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Senior Class Leaves in Style with Second Elite Eight
3:55 P.M., TUE., MARCH 27, 2012
CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
Twitter: @BaylorMBB, @BaylorAthletics | Facebook: Baylor Athletics

Exceeding the expectations of some and meeting those of many, Baylor's 2011-12 regular season came to an end Sunday afternoon at the Georgia Dome. After a school-record 30 wins, Baylor made its second Elite Eight appearance in three seasons, finishing short of its first Final Four appearance in 62 years.

It wasn't until I walked into the locker room at the end of the game that I realized...the careers of Quincy Acy, Fred Ellis and Anthony Jones were over. The winningest class in program history left Atlanta with 100 career victories and three postseason appearances - two Elite Eights and a spot in the NIT championship game. Yet, for all the criticism this team endured all season, it persevered. And it persevered because these men believed in ONE TEAM, ONE GOD, ONE GOAL.

Baylor's 2010 Elite Eight trip was a culture-changing performance for the program. Two years later, the Bears are expected to be NCAA tournament regulars. Prior to Scott Drew's arrival in 2003, Baylor had only three NCAA tournament appearances in 97 seasons. Now, Baylor has three trips in the last five seasons.

Here's a small look at what this senior class accomplished this season:

  • First 30-win season in program history, winning program-record 30 games
  • Set program record for conference wins (12)
  • Won multiple NCAA tournament games for the second time since 1948 (also won 3 games in 2010)
  • Second NCAA Elite Eight appearance in the last three seasons (one of only five schools to do so)
  • Second Big 12 Championship title game appearance (fourth conference tournament title game appearance)
  • Team-record GPA during the fall 2011 semester
  • Ranked in the Top 5 (AP and USA TODAY/ESPN) for a program-record three weeks
  • Ranked in the Top 10 for a program-record 15 weeks
  • Ranked in the Top 10 for a program-record 13 consecutive weeks
  • Ranked in the Top 15 for a program-record 19 consecutive weeks
  • Ranked in the final AP Top 25 poll (No. 9) for the second time in program history
  • Ranked as high as No. 3 in both polls -- highest ranking in program history
  • Ranked in the AP Top 25 during the month of March for the second time in program history 
  • Established program records for total home attendance (134,541) and per-game average (7,914)
  • Acy, Ellis and Jones finished as the winningest class in school history (100 wins)
  • Acy, Ellis and Jones won a school-record 35 career Big 12 games, becoming the first senior class to depart Baylor with a winning Big 12 record (35-31)
  • Acy concluded his stellar Baylor career as the second player in program history ranked in the Top 10 in scoring, rebounding, blocked shots and FG percentage

It seems much longer than four years ago that I first met this senior class. In fact, I hadn't been at Baylor much longer than Quincy or Anthony. Fred had just completed his redshirt season at Baylor. They were certainly a quiet bunch, but what has transpired in four years proves one thing - Coach Drew and his staff develop upstanding young men first, basketball players second. I watched these three grow up the past four years and they all have futures brighter than Baylor's "Electricity" uniforms.

Each senior class holds a special place in the collective hearts of Baylor Nation, but what these three have accomplished supersedes the previous classes. In 2008, Aaron Bruce and Mark Shepherd helped Baylor return from the brink with its first NCAA appearance in 20 years. In 2009, Curtis Jerrells, Henry Dugat, Kevin Rogers and Mamadou Diene led the Bears to the NIT championship game in New York City. In 2010, Tweety Carter and Josh Lomers (with help from Ekpe Udoh) had Baylor within four minutes of its first Final Four in 60 years. In 2011, LaceDarius Dunn ended his career as the all-time leading scorer in Baylor and Big 12 history. In 2012, Acy, Ellis and Jones proved to the nation that the Baylor basketball program is among the elite.

To Quincy, Fred and Anthony, Thank You for four great years.

For constant updates on all things Baylor basketball, follow the official Twitter feed of Baylor Basketball (@BaylorMBB).


Haven't We Been Here Before?
6:36 P.M. EDT, THU., MARCH 22, 2012
CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
Twitter: @BaylorMBB, @BaylorAthletics | Facebook: Baylor Athletics

Stop me if you've heard this one before...

Baylor's a No. 3 seed in the South Region, playing a very good No. 14 seed in the opening game. After a back-and-forth game, Baylor pulls away in the second half. Its second game is against an 11 seed, which upset a 6 seed in the first game. Baylor gets another battle, but a second-half run puts the game out of reach.

