Bears had strong year but now await Johnathan Motley’s NBA decision

Baylor men’s basketball was eliminated from the NCAA tournament on Sunday by the . It brought what had been a historic season for the Bears to an end in the Sweet Sixteen but does little to accomplish what Baylor accomplished in 2016 17.

1. Worst to first. Well, not exactly worst, but Baylor had Chinese Wholesale Jerseys
the respect of next to no one to start the season. The Bears did not receive one solitary vote for the preseason AP Top 25. But an 18 0 start including wins over Louisville, Oregon, Michigan State and Xavier elevated the Bears all the way to the No. 1 spot in the rankings by Jan. 9, the fastest ever climb from not receiving votes to No. 1. And it was the first ever No. 1 ranking in program history for Baylor. If for nothing else, this year’s team will be remember for that.

2. Lonely at the top. As well as the first half of Baylor’s season went, the second was less triumphant. The Bears’ offense struggled for much of the back half of the season as the team struggled at times to run the offense or feed some of its best scorers. Baylor lost to West Virginia in its first game as No. 1 by 21 points, the worst loss of the season, and then finished the year 9 7 to limp into the NCAA tournament. The Bears were able to take care of business enough to reach the fourth Sweet Sixteen of the Scott Drew era but the offensive problems reared their heads in the season ending loss to South Carolina.

3. Still the Motley crew? Junior forward Johnathan Motley had one of the best seasons in Baylor history. He averaged a double double, was the first Bear to be unanimously selected to the All Big 12 first team and was a finalist for the John R. Wooden Award. But now the Bears are awaiting his decision on whether to declare a year early for the NBA draft. He declined to address the draft after the loss to South Carolina but he is considered a late first round pick by many at this point and now may be the best time to declare. His exit would be a serious blow to Baylor but if he decided to return Baylor would be early favorites to dethrone Kansas atop the Big 12.

4. Salute. Let’s take a quick moment to appreciate the career of senior Ish Wainright, the only Bear to ever play in four NCAA tournaments. Wainright was never a big stats guy, but he was the glue on this Baylor team. He kept everyone in high spirits, provided every energy play head coach Scott Drew could possibly desire and was always positive. Plus, this moment of him celebrating a 3 pointer against USC should go down in Baylor gif lore.

5. What will be in Waco next year? Besides the graduating Wainright, every Bear is in line to return to Baylor. So even if Motley declares early for the draft, the Bears have a solid core returning if guard Manu Lecomte or center Jo Lual Acuil can assume Motley’s place as a primary scorer. And because Drew has established his culture so well at Baylor, he has two freshmen who redshirted this season and will be ready to contribute next year guard Tyson Jolly and forward Mark Vital, both of whom are former four star recruits. And the Bears also add four star forward Tristan Clark from high school. Clark fills Motley’s model in some ways and could see some early minutes even as a freshman.

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