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Baylor Men’s Basketball Picked 4th, Ja’Kobe Walter Freshman of the Year in Big 12 Preseason Poll

The Bears earned three honorable mentions for the All-Big 12 team

NCAA Basketball: Baylor at Texas Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

The Baylor Bears were predicted to finish 4th in the Big 12 Preseason Poll behind Kansas (12 1st place votes), Houston (2), and Texas. Baylor was picked 1st last season in a much closer poll and finished tied for 3rd with a 23-11 record and Round of 32 appearance.

2023-24 Big 12 Preseason Poll

1. Kansas (12) 168

2. Houston (2) 153

3. Texas 143

4. Baylor 137

5. TCU 113

6. Kansas State 106

7. Iowa State 95

8. Texas Tech 80

9. West Virginia 70

10. Oklahoma State 57

11. Cincinnati 55

12. Oklahoma 54

13. BYU 29

14. UCF 14

Coaches are clearly high on what Grant McCasland, a former Baylor assistant under Scott Drew, can do in his first season as the head coach of Texas Tech after he won the NIT last season at North Texas. The Red Raiders were a miserable 16-16 last season and let go of head coach Mark Adams for non-basketball reasons in the middle of the season.

There is a clear top four in the conference, though Kansas and Houston were the only two picked to win the conference regular season. The Big 12 will be as deep as ever, but now that the conference will be using an unbalanced schedule, that could greatly influence how the standings shake out in the end.

Preseason All-Big 12 Awards

In the Big 12 Preseason Awards, Ja’Kobe Walter was selected as the Freshman of the Year, the third consecutive Bear to garner the recognition. Keyonte George (2022-23) and Kendall Brown (2021-22) were previously recognized.

The All-Big 12 Team

L.J. Cryer, Houston

Hunter Dickinson, Kansas

Dejuan Harris Jr., Kansas

Emanuel Miller, TCU

Max Abmas, Texas

Three Bears earned Honorable Mention: Jalen Bridges, RayJ Dennis, and Ja’Kobe Walter. Hunter Dickinson was selected for both the Preseason Player of the Year and Newcomer of the Year.

It would be tough to argue that any of that first team should come off in favor of the three Baylor players, but Texas (4) and Kansas (3) are the only other teams with as many or more players earning recognition as Baylor.

Honorable Mention (listed alphabetically by school): Jalen Bridges (Baylor), RayJ Dennis (Baylor), Ja’Kobe Walter (Baylor), Jamal Shead (Houston), Kevin McCullar Jr. (Kansas), Arthur Kaluma (Kansas State), Tylor Perry (Kansas State), Dylan Disu (Texas), Tyrese Hunter (Texas), Dillon Mitchell (Texas), Jesse Edwards (West Virginia).

Baylor has a deep and talented team this season, though with some questions about whether they have “a guy” who can take over games and lift the team. Drew has done well in the past with team-oriented rosters, and the Bears will be a tough out every game with high expectations for success.