines. It will only get harder from here on out.

Who he's been:

A quotation from Baylor's own student paper, the Lariat:

"The most important thing I feel I can add is leadership," Chery said. "Dedication, commitment, I'm going to bring it every day. For those who haven't seen me, I play fast. I really play defense for all 94 feet. I love to pass. I can score as well, but this summer was about getting comfortable playing with the guys."

That's encouraging. While not as highly touted as Pierre Jackson, who also came to Baylor as a junior JUCO transfer, Chery seems capable of bringing a similar skill set. Chery garnered offers from Arizona State, Georgia Tech, UCLA, and Valparaiso. That's right, Scott Drew out-recruited his brother the bring Chery to Waco. He seems to have been a well-thought-of JUCO point guard, and while there may be some growing pains adjusting to the higher level of competition, he could become a very capable starting point guard for the Bears.

Who he is now:

I already spoiled a little bit of what Fraschilla thinks of Chery's capabilities. If Fraschilla thinks Chery is capable of running an D1 offense, then I feel a little bit better about things. Then again, I've heard a rumor that six -- SIX -- different players have taken a turn at point guard this offseason. Who even makes that list? Chery, Heslip, Franklin, Wainright, O'Neale, and...Freeman? Maybe Drew has just been experimenting with this incredibly versatile team, but six different point guards is worrisome. Maybe it turns out to mean nothing, but you'll have to forgive me if I give pause before crowning Chery and the second coming of Pierre Jackson.

Who should his hero be?

Pierre Jackson circa 2011. When Jackson came to Waco, he was unproven, small, and ready to shoot his way into the hearts of Baylor fans everywhere. I know, this may not be the most creative choice, but it's honestly what I want Chery to emulate. Jackson was deadly from deep at the end of games, made the right passes, and snatched the ball away from unsuspecting opponents with his lightning quickness. He wasn't the focus of the team, and the season ended with Baylor in the Elite Eight. Jackson's second season, when he was the leader of the team and the focus of the offense, failed to reach the Big Dance and lost several games they had no business losing. Chery doesn't need to come out swinging. There is a lot of talent on this roster all over the floor. He needs to distribute, hit timely shots, and limit turnovers while pestering the opposing point guard. No hero ball necessary.

Allerick "Emergency" Freeman (FR.)

The Measurables:

Height 6-3
Weight 200

The Stats:

In a shocking turn of events, I could not find his senior year stat line, but neither could the recruiting gurus at 247, so I feel a bit better about myself. 247 listed some stats from the Peach Jam tournament, but they're a pay-site, and I wouldn't want to step on their toes. I love them too much. Just know that he has a little bit of range, but needs to work on his efficiency.

Who he's been:

Freeman is a competitor. He went up against Andrew Wiggins this past year, and while Wiggins out-played him, Freeman's team got the W. He was 7-9 from the field for 21 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 assists, shooting an excellent 5-7 from three. If you want any more info, head over to 247. Their preview is pretty spectacular, and I believe you can sign-up for free through November. Well worth it!

Who he is now:

He's an emergency guard. If he gets more than a few minutes here and there, something is very, very wrong. O'Neal's eligibility pushes Freeman further down the depth chart, which will probably be good for him. He needs to continue to refine his game -- ESPN describes him as a "downhill" wing player, which means he likes to charge down the lane likely with little idea of what he will do once he gets there. Being on the bench should keep Freeman's competitive juices flowing, and he should provide a steady challenge to the starters in practice.

Who should his hero be?

A.J. Walton circa 2009. Walton was a steady backup point guard for Tweety Carter on my favorite Baylor team to date. He didn't play many minutes, but the Arkansas product should flashes of promise, dishing out assists and slashing into the lane. When Walton took over the starting role the following season, however, things got ugly fast. Freeman doesn't need to do any more than Walton did in 2009. If he is given too big a role too quickly, it could be disastrous for the Bears' season. That being said, Once Jackson took over point guard duties and allowed Walton to become an off-ball playmaker, Baylor got back to the Elite Eight. Freeman likely has a higher ceiling than Walton, but it would be tough for him to surpass one of Baylor's all-time winningest players. If he can become a reliable off-ball creator and secondary ball-handler, Baylor will be in a good place for the next four years.

Johnathan "Four-Year" Motley (FR.)

The Measurables:

Height 6-9
Weight 210

The Stats:

I literally have no idea. Ok, that's not true, but again, all my info is coming from pay-sites I don't want to make angry. Motley averaged double digits in scoring and rebounding in his senior year. That's all I'll say.

Who he's been:

Motely is a high energy, under-sized power forward. Should sound familiar to Baylor fans. His high school team was very successful. He's described as a team-first player who doesn't pout even when he rarely gets the ball. He works hard to get rebounds and tries to dunk everything. This should sound really, really familiar.

Who he is now:

A red-shirt candidate. Motely is going to be buried on the bench this season. The front court is just too loaded for me to see him getting any minutes. Might as well save him a year of eligibility. He can spend the season practicing against future NBA players, adding pounds in the weight room, and being the Kent Bazemore of Baylor basketball.

Who should his hero be?

Cory Jefferson circa 2009-2011. You know by now that 2009 was my favorite Baylor team of all time. Why stop now? Jefferson spent 3 years (one of those redshirting) behind NBA talents Quincy Acy, Quincy Miller, and Perry Jones III. And then what happened? He exploded onto the college basketball seen in a big way. Motely is in nearly the exact same situation. If he is patient and diligent, his time will come.

John "Feel Good" Heard (SO.)

The Measurables:

Height 6-5
Weight 200

The Stats:

He has absolutely no stats, and that's why we love him.

Who he's been:

Last season, Heard was an assistant team manager. No, seriously, he spent last year fetching towels! (Sidebar, I have zero idea what freshman team managers do.)

Who he is now:

A warm body in practice and on the bench. He brings his rich experience as a manager to the team, a truly unique talent on this Baylor roster.

Who should his hero be?

Is it too soon to say his hero should be Logan Lowery? I think not.

Wrap-Up

Man, am I exhausted. If you made it this far with me, congratulations! You read through 6500+ words of amateur analysis! This team has the chance to be the greatest in the Scott Drew era. Can they be a successful blend of 2009 and 2011? Let's hope so! Now let's give a raucous Dr. Pepper toast to the 2013-2014 season! Take it away, Chad!

Fanposts on ODB are user-submitted and do not necessarily reflect the opinions/views of OurDailyBears.com, SB Nation.com, or any of the writers, editors, or contributors here.

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