Jerrells Named Third-Team All-NBA D-League
Austin Toros point guard Curtis Jerrells was named to the 2010 GATORADE All-NBA Developmental League third team Friday. Jerrells averaged 20.7 points, 5.7 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 1.9 steals in 50 regular season games for the Toros and was Austin's only player to start all 50 games this season.
Jerrells and the Toros begin the second round of the NBA D-League Playoffs Saturday vs. the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. The winner will advance to the D-League Finals.
He's Not 'Dunn' Yet
That collective exhale and instant jubilation echoing throughout the Ferrell Center Thursday afternoon was LaceDarius Dunn's announcement..."I'm back". Two days after teammate Ekpe Udoh announced he was forgoing his senior season to enter the 2010 NBA Draft, Lace ended days of speculation with his return to Baylor for his senior season.
And, oh what a senior season it could be. Dunn is on pace to break nearly every major offensive record in Baylor history. Just remember this number: 451. That's how many points Dunn needs to surpass Terry Teagle (2,189 points) and become Baylor's all-time leading scorer. This time next year, Dunn could own the Baylor and Big 12 career scoring and 3-point records. Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski proclaimed Dunn to be the best two-guard in nation after the Bears lost to the Blue Devils in the Elite Eight.
Now, the 2010-11 season looks to be a very promising one as Baylor's lineup could look something like this: A.J. Walton, LaceDarius Dunn, Anthony Jones, Quincy Acy and Perry Jones.
With Dunn's announcement Thursday, it looks like the Baylor men's basketball season is complete. Officially. It's been a great season - one Baylor Nation will be talking about for many years to come.
A Class Act
April 13, 2010. Many Baylor fans will remember it as the day Ekpe Udoh declared himself eligible for the 2010 NBA Draft. Udoh, one of an army of underrclassmen forgoing the remainder of their college careers to pursue a dream, is in a class all to himself. For two seasons - one as a redshirt - we had the pleasure of working with Ekpe and he truly is a class act. After one record-breaking season at Baylor, Udoh is near-guaranteed first-round pick in the June 24th NBA Draft and could very well become the first lottery pick in Baylor history.
Udoh's jump to the NBA further solidifies Baylor's position in the college basketball landscape as a place that can develop NBA-caliber talent. There's a very good chance that you could see three former Baylor Bears in the NBA at some point during the 2010-11 season: Los Angeles Clipper Brian Skinner, Udoh and current Austin Toros point guard Curtis Jerrells.
Another sign that Baylor basketball is here to stay for a very long time? LaceDarius Dunn, who is on pace to shatter both Baylor and Big 12 career scoring records, is on the front page of ESPN.com's basketball section, promoting the 2010-11 season. Additionally, Joe Lunardi has Baylor as the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Southwest Region (San Antonio) against projected Northeast Conference automatic qualifier Mount St. Mary's.
The future will only get brighter from here as the Bears return a talented nucleus that includes Dunn (who has not made a decision on declaring), Anthony Jones, Quincy Acy and A.J. Walton. Add in a top-20 nationally rated recruiting class and the Bears are a preseason contender for a Big 12 title next season.
Wanna know what else makes Ekpe a class act? Even after he signs an NBA contract, he plans to come back to finish the 14 hours he'll need to complete his degree at Baylor. Less than 24 hours after announcing his draft eligibility, Ekpe was back in class Wednesday - we know this because he called us between classes.
He played only one season at Baylor, but the impact he made will be felt for a long time.
Banquet Officially Closes Book on Record-Setting 2009-10 Season
A school-record 28 wins and the first Elite 8 trip in the modern tournament era. The Baylor men's basketball team and coaching staff capped off the most successful season in 60 years with the its annual end-of-the-year banquet Monday night in the Ferrell Center.
Fans, supporters and families flooded the Ferrell Center floor as Baylor honored outgoing seniors Tweety Carter and Josh Lomers, as well as record-setting juniors Ekpe Udoh and LaceDarius Dunn. Several media members were also in attendance, including all three Waco TV stations, Waco Tribune-Herald, Fort Worth Star-Telegram and Baylor Lariat.
The Bears also fielding questions from the audience and emcee (and Voice of the Baylor Bears) John Morris.