With the Bears advancing to the Sweet 16, Baylor faces its third double-digit seed and, even as the 3 seed, isn't considered the overwhelming favorite. Did I mention that the South Regional semifinals and final are in a domed stadium in a large Southern city?

The similarities between Baylor's Elite Eight of 2010 and its current postseason run of 2012 are scary. In 2010, Baylor knocked off 14 seed Sam Houston State 68-59. This year, Baylor held off 14 seed South Dakota State 68-60. In 2010, its second opponent was 11 seed Old Dominion, which upset 6 seed Notre Dame; Baylor defeated Old Dominion 76-68. Last week? Baylor defeated former Big 12 rival and 11 seed Colorado 80-63 after the Buffs upset 6 seed UNLV.

All that set up a Sweet 16 date with 10 seed Xavier at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Two years ago, Baylor met Cinderella and 10 seed Saint Mary's at Reliant Stadium in Houston. Saint Mary's was the favorite underdog to pull off the upset. However, Baylor led by nearly 30 at the half before running away with it, 72-49.

On top of that...the CBS talent for this weekend's games in Atlanta? The same as the 2010 NCAA South Regional semifinals and finals in Houston - Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg. The only difference is that they will be joined by sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson.

As was the case in 2010 against Duke, Baylor has a chance to face one of college basketball's most storied programs. If Baylor and Kentucky advance to Sunday's South Regional final, Baylor will have a chance to make its first Final Four trip since 1950.

So far, this year's story does have the same feeling as Baylor's 2010 Elite Eight run. Here's hoping our story continues with wins both Friday and Sunday.

For constant updates on all things Baylor basketball, follow the official Twitter feed of Baylor Basketball (@BaylorMBB).


Impressive On the Court, But More Impressive Off the Court
12:28 P.M. MDT, THU., MARCH 15, 2012
CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
Twitter: @BaylorMBB, @BaylorAthletics | Facebook: Baylor Athletics

Sure, the 9th-ranked Baylor Bears have posted some rather impressive numbers on the court.

  • 27 wins (one shy of the school record)
  • A school-record 12 conference wins
  • A second trip to the Big 12 Championship title game
  • A No. 3 seed in the South Regional
  • Ranked for 18 consecutive weeks (16 in the Top 10)
  • Ranked as high as No. 3 in the Top 25

But what the Bears have done off the court is much more impressive than any Quincy Acy rim-bending dunk, Pierre Jackson crossover or Perry Jones III alley-oop.

During our trip to Kansas City for the Big 12 Championship, Baylor players and coaches visited veterans at the Kansas City VA Hospital (Coach Drew's cousin, Dr. Tom Demark, is on staff at the hospital) and handed out t-shirts and signed autographs for several patients. Prior to Baylor's upset of No. 1 Kansas in Kansas City, the players made another special trip - this time to Children's Mercy Hospital to visit young cancer patients. Baylor has visited Mercy Hospital in each of its last three trips to Kansas City.

Baylor also had some special guests for Sunday's Selection Show. Nearly 50 children - along with their families - got an opportunity to take pictures, get autographs and hang out with the Baylor players, coaches, staff and their families as the Bears waited for their name to be called. The majority of the children are patients at McLane Children's Hospital in nearby Temple, Texas.

And then on Wednesday after practicing at The Pit, Baylor players and coaches (along with AD Ian McCaw and his son Paul) visited children at the UNM Children's Hospital here in Albuquerque. I've never seen a group of young men have a truly genuine interest in children like the Baylor basketball players. We weren't in the children's ward more than five minutes before freshman Quincy Miller was holding an infant girl. Within 30 seconds, a smile crossed her face. It was a truly amazing experience.

All the children were so happy to see the guys. Everyone posed for photos. PJ3 signed autographs; A.J. Walton, Pierre Jackson and Miller helped some of the kids play video games. Players then walked the sixth floor of the hospital, visiting various patient rooms.

I know Baylor Nation is extremely proud of how well our athletics programs, not just men's basketball, compete and win with class and integrity on the playing field. However, what our programs do off the court by giving back to the community should instill an amazing amount of pride in all of us. No matter how impressive these young men are on the court, I will forever be more impressed in who they are off the court.

For constant updates on all things Baylor basketball, follow the official Twitter feed of Baylor Basketball (@BaylorMBB).


