The Baylor Bears face a literal and significant changing of the guard this offseason. Let’s check in on the latest outgoing guys before we devote some time to the important addition of the VCU Rams point guard Jayden Nunn.
Adam Flagler Has Declared for the NBA Draft
It took a while, but this was always what was going to happen. While Flagler doesn’t specifically mention whether he will or will not retain eligibility, safe money says he will not be returning to college.
And why would he? Flagler leaves Baylor a national champion, two-time Big 12 champion, and all-conference guard. He was an irreplaceable piece of a winning and championship program, and all that after being a bit of an unheralded player at Presbyterian before coming to Waco and sitting out a season.
And above it all, Flagler is perhaps the most sincere, thoughtful, good-hearted men to walk into the locker room in the Ferrell. He’ll be missed in a number of ways, but we wish him all the best and hope he gets the chance he deserves to light up the league.
Dale Bonner Goes Home
Bonner is originally from Ohio, and this sort of reunion validates a lot of things. First for Bonner - he’s now gone from Fairmont State to Baylor to Ohio State. That’s an awesome journey and a testament to his work and talent.
For Baylor, while it is tough to lose a guy who really contributed to winning, it is validating that a program of the caliber of Ohio State wants to take one of your reserve guards and play him as a starter. This isn’t to say Baylor is happy to have Bonner gone or to take for granted that he would have come off the bench again next season. With another summer in Waco, he may have developed into a starter. Nevertheless, he was projected to remain an off-the-bench player for the Bears, and he has a much stronger likelihood of being a starter in Columbus for the Buckeyes. Good for him and a good sign of the remaining and incoming talent in Waco.
Jayden Nunn Commits to Baylor
NEWS: VCU transfer Jayden Nunn has committed to Baylor, he told ESPN. At 6'4 and 19-years old, Nunn's ability to generate turnovers, finish with explosiveness, and diverse shot-making prowess gives him significant two-way versatility.— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) April 18, 2023
STORY: https://t.co/PGnquvpEQU pic.twitter.com/IjZcrPw1cr
Speaking of incoming talent: Baylor has landed its first commitment of this Portal season. Nunn, a rising junior who played his first two seasons at VCU, comes to Baylor with a good chance to be a starter who can address Baylor’s biggest weakness from last season: point of attack defense. For all their strengths, Flagler and LJ Cryer were never more than average defenders. Their defensive upside topped out at “stay in front of his man and hope he misses.” Even Bonner, who was Baylor’s best defensive guard last season, was better at jumping passing lanes than at locking down his man. Nunn, who averaged 1.5 steals and 0.5 blocks last season, comes in listed at 6’4” and 190 lbs. That makes him taller and bigger than Flagler, Bonner, and Cryer, and right around the size of NBA 1st round prospect Keyonte George. That is to say, Dunn projects well as a defender with an NBA frame and proven production.
His shooting splits last season (.433 FG/.404 3PT/.700 FT) are more than solid. If he can maintain that three-point percentage (which seems possible, given only 65% of his threes were assisted last season, per Hoop-Math), then Scott Drew has a strong two-way player who can be an impact on both ends. If he can integrate himself into the high screen, dribble hand off offense Drew has favored in the last few years, Nunn could find himself contending for all-conference honors.
LOVE this. A guard with size, explosiveness, shot-making ability, and great defensive impact.— Jed Johnston (@BearMySoul17) April 18, 2023
His stats last year would have been good for the following ranks on Baylor:
Defensive Rating: 1st
Defensive Win Shares: 1st
3P%: 2nd (min. 20 attempts) https://t.co/GTzQjlNEAh
Now, there is some downside here. Nunn was only a two star recruit coming out of high school, and evanmiya.com projects him as the 4th best transfer coming out of VCU for next season. That projection doesn’t take a player’s new context into account as far as I know, but it is a good measure of a player’s floor. Nunn averaged 9.3 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.2 turnovers last season. Those are inspiring numbers, particularly that nearly 1-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. There is a possibility that he may not have the decision-making necessary to play at the Big 12 level.
Still, he was the starting guard for a 27-8 VCU team that won the A-10 regular season and conference tournament before losing in the first round to an excellent St. Mary’s. Nunn understands what it takes to win games. That’s something that Baylor values in a lot of their transfers as Drew continues to maintain the expectations for the program now twos seasons removed from a championship.
Baylor has a ways to go in the transfer season, but Nunn’s addition gives Baylor a solid piece to build with.