As we officially close the book on a truly "elite" season, here's a list of firsts, milestones and individual player honors from the 2009-10 season:
FERRELL CENTER RECORDS
STREAKS AND SWEEPS
CJ Soars, Tweety Impresses
Curtis Jerrells averaged 26.0 points, 6.0 assists and 3.7 rebounds to lead the Austin Toros to a 2-1 series win over the Dakota Wizards in the 2010 NBA D-League Playoffs. Jerrells poured in a game-high 25 points and added seven boards and three assists in Sunday's 102-90 decisive game three win over Dakota. Austin advances to the second round to face the winner of the Rio Grande Valley/Reno series.
CJ's former Baylor teammate Kevin Rogers was on the RGV Vipers' roster earlier this season, but a knee injury has sidelined him for the remainding of the season.
In 50 regular season games, Jerrells averaged 20.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 1.9 steals. CJ tallied 1,036 points in those 50 games. In contract, in his first 48 games at Baylor (first two seasons), Jerrells accumulated just 695 points.
While Jerrells is making a name for himself in the D-League and will most likely be called up to the Spurs soon, former teammate Tweety Carter put on a solid three-game performance at last week's Portsmouth Invitational Tournament in Portsmouth, Va. Carter averaged 9.0 points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 6.0 assists for Norfolk Sports Club, which finished 1-2 in the double-elimination tournament.
Carter made the second-most 3s at Portsmouth (seven) and posted a very impressive 9.0 assist-to-turnover ratio (18 assists, two tournaments). He added a tournament-best 10 assists in Norfolk Sports Club's second game last Friday.
Friday's Odds and Ends
Over the last few days, we've begun to realize the harsh reality that the season really is over. No college basketball until official practice starts up again in October. But there is still college hoops chatter going on. From analysts offering their final analyses of the season to former Bears playing professionally, here's FRIDAY'S ODDS AND ENDS:
ESPN.COM's Jay Bilas on what he'll remember from his college basketball season...
Dunn Named Second-Team All-Tournament by Yahoo! Sports
Best non-Duke Trio Resides in Waco
Carter, Norfolk Sports Club Looks to Advance to Portsmouth Finals
CJ Leads Toros to Playoff Win
Baylor Great Enjoys Bears' Elite 8 Run
If you were one of the 30,000+ Baylor fans in attendance for the NCAA South Regional semifinals and final in Houston a few weeks back, then chances are you may have seen a Baylor great amongst the sea of green and gold. Bill DeWitt '50, a member of Baylor's 1948 national runner-up and 1950 Final Four teams, witnessed the Bears' Sweet 16 win over Saint Mary's and their tough defeat in the Elite 8 to Duke at Reliant Stadium.
Bill's daughter, Sally DeWitt Spurgin, sent Baylor Athletics Director Ian McCaw an e-mail of heartfelt thanks along the pictures below from the game. Sally said Bill "loved every minute of the exciting action" and that her mother, Hester Ann Curl '51, "wore her red jacket in memory of Bill's old coach (Bill Henderson), who required her to wear the same red suit to every home game after the team made an unlikely win when she wore the suit". Bill celebrated his 83rd birthday on Sunday, March 28 - the same day as Baylor's Elite 8 game vs. Duke.
DeWitt played three seasons for Baylor - 1947-48, 1948-49 and 1949-50. He scored eight points against Kentucky in the 1948 national championship game. He helped guide the Henderson-led Bears to the 1948, 1949 and 1950 Southwest Conference titles.
It was certainly an honor to have a Baylor great such as Bill DeWitt see the Bears return to national prominence during their historic run to the Elite 8.
Numbers Game: Expectations Rising...Already
We mentioned yesterday that there have been a few college basketball writers, enthusiasts and analysts already ranking teams for next season. Three more very early Top 25 polls for the 2010-11 season were revealed Wednesday and, national expectations for Baylor are rising.
The real preseason Top 25 polls won't be unveiled for another six months or so, but writers across the nation are expecting great things from the Bears in 2010-11. Baylor concluded the season No. 8 in the final NCAA Division I men's basketball RPI, No. 9 in Gary Parrish's final Top 25 (and one) on CBSSports.com, No. 10 in the final ESPN/USA Today Coaches Top 25 Poll and No. 19 in the final AP Top 25 Poll (final poll before NCAA tournament).
Another number to remember: 25, as in the 25th of April. That is the deadline for underclassmen to declare of the NBA Draft. Both Ekpe Udoh and LaceDarius Dunn are still weighing their NBA draft options, according to John Werner of the Waco Tribune-Herald.