Baylor's PJ Duo Picks Up CBSSports.com Honors
4:33 P.M., TUE., MARCH 13, 2012
CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
Twitter: @BaylorMBB, @BaylorAthletics | Facebook: Baylor Athletics

Sophomore Perry Jones III and junior Pierre Jackson were named to CBSSports.com's All-Big 12 second team Tuesday. Freshman Quincy Miller was named the Big 12 Freshman of the Year.

Here's the latest list of Baylor's postseason accomplishments:

QUINCY ACY
USBWA All-District VII
All-Glue team (SI) All-Big 12, second team (coaches, Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, San Antonio Express-News, Waco Tribune-Herald)
All-Big 12, honorable mention (AP)
Big 12 All-Defensive* (coaches)

BRADY HESLIP
Big 12 All-Tournament Team

PIERRE JACKSON
USBWA All-District VII
All-Big 12, first team (ESPN.com, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Kansas City Star, Waco Tribune-Herald)
All-Big 12, second team (AP, CBSSports.com, coaches, Dallas Morning News, San Antonio Express-News)
"Best Player in the Clutch" (ESPN.com)
Big 12 All-Rookie* (coaches)
Big 12 Newcomer of the Year (Waco Tribune-Herald)
Big 12 Transfer of the Year (ESPN.com)

PERRY JONES III
USBWA All-District VII
Big 12 All-Tournament Team
All-Big 12, second team (AP, CBSSports.com, ESPN.com, Kansas City Star)
All-Big 12, third team (coaches)

QUINCY MILLER
Big 12 Co-Freshman of the Year (coaches)
Big 12 Freshman of the Year (CBSSports.com, Sporting News)
All-Big 12, honorable mention (coaches)
Big 12 All-Rookie* (coaches)
Big 12 All-Freshman (Waco Tribune-Herald)

* - unanimous selection

For constant updates on all things Baylor basketball, follow the official Twitter feed of Baylor Basketball (@BaylorMBB).


Baylor in Unique Company
3:26 P.M., TUE., MARCH 13, 2012
CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
Twitter: @BaylorMBB, @BaylorAthletics | Facebook: Baylor Athletics

With both the men's and women's basketball teams dancing in March, Baylor joins a list of 11 schools in the country, including four in the Big 12, to have its football team play in a bowl game and to advance it's men's and women's basketball and women's volleyball teams to the NCAA postseason in 2011-12.

Baylor joins Cal, Florida, Kansas State, Iowa State, Louisville, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Purdue and Texas on the list.

Thanks to my counterpart at Kansas State, Tom Gilbert, who shared this excellent tidbit.

For constant updates on all things Baylor basketball, follow the official Twitter feed of Baylor Basketball (@BaylorMBB).


This Is #MarchMadness
3:50 P.M., MON., MARCH 12, 2012
CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
Twitter: @BaylorMBB, @BaylorAthletics | Facebook: Baylor Athletics

Dictionary.com has a definition for it. It's the time known as #MarchMadness, but the Madness isn't just limited to the NCAA Championship. Our #MarchMadness began last week in the City of Fountains, Kansas City, Mo. Kansas City and Sprint Center were excellent hosts - as always. One of the great things about the Big 12 Championship setup is that it prepares all of us - fans, coaches, players and people like me - for madness of the NCAA tournament.

The "Madness" began with Perry Jones III's career night against Kansas State, followed by Baylor's redemption win against top-seeded Kansas. And while Baylor did not win a Big 12 title, it is still the top 3 seed (No. 9 overall seed) in the upcoming tournament. And if you remember, Baylor also drew the 3 seed in the South back in 2010 - the year Baylor advanced to the Elite Eight in Houston.

The guys took a break from the basketball Madness...

Baylor players, coaches, staff and families watched the CBS Selection Show in the Stone Room at the Ferrell Center with some pretty special guests. The basketball team invited some children and their families from McLane Children's Hospital in Temple. Baylor players signed autographs and took photos with everyone in attendance. It was great to see all the kids share in the players' excitement for heading back to the postseason.

Then the media...

Once Baylor's name was revealed as the No. 3 seed in Albuquerque, members of the local media interviewed players and head coach Scott Drew. Once the media left the Stone Room, Coach Drew still had three more national radio interviews. On Monday morning, he was on the Big 12 Postseason Coaches Teleconference and made some social media history later...

Coach Drew became the first college coach to host a Google+ Hangout. He chatted with a handful of fans for almost 30 minutes, fielding questions about Baylor's NCAA second-round opponent, South Dakota State, among other topics. We think it went well and we're hoping to possibly to do it again soon.

