By Charis Boylan
Senior professional writing major from Tyler
I have a hard time exercising moderation with anything I really like, and my obsession with the Baylor men’s basketball team is no exception. Of all my fixations, however, this one is perhaps the most reasonable. If the men’s team was hidden behind the shadow of the Lady Bears’ national title, they are in hiding no longer. With a 15-5 game record, the whole campus seems to be humming with excitement over the team. In Big 12 rankings, Baylor has progressed to fifth place beneath the nationally ranked teams of Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and Texas.
All over sports blogs and information boards, the Baylor men’s team is receiving notable attention for not only their present playing, but also their undeniable potential to win the Big 12 in the near future. The efforts of Coach Scott Drew to pull the men’s team from national scandal to national standing are finally paying off. His encouragement, vision, and coaching have helped propel his team into the limelight once again. He’s recruited a team that is stocked with talent, from the deserts of Senegal, Africa, to the bayous of Louisiana.
The greatest difference I can perceive between Baylor’s team and the other teams in the Big 12 is unity. With four seniors who have substantial amounts of playing time, there is respect and leadership present to expel any division among the team members both on and off of the court.
Curtis Jerrels, a senior from Austin, can be likened to a team legend. He’s got speed, ball handling, and, consequently, the respect of all of his teammates. He ultimately decides the attitude of the team, and there hasn’t been a game where his playing has been a disservice to Baylor. He scored thirty-one points against Oklahoma State and is likely to do even better in the other upcoming Big 12 conference games.
Senior Kevin Rogers is an oak in stature and just as solid in talent; he is a source of relief for the team whether he’s in the locker room cracking jokes or on the court rebounding, dunking, and congratulating his teammates’ efforts with quasi-affectionate head pats.
No one can deny the always fresh and unadulterated talent that is Henry Dugat. This senior has agility, athleticism, and team-mindedness as part of his genetic makeup. He’s all over the court, at all times, attentive and alert–ready to assist, defend, and score at the drop of a hat.
Towering at least head and shoulders above every Baylor Bear is the student body favorite from Senegal, senior Mamadu Diene. He is reliable in his performance and supportive, whether he is on the court or abdicating his starting position to freshman Quincy Acy.
Unlike most teams playing college basketball, the Baylor men’s team has a sort of unity about it that enables every player to have a moment of fame. No man plays for himself on Baylor’s side of the court, and the effect of that kind of “team-ness” is unstoppable.
Not only is Baylor stocked up with solid senior leadership, but the team also has talented younger players who are projected to earn even better rankings in the years to come. The literal “hot shot” of the team is junior Lace Darius Dunn, who can launch shots from several feet behind the three-point line, racking up points with ease. In Baylor’s victory over Kansas State on January 21, he sank nine three-pointers, tying the Baylor school record. He’s been quickly developing a dribble likened to Jerrels’.
Acy, the six-foot-eight freshman from Mesquite, has made himself notorious with fans with his explosive dunks. Junior Tweety Carter is solid as a point guard and is reliable in shooting from the free-throw and three-point line. Rumor has it our new transfer from Michigan will take the team by storm as well.
With this kind of lineup, the future success of the men’s Baylor basketball team is certainly secure–as secure as my ongoing obsession with Baylor b’ball.