With the Baylor basketball season ending Saturday night against Gonzaga, fans will have to wait 8 more months to see the Bears return to hardwood. I think the Big 12 pundits will think twice before they rate the Bears so low again in the preseason, and with serval contributors returning, Baylor will look to compete for another NCAA tournament appearance. With several newcomers making a huge impact this year, the team should be even stronger with their continued player development.
It’s hard to find any kind of faults with a player who came up in the clutch so many times this year. If there were some room for improvement, I think a lot of that would be with consistency and defense. Butler has the size and athleticism to guard the best in the game, but there were times when he would let players get around him too easily, or go under screens on a hot shooter. When dialed in Butler has the ability and length to cause havoc on opponents. As far as his consistency throughout a game and season, I think that will fix itself. I expect Jared Butler to come back seasoned and confident in 2019-2020. Becoming a more complete player would not only benefit the Bears either, Jared Butler has the potential to make a lot of money playing the game basketball further down the road. He can be that good.
Battling his way through the rotation at the beginning of the year, Devonte Bandoo solidified himself and his role by the end of the season. Possessing one of the smoothest strokes on the team, Bandoo will likely be a starter in the 2019-2020. With King McClure graduating, Devonte Bandoo would be a perfect candidate to fill in the slack on the defense. In addition, although there was not as much opportunity for him to penetrate to the basket this year, he finished at the rim in transition enough to make me believe he can add that to his repertoire next year.
I think his offensive game will naturally come together next year. Where I believe he could use some improvement is on the defensive portion of his game. Specifically, his role in Baylor’s zone. Too many times Mayer was caught out of position or lunging at shooters. A year of experience should pay huge dividends going forward
The D-III transfer found a way to stay on the court for the Bears this season, and at times was one of the most important players on the team. I think he is the perfect role player. His is formidable on the both offense and defense. The one area I would like to see some improvement is his rebounding game. A more aggressive approach to blocking guys out could help his game tremendously.
Obviously, these four players will be joined by other talent next fall, but these specific four players, despite their successes this season, have not reached their ceiling yet. With a strong and healthy off-season, these four individuals will be back and hopefully leading the charge for a chance at a Big 12 title.