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Life After Bello

What does Deuce Bello's transfer mean for the 2013-2014 Baylor Bears Men's basketball team?


Deuce Bello's amicable transfer means one thing above everything else: we're in the top tier of basketball schools. I'd argue that his decision to transfer is more telling than even two Elite 8's and an NIT Championship in four years. Why? We have talent, lots of it and it continues to come in waves.

If in 2008 (or prior) someone told you that a nationally heralded four star recruit was transferring out of Baylor you might have panicked. Yesterday, no one was panicking.

We will miss Deuce Bello's defense, yes. We will even miss the childish excitement we had when one of his thunderous dunks destroyed the rim. But Baylor will not struggle to replace him (nor his random fouling at unnecessary times).

Want more proof? Though we are now back down to the NCAA mandated number of scholarships, there is even more talent potentially waiting in the wings. Whether it be point guard Michael Dixon or forward Royce O'Neale, either would also help bolster the roster while forcing someone out of the picture. If we wind up landing Dixon, don't be surprised to see us jump Oklahoma State in many Big 12 projections and stay ahead of Kansas despite Bill Self landing Andrew Wiggins. Admittedly, it would be strange for me to see Dixon in green and gold, but I'll enjoy watching us make a fantastic run nonetheless.

If Dixon or O'Neale come to Waco, it probably indicates that 2013 signee Dominic Woodson is going to have trouble qualifying academically. If they both come, things might get interesting.

Aside from this talk of being an "elite" basketball program, there are some tangible things this means for the 2013-2014 Bears - namely that newcomer Ishmail Wainright and sophomore Taurean Prince will be a fantastic rotation at small forward. By all accounts Wainwright should be our most college-ready freshman, and with Bello gone any doubt about his immediate contribution in the rotation should be put to rest.

As it stands right now (assuming we don't land Dixon or O'Neale) - my first crack at a starting five:

Kenny Chery
Brady Heslip
Taurean Prince
Isaiah Austin
Cory Jefferson

Others who will see minutes include:

LJ Rose
Gary Franklin
Allerik Freeman
Ishmail Wainright
Rico Gathers

That's 10 deep. TEN. And after watching more tape on Freeman over the past couple of days (more than just his highlight reel - the worst indicator of actual ability in any player) I'm really excited about his potential to be not just instant offense, but great hands defensively. Freeman appears to have high basketball IQ which has not always been a staple of Scott Drew guards.

I also expect Rose to be much improved after a season of adjusting to the speed of college basketball and I think that Prince's starting role will be one where though he starts, his minutes will be distributed more evenly compared to the other starters. Feel free to disagree, but I think that starting five provides a solid start to most every game.

What do you think? Am I way off with the starting five? Do you think I'm crazy for calling us top tier? I'm all ears (or eyes, cause this is … you know … a blog).What does Deuce Bello's transfer mean for the 2013-2014 Baylor Bears Men's basketball team?