That was a #MarchMadness Monday. What about Tuesday? Well, the guys will practice in the afternoon before boarding a charter flight to Albuquerque, N.M. Once we touch down, it's all business from there.

For constant updates on all things Baylor basketball, follow the official Twitter feed of Baylor Basketball (@BaylorMBB).


Strength Coach Charlie Melton Q&A Featured in March's YSCCa Newsletter
11:01 P.M., THU., MARCH 8, 2012
CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
Twitter: @BaylorMBB, @BaylorAthletics | Facebook: Baylor Athletics

One man that stays behind the scenes and deserves a lot of the credit for making Baylor's basketball team bigger and stronger is Strength & Conditioning Coach Charlie Melton. Melton is a big proponent of eating right and getting the maximum amount out of your body.

In the March edition of the Young Strength & Conditioning Coaches Association (YSCCa) newsletter, Coach Melton and two other strength coaches were featured, detailing their professional philosophies and workout practices. Here's Melton's Q&A portion:

Why do you do what do you? What is your motivation?
"I started out seeking to earn a job in this business because training hard and helping others train makes me happy. I understood a long time go that if I was able to be successful professionally in something that I love personally, then going to work every day would be easy. I love to be in an athletic environment motivating people to push themselves to higher levels. I love being a small part of a bigger purpose, serving my players and coaches. Now, 15 years down the road from when I began this pursuit, I love the job just as much. My motivation comes from using my skills and abilities in a way that serves the Lord and for providing for my three beautiful children."

What is the one piece of advice you would give to a coach looking for an internship/GA? First full-time job?
"Every intern/GA is going to have to do the grunt work. The obvious advice is show up early, stay late, clean everything, have initiative to do things without being told. However, your ability to create a coaching relationship with an athlete is crucial. You're not at the level of correct behavior or discipline, yet you must be able to gain their trust and earn their respect. At no point in time can you compromise your responsibility to your supervisor, but you must be able to carry out the objectives of your staff and serve the player. A typical mistake that young coaches make is being quiet in the weight room and not engaging athletes. Learn about the players, hometown, nickname, music, family life, strengths/weaknesses. You are there to serve the coaches you work for AND the athletes. Learn to differentiate between motivating athletes and coaching them. It has always been important as a full-time strength coach to serve the will of the coaches while implementing my philosophy. I learned a long time ago that it takes a while to gain the trust of a head coach/coaching staff."

How do you evaluate and continue to educate those that work with you? Yourself?
"In terms of evaluating potential assistants/students, there are several key areas for me: initiative, work ethic, professionalism, and discipline. I will never be the type of coach to tell someone every step of every project or provide a detailed check list of things "to do." I feel that some things go without saying, have initiative and use your mind to figure out how to do something. If you've watched our dynamic warmup for a month and you cannot take an athlete through it when I ask, I lose trust. The best way for an assistant to learn is for them to be in the weight room training and putting themselves through exercises and workouts that the players are doing. I personally have a passion for teaching Olympic lifting; however, when a student is working with us, they learn complexes, regression, progression, nearly every day we are training. Keep your eyes and ears open and be around as much as possible."

What is your philosophy behind your training methods? Periodization schemes?
"I design programs based on five core philosophies: 1) Specific Adaptation to imposed demand; 2) Reduction of Injury; 3) Progression/Regression (Motor Learning); 4) Force-Velocity Curve; and 5) Progressive Overload.

"Changes in structure and performance are dictated by hormonal and biochemical responses that are elicited through specific and accurate training programs over extended amounts of time. That is to say I must develop programs for individuals that change their bodies and physiological systems to meet the demands of their activities and that accurately improve their personal weaknesses. This focus falls under the philosophy of Specific Adaptation of Imposed Demand. The process of eliciting the proper change in individuals takes place on sport/role on the sport level and a personal level.

"Because this process takes place over long periods of time, I develop my training programs around two other related philosophies, 1) Reduction of Injury and 2) Progression/Regression. Simply stated, I must push my athletes to max levels at times, in several areas (conditioning, power, speed, and strength) in order to elicit significant adaption responses. The process of pushing the human body to those levels opens up the possibility of injury. On a daily level, my responsibility is to reduce the likelihood of injury and to at some level, continue to train through injury. In order to accomplish year-round training in a safe manner, I must progress training levels and activities at the proper pace. During time of recovery/restoration or injury, I must accurately regress those training levels/activities."

