Baylor’s mens basketball roster, after a stunning announcement and a last minute transfer, seems just about settled for the upcoming season. Given that, it’s worth taking a moment to remember those players we’ve lost to graduation, remind ourselves of who is back, and get a brief introduction to the new faces on the way. We’ll take a deeper dive into the individual players closer to the season, but the summer’s recent upheaval prompts some inventory taking.
Who graduated again?
Baylor has lost quite a bit to graduation this season:
Manu Lecomte, PG
Terry Maston, PF
Jo Lual-Acuil, C
Nuni Omot, SF
That is a lot of production walking out the door. Lecomte was a steady point guard with great outside shooting. Maston featured the most effective old man’s game seen this century. Lual-Acuil was a defensive presence at the rim and an oddly effective inside scorer. Omot was money from the corners and disruptive on the defensive perimeter. Those are four very different archetypes, meaning the Bears have lost experience and ability in a variety of area. Still, each of those players feels individually replaceable. They were each important in their own way, but none were so extraordinarily talented in the manner of Johnathan Motley, Taurean Prince, Rico Gathers, etc. that the team can’t recover. Losing all four at once, however, adds an extra challenge for Scott Drew in replacing them.
Should have been here
These guys were expected to play significant roles this season, but won’t show for one reason or another:
Jake Lindsey, PG
Tyson Jolly, SG
Boy, what to say here? Jolly feels like he could have been special with his length and aggression with the ball, but he chose other pastures for reasons all his own. Either he disliked the coaching situation, felt like he wasn’t going to get the playtime he wanted, or he dissed Dr Pepper and was forcibly removed from the campus. Coulda, shoulda, woulda. Needless to say, he’d be nice to have around. With a bevy of guards coming in, though, Baylor should be alright without him.
Jake Lindsey is another matter entirely. Last season, he was arguably the most important player for maintaining balanced rotations, initiating the offense, and sparking the defense with steals and blocks from the guard spot. He was the de facto point guard, allowing Lecomte to skid around screens off-ball. He was also excellent defending at the top and wing of Baylor’s zone. His leadership on the floor this season would have been a massive help to a team that lost so much senior experience. His numerical production was lower than you would have liked, but he really was a key cog in making the team tick. Hopefully his recovery is successful and he can return in top form for next season.
It might not totally feel like it, but there will actually be some guys coming back who can be big contributors:
King McClure, SG
Mark Vital, G/F
Tristan Clark, F
Clark’s inside production could be enormous to this team’s success. He showed a lot as a freshman, especially early in the season. This team will need Clark to gobble rebounds and play effectively in the post if Drew wants to continue running the inside-out offense he has favored of late. McClure…he just has to hit shots. He just has to. As for Vital, if he can add any sort of refinement to his game, he will be an invaluable player with Lindsey out. Vital’s positional versatility should be key to creating a bunch of funky lineup combinations. He’s an excellent rebounder for his size, and his passing is actually quite good. If he manages to add some scoring ability, his game will jump multiple levels.
Davion Mitchell and MaCio Teague have to sit a season, but the rest of the transfers will be allowed to suit up:
Darius Allen, SG
Devonte Bandoo, SG
Mario Kegler, SG/SF
Makai Mason, PG
Freddie Gillespie, PF
I think I have things straight that all five of those players are elligible. Allen and Bandoo come from junior college and should help bolster the wings in the absence of Jolly, Omot, and Lindsey. Kegler started 31 of 32 games his true freshman season at Mississippi State two years ago and should be an immediate impact guy. He has the potential to be a double-digit scorer who can also secure 5+ boards a night. If the Bears get a lot from Kegler, this season could go well despite Lindsey’s absence. Mason will help mitigate Lindsey’s loss, as well. He crushed Baylor in the Tourney while at Yale and should add both steadiness and moxie, the latter of which was missing at times last season.
Some high school guys
I’m not going to pretend to know much of anything about these guys. We can dive into the details of their games closer to the season, but for now let’s just get familiar with their names and positions:
Flo Thamba, C
Jared Butler, PG/SG
Jackson Moffatt, SG/SF
Matthew Mayer, SF
Flo Thamba is definitely a Mo Bamba burning account on Instagram. (He’s also 6-10 and skinny, a player type Scott Drew is mandated to have on the team at all times.)
I like the sizes of the other three guys: 6-3, 6-6, and 6-9, respectively. Looks switchable and versatile from where I’m sitting.
Congratualations, you now know the general lay of the land as things currently stand for the Bears this season. We’ll return to provide some more detail as the season approaches. In the meantime, get back to watching Charlie Brewer highlights.