In an effort to remind you that college basketball does in fact exist during the summer, Big 12 microsite writers Danny Spewak (@dspewak) and Jeremy Pfingsten (@jeremylp21) will roll out three summer updates per week during the next month. The goal is to compile every bit of news and information from the summer months for each team and package it into neat, easy-to-read capsules for your convenience. Next on the list — an update on Baylor.
2011-12 Record: 30-8, 12-6 (3rd place)
Baylor’s women’s program may have visited the White House after winning a national championship, but the men’s team did pretty well for itself too in 2011-12. Scott Drew dealt with the resurfacing of the usual criticism of his program after a 17-0 start turned into a mid-season swoon, but by the end, his supposedly soft and undisciplined program found a way to reach the Elite Eight for the second time in three years. Now, however, the Bears must deal with a few distractions this summer — both on the court and off. The first news out of Waco involved former men’s basketball walk-on Richard Khamir Hurd, who was arrested and charged with trying to extort ex-star football quarterback Robert Griffin III. Authorities haven’t released many details about the actual extortion attempt, but this is a mess of a situation for a program that could afford to go, say, 100 more years without another legal scandal after the Patrick Dennehy murder in 2003.
That’s not all, though. The most crippling off-season development punished Drew for major NCAA violations. He’ll be suspended for two of the first Big 12 Conference games in 2012-13 after the NCAA claimed he failed to monitor the program in accordance with NCAA regulations. It was determined that Baylor’s men’s and women’s basketball programs had more than 1,000 impermissible text messages and phone calls, and the NCAA accepted the program’s self-imposed sanctions. In addition to Drew’s suspension, Baylor faces three years of probation, which affects Drew’s off-campus recruiting visits and takes away one scholarship for the 2012-13 season.
The last and most significant impact on next year’s team was the departure of Perry Jones III, Qunicy Acy, and Quincy Miller to the NBA. Granted, these players were expected to be in the draft anyway, but the Bears now have some work to do if they want to build on last season’s success.
Summer Orientation: Big surprise: Scott Drew has put together another top five recruiting class, according to ESPN, even with the violations and loss of a scholarship. As usual, the results are impressive.
Drew secured 7’0” center Isaiah Austin as a replacement for his departed frontcourt, giving Baylor a freakish 9’3” standing reach and the ability to shoot from deep. He’s a star prospect in every way and just might be one of the Big 12′s top performers in his first season. The bad news? He needs to bulk up. Austin has a skinny frame for his size, so he may not be effective as a traditional post man right away. Austin’s freshman sidekick this year will be 6’7” power forward Ricardo Gathers. When you see Gathers, you’d first think he is on the football team. Simply put, he is a beast. At 240 pounds, Gathers will immediately bring credibility to the post, even though he’s a tad bit undersized from a height standpoint. According to those who’ve seen him play, Gathers will step into the Big 12 with as much pure strength and physicality as anyone in the league.