With regard to training basketball, what does your weekly conditioning breakdown look like? How many days a week? Focus? Volume? Conditioning standards?
"At Baylor, I'm blessed with a team that plays pickup and participates in extra shooting and individual workouts. I work a lot of injury reduction, strength and power training due to the team staying conditioned through the amount of extra work that they put in on a weekly basis. Sometimes I have to stay out of the way in order to keep them from overtraining.

"In the second summer session, we do extra conditioning on the floor on the days that they don't play pickup. Conditioning for me involves multi-directional drills that incorporate change of direction and plyometric-based obstacles. A thorough understanding of bio-energetics and work to rest ratios helps me to structure drills with a specific focus on specific energy systems. There are times that we use classic conditioning drills (300yd shuttle, 17's, 22's, Ladders, etc.); however, we do so much line-to-line running during the season that I work hard to avoid that style of conditioning. This past summer, we did pool conditioning two days a week and reaped large benefits from staying off the floor."

What's your primary lower body strength movement?
"We perform a lot of various lower body strength and power drills. We utilize the squat at all points of the Force-Velocity Curve; however, we incorporate Dynamic Effect Bench squats for the majority of our heavy sessions."

What training aspect do you devote more of your time to in preparation for the season (strength, COD, speed)?
"Our major focus for preseason preparation is the expression of strength/power under fatigue. Conditioning takes a larger focus; however, we continue to work on strength/power/speed concurrently. We utilize a lot of mini-circuits, tabatas, and dynamic-effort protocols. However, we do have our classic 5x5 heavy/slow days, just less often. Each Tabata is four minutes long, followed with a two-minute simulated media break. This really helps to get our guys focused on going hard from media break to media break (every four minutes in a game)."

For constant updates on all things Baylor basketball, follow the official Twitter feed of Baylor Basketball (@BaylorMBB).


Postseason Honors Pouring In
12:25 P.M., TUE., MARCH 6, 2012
CHRIS YANDLE (EMAIL)
Twitter: @BaylorMBB, @BaylorAthletics | Facebook: Baylor Athletics

Why the obligatory Quincy Acy post-dunk-scream photo? One reason, in particular: Acy was one of six players named to the 2012 SI All-Glue team by Seth Davis. A very deserving honor for Q1. The second half of #QSquared, Quincy Miller, was tabbed Big 12 Freshman of the Year by Sporting News.

The forwards Quincy join Pierre Jackson and Perry Jones III as part of Baylor's postseason honorees. Among his many honors thus far, Jackson was named "Best Player in the Clutch" by ESPN.com's Jason King.

More honors and awards will be announced in the coming weeks. Here's the latest list of Baylor's individual season honors:

QUINCY ACY
USBWA All-District VII
All-Glue team (SI)
All-Big 12, second team (coaches, Dallas Morning News)
All-Big 12, honorable mention (AP)
Big 12 All-Defensive* (coaches)

DEUCE BELLO
Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll (fall 2011)

FRED ELLIS
Academic All-Big 12, first team
Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll (fall 2011)

GARY FRANKLIN
Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll (fall 2011)

BRADY HESLIP
Big 12 Rookie of the Week (Dec. 26)
Academic All-Big 12, second team
Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll (fall 2011)

PIERRE JACKSON
Bob Cousy Award Finalist
USBWA All-District VII
All-Big 12, first team (ESPN.com, Kansas City Star)
All-Big 12, second team (AP, coaches, Dallas Morning News)
Big 12 All-Rookie* (coaches)
"Best Player in the Clutch" (ESPN.com)
Big 12 Transfer of the Year (ESPN.com)
Big 12 Rookie of the Week (Jan. 16)
Big 12 Rookie of the Week (Feb. 6)
Big 12 Rookie of the Week (March 4)

PERRY JONES III
Naismith Trophy Midseason 30
Oscar Robertson Trophy Midseason Watch List
John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top 25
USBWA All-District VII
All-Big 12, second team (AP, ESPN.com, Kansas City Star)
All-Big 12, third team (coaches)
Big 12 Co-Player of the Week (Dec. 19)
Big 12 Co-Player of the Week (Jan. 16)

QUINCY MILLER
Big 12 Co-Freshman of the Year (coaches)
Big 12 Freshman of the Year (Sporting News)
All-Big 12, honorable mention (coaches)
Big 12 All-Rookie* (coaches)

JACOB NEUBERT
Big 12  Commissioner's Honor Roll (fall 2011)
* -- unanimous selection

For constant updates on all things Baylor basketball, follow the official Twitter feed of Baylor Basketball (@BaylorMBB).

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