At press time, head coach Scott Drew's Bears were ranked No. 6 in the country. In fact, the team has already spent more weeks ranked in the top 10 in 2011-12 than in any other season in program history - and the team hasn't even begun conference play. Keeping with that theme, we present:
10 things you should know about Baylor men's basketball
By Jeff Brown
- This year's team may be the best in program history. Already this season, the Bears have been ranked as high as No. 6 in the country - the highest ranking in program history. This season marks the first time the Bears have ever held a top-10 spot in back-to-back weeks.
- These rankings shouldn't be taken for granted. Prior to Drew's arrival, Baylor had only cracked the AP Top 25 three times -- once in 1949, and for two weeks in 1969. In the last five years alone, the Bears have been ranked by the AP for more than 30 weeks.
- The Bears have two of the top 50 players in the nation. At least, that's the way the folks behind the Naismith Trophy see things; sophomore Perry Jones III and freshman Quincy Miller both made the preseason watch list for national player of the year.
- Baylor has become a destination for top talent. This year's roster includes four consensus top-50 recruits (Jones III, Miller, Anthony Jones and Deuce Bello) as well as the reigning national junior college player of the year (Pierre Jackson).
- Looking ahead, there's even more talent on the way. Head coach Scott Drew has already inked a top-15 class for next year, led by consensus top-5 signee Isaiah Austin, a 7-foot center from Arlington, Texas. Austin is the third national top-10 recruit in the last three years to sign with Baylor, following PJ3 and Miller.
- For the first time in program history, a Bear is Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year. Jones III was so honored by the league's coaches after turning down a likely NBA lottery pick selection to return to Baylor for his sophomore year.
- If you like dunks, Baylor's your team. Between Quincy Acy's monstrous throwdowns and Bello's YouTube highlight videos, no team boasts more/better dunkers than BU. And it's worth noting that neither Acy nor Bello won the team's Moonlight Madness dunk contest; that was 5-foot-10 Pierre Jackson.
- All those dunks add up. Acy, known as the "Cookie Monster" because he likes to dunk, was nine points away from becoming the 25th 1,000-point scorer in Baylor history when this issue went to press.
- A.J. Walton knows defense. The junior guard's quick hands have him among Baylor's top 10 in career steals, joining such players as former NBA stars Micheal Williams and David Wesley and former teammates LaceDarius Dunn and Tweety Carter.
- Drew has longevity on his side. Only one other Big 12 coach (Texas' Rick Barnes) has been with his current team longer than Drew, who is now in his ninth season at Baylor.