Bears Improve in Almost Every Statistical Category
The final NCAA men's basketball statistical rankings came out this morning and, obviously, Baylor improved its performance from 2008-09, winning a school-record 28 games, advancing to an Elite 8. Yada, yada, yada.
But, the greatest - and possibly the most impressive - improvements came on the stat sheet as the Bears improved in almost every major statistical category from a year ago.
Here's a comparison from the end of the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons (NCAA rankings):
Ekpe Udoh ranked fifth in blocked shots per game (3.7), 20th in double-doubles (16.0) and 26th in rebounds per game (9.8).
Tweety Carter finished 13th with 5.9 assists per game, 35th in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.35) and 74th in 3FG per game (2.5).
The two biggest differences are field goal percentage defense and rebound margin. Baylor's opponent FG percentage dropped more than five percentage points, while the Bears improved their rebounding margin by more than six boards per game.
Baylor, which is ranked No. 6 in Ken Pomeroy's college basketball ratings, also ranks third nationally in offensive effenciency (points scored per 100 offensive possessions) behind Kansas (No. 2) and Duke (No. 1). Pomeroy breaks down the rest of Baylor's statistics here.
From 10th in Big 12...to Elite 8...to Top 10 Ranking
2009-10 was indeed an elite season...the best season in modern Baylor basketball history (post-1950). Baylor's season ended with a 78-71 to the now national champion Duke Blue Devils in the NCAA South Regional final down in Houston. The Bears made quite a splash this season with their school-record 28 victories, yet another record-setting season by LaceDarius Dunn, Big 12 assists leader Tweety Carter and one of the nation's most feared shot blockers Ekpe Udoh.
For a team that was picked 10th in the Big 12 preseason coaches poll in October, those above accomplishments all sound great. Here's one more: No. 10. The Bears are ranked No. 10 in the final ESPN/USA Today Coaches Top 25 Poll that was released Tuesday afternoon. That is the highest ranking in program history.
Prior to this season, Baylor had been ranked a combined 12 weeks in the AP and six weeks in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Top 25 polls. This season alone, the Bears were ranked for 10 weeks by the AP and seven more by the coaches.
CBSSports.com's Gary Parrish ranks Baylor No. 9 in his Top 25 (and one). The season hasn't been over for 24 hours and yet the college basketball world is already predicting next season...The Beyond the Arc blog on MSNBC slots Baylor at No. 21 entering next season, while Rush The Court has Baylor No. 23 overall. If both Lace and Ekpe return for their senior seasons, 21 and 23 are a tad low...Baylor could be a preseason top 10 pick, easily.
Annual Men's Hoops Banquet Set for April 12
After advancing to the Elite Eight and posting a school record for victories, the Baylor men's basketball team will hold its annual banquet Monday, April 12, at 7 p.m. CDT in the Ferrell Center. It will mark the first time that the men's basketball banquet is held in the Ferrell Center.
Cost for the event (tax included) is $30 for individuals, $400 for a select table (first-come, first-serve) and $500 for a premium table (only a few remain). Fans interested in attending the banquet must RSVP by April 7 - no walk-ups will be accepted. You may RSVP online or call toll-free at (866) 281-9444.
Head coach Scott Drew will address those in attendance. Baylor will also honor graduating seniors Tweety Carter and Josh Lomers.
Baylor, which finished the season 28-8, advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament for the first time in the modern tournament era. The Bears established school records for overall wins (28), Big 12-only wins (11) and NCAA wins in a single postseason (three). Picked to finish 10th in the Big 12 preseason coaches poll, the Bears finished tied for second in the final standings - the best conference finish in the Big 12 era.
NOTABLE SEASON HIGHLIGHTS
Nearly 14 Million Watched Baylor/Duke Elite Eight Clash
Baylor's first Elite Eight game of the modern tournament era was the ratings high point for the 2010 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship (Source: Sports Media Watch blog). Last Sunday's NCAA South Regional final drew a 8.7/17 final rating and 13.8 million viewers on CBS, up 28% in ratings and 27% in viewership from the North Carolina/Oklahoma game last year (6.8/13, 10.8 million).
Baylor/Duke is tied with the 2008 Kansas/Davidson game as the highest-rated NCAA tournament telecast - excluding the Final Four - since 2005.
In comparison, the game drew more viewers than the 2010 Daytona 500 (13.3 million), Game 1 of the 2009 NBA Finals (13.0 million) and the 2010 Orange Bowl (10.8 million).