Baylor basketball head coach Scott Drew couldn’t be wearing a bigger smile this summer.
It has been a roller coaster of a ride since Drew first donned the Bears green and gold cap and took over a dismantled hoops program.
Since that time, they have been more than simply on the rise.
The Baylor Bears, in fact, are on their way to becoming a college basketball powerhouse.
Think of teams like Duke, North Carolina, and Kentucky.
And now, Baylor.
After helping propel the Bears to an Elite Eight appearance last season, Drew had a fantastic core of recruits commit to Baylor as well.
In addition, the same court where Baylor throttled Saint Mary’s and fell in a Houston heartbreaker to the eventual-champion Duke Blue Devils, is now a focal point at the Bears’ indoor practice facility.
“It’s amazing, it brings back memories of our run in the NCAA tournament,” Baylor guard A.J. Walton told Waco Tribune Herald staff writer John Werner on Thursday, July 1.
“You expect to walk in there and see our regular floor, but then you see the one for the regionals,” Walton said.
To make a long story short, after major flooding issues led to having to pull up the entire hardwood, Baylor called officials at Reliant Stadium to—in a long-shot attempt—ask about the possibility of renting the floor used during the Elite Eight last season.
“It’s just great to see that floor,” Bears forward Quincy Acy said. “It’s a sign of our success.”
Amazingly, the court was being stored in a facility in Tennessee and was transported to Baylor’s Waco, Texas campus after approval from the NCAA—although they did have to remove the logos from other teams involved in the South Regional: Duke, Saint Mary’s, and Purdue.
“We were able to keep the Reliant Stadium name and ’Road to the Final Four’ on the floor,” Baylor associate athletic director Tom Hill said.
Hill also told the media the team plans to rent the floor until a permanent replacement in installed towards the end of the summer.
In addition, Drew and the Bears have the No. 17 recruiting class in the nation (according to ESPN) entering next season.
And the practice court just adds to the thrill of next year’s season on the hardwood, as Baylor aims to continue their climb up the NCAA basketball ladder after an Elite Eight appearance in the 2010 Big Dance.
“It’s great to look out and see the exact court that we used at the Elite Eight,” Drew said. “I know our guys are excited about it.”
Denton Ramsey may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org