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Return to the 2006-07 Top 144 Preview

August 10th, 2006

By Joel Welser

Broadcast Basketball


Baylor Bears


Overall Rank: #92

Conference Rank: #8 Big 12


2005-06: 4-13, 4-12, 12th

2005-06 postseason: none


After dealing with sanctions brought on by the previous administration, Coach Scott Drew and his Baylor Bears finally have full scholarships available and will play a full season.  Last year’s squad was young and the whole lack of a non-conference schedule thing proved to be troublesome.  With everything finally back to normal, the Bears are ready to hit the post season.


Who’s Out: Big man Tommy Swanson started all 17 games last year, averaging 6.6 points and 4.8 rebounds.  The frontcourt isn’t as talented as the backcourt, but there are still plenty of options to fill in for Swanson’s production.  Seldom used guard Kevis Shipman has also run out of eligibility.


Who’s In: This is where it gets good and it all starts with the first ever McDonald’s All-American to play at Baylor.  Demond ‘Tweety’ Carter is a scoring point guard who is sort-of the top scoring high school player in history.  The 5-10 LaPlace, Louisiana product scored 7,457 points in six varsity seasons.  It’s those 7th and 8th grade scoring numbers which make that record not quite official.  In any event, the man can shoot.  He’ll make an immediate impact, but don’t expect him to unseed any returning starters in the backcourt quite yet.  Josh Lomers, a 7-1 center, already has enough offensive skills to contribute to the Baylor frontcourt.  His overall skills will develop and, in time, he will be a force in the Big XII.  Djibril ‘Penny’ Thiam is a versatile wing who can fill in some minutes in any position from one to four.  A late growth spurt sent the athletic slasher up to 6-8 and with his limited playing experience, the potential is great for a productive career in Waco.  Jari Vanttaja, a native of Finland, redshirted last season.  The 6-10, 220 pound power forward will supply some more depth up front.


Who to Watch: The backcourt is terrific, which is why a player like Carter won’t find it easy to find a starting gig right away.  Curtis Jerrells and Aaron Bruce are a formidable backcourt duo.  Jerrells led the squad with 13.5 points and 3.3 assists.  Bruce, who was in a bit of sophomore slump after a tremendous freshman campaign, was right behind him with 13.1 points and 3.2 assists.  With an increasingly difficult to bench Patrick Fields and emerging sophomore Henry Dugat forming last years top four scorers, there will be no concerns on the perimeter.


Final Projection: It’s a different story up front.  Lefty Kevin Rogers showed plenty of potential as a freshman and Tim Bush and Mamadou Diene have starting experience, but none are dynamic scorers.  Rogers has the capability to put up big numbers in the scoring column, yet it remains to be seen if that potential turns into something a little more concrete.  Bush has done all the dirty work at the small forward spot for the last two seasons and will continue to do so whether he starts or not.  Diene won’t score much, but it is his team high 5.8 rebounds and 2.2 blocks that will impose fear on the opposition.  It will be nice to see the Baylor team develop over an entire season.  Despite returning so many players, it is still a relatively young team that is underclassmen heavy.  The reduced number of teams in the NIT this year might become bothersome to Baylor, but expect bigger and better things soon.


Projected Post-season Tournament: NIT


Projected Starting Five:

Curtis Jerrells, Sophomore, Guard, 13.5 points per game

Aaron Bruce, Junior, Guard, 13.1 points per game

Patrick Fields, Senior, Guard, 8.1 points per game

Kevin Rogers, Sophomore, Forward, 6.1 points per game

Mamadou Diene, Sophomore, Center, 3.2 points per game

93 Rutgers » Complete List » 91 Holy Cross

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