From left: A.J. Walton (guard), Cory Jefferson (power forward) and Deuce Bello (small forward).
Quincy Miller met the NCAA deadline back on April 10, declaring that would be staying at Baylor for his sophomore season.
He then proved why having two deadlines (one for the NCAA and one for the NBA for early exits) is one of the biggest issues in college basketball by reversing his decision to stay and declaring for the 2012 NBA draft.
Now, with all three frontcourt starters gone as Perry Jones III and Quincy Acy test the draft waters as well, how will Baylor rebuild its frontcourt?
Anchored by sniper Brady Heslip and elite-level point guard Pierre Jackson, the following is a list of the options for Baylor’s frontcourt.
To say that J’Mison “Bobo” Morgan has had an up and down career is an understatement. Morgan transferred to Baylor from UCLA after the Bruins’ 14-18 season and discipline issues. He then played reserve for Baylor before hurting his calf and red-shirting this past year.
Now, Morgan is in the gym, continuing to improve his game and trying to become one of the guys for Baylor.
Standing at 6’11’’ and 250 pounds, Morgan has the potential to be the high profile player that UCLA recruited him as. He has great arms for rebounding and can fight his way through the paint with his strength to get up to the basket.
If Morgan can prove to head coach Scott Drew that he not only has the ability, but the attitude to dominate on the court, then he should see a very good amount of playing time.
Deuce Bello is a force on the court offensively. There is no question about it.
He is a fantastic athlete that can speed past anyone on the floor and has a vertical that allows him to jump over anyone.
Bello’s biggest knock is that he is only 6’4’’. At the three position, Bello will be looking to replace senior Quincy Acy, who made a habit of attacking the basket and breaking glass along the way. As such, it is a good thing that Bello is commonly seen hanging on the rim after a monster dunk.
He saw more playing time towards the end of this past season and clearly improved his game bringing it up to the college level. Now, all Bello needs to work on is bulking up so that he can battle in the paint better and improve his defense.
He may not be the intimidating face of Baylor basketball that Quincy Acy was, but Deuce Bello is a silent monster.
Cory Jefferson is primed to break out next season. He is among the only veteran forwards left on the Baylor bench and has played as a sixth man for a good portion of his career.
As such, it would not be unlikely to see Jefferson break out Thomas Robinson style. However, for that to be the case, Jefferson will need to get stronger this offseason.
He is a very good rebounder and shows a great sense of timing when it comes to grabbing both offensive and defensive rebounds. In addition, he is not afraid to attack the basket, but has not had the time to show his full set of post moves.
He averaged just under four points and 2.6 rebounds this past season with 10.5 minutes of playtime. It will be very interesting to see what Jefferson will do with more playing time.
Ricardo Gathers comes into Baylor as a four-star recruit and No. 10 at the power forward position according to ESPN Recruiting Nation Basketball. It is also interesting to note that other schools such as Syracuse and Duke pursued him.
One of the best parts of Gathers is his build. He basically mirrors Quincy Acy’s body, but as a senior in high school. He uses his strength and athleticism to battle his way through the paint and over taller defenders, usually landing on the rim.
On top of that, he already has a great understanding of how to rebound the ball and score off of regular shots.
Over time, Gathers will develop into one of the best forwards in the league, so long as his maxed out body does not hinder his progress.
Isaiah Austin is the biggest recruit that Baylor has signed since Perry Jones III and possibly in the history of the program. He is a five star man, top five player in the country and the second best center in the class.
Austin is Baylor’s first true center in years, and head coach Scott Drew is extremely excited to have his talent on the floor.
His 210 pound frame does not boast dominating strength on the court, but he makes up for it with his length, standing at 7’0’’. Scouts have noted that he reminds them of Kareem Abdul-Jabar with not only his build, but his play as well.
Even though he is so tall, Austin still manages to be a great athlete who can run up and down the court for almost the entire game. His ball handling skills are exemplary and defenders are never quite sure if he is going to attack the basket or play from the wing. Austin is also a very consistent three-point shooter, adding another interesting aspect to his game.
He is an excellent shot blocker and will be a complete force on defense, simply because he is so tall.
Isaiah Austin is a fantastic talent that will almost certainly be starting at center for Baylor next year.