Number 17 on Halloween 2:14 p.m. Friday, October 31, 2008 Chris Yandle (Got a comment or a question? E-mail me)
It's Halloween Friday and, while we are all eagerly awaiting Baylor's Homecoming game with Missouri tomorrow afternoon at Floyd Casey, the Bears' exhibition game with Tarleton State (have I mentioned my nifty web countdown lately?) is a week from tomorrow. And, the Bears continue to catch the attention of several national media outlets. Earlier today, CollegeHoops.net - which is doing a series of Top 144 previews - announced Baylor at No. 17 in its Top 144 poll (but, FCP already knew that several weeks back as it was printed in this year's Baylor Basketball Media Guide).
Brian Skinner Makes Clippers Re-Debut Former Baylor Bear Brian Skinner made his second debut with the Los Angeles Clippers Wednesday night. Skinner played 27 minutes, scoring 2 points, while grabbing 5 rebounds. You know what's cool? You can download a Brian Skinner Web Widget on NBA.com...
It is What It is 9:21 a.m. Thursday, October 30, 2008 Chris Yandle (Got a comment or a question? E-mail me)
As advertised here first on FCP last Wednesday, the 2008-09 USA Today/ESPN Top 25 Preseason Coaches' Poll was unveiled in this morning's print (and online) edition of USA Today. While the Bears didn't make the preseason Top 25 poll, the Bears were among 19 schools receiving votes.
So, when you break it down, BAYLOR NATION, don't look at it as the Bears not making the Top 25...Baylor is technically No. 29 in the nation, according to the USA Today/ESPN Board of Coaches. We here at FCP like positive spin.
Now, That's What I Call a Preview 12:09 p.m. Wednesday, October 29, 2008 Chris Yandle (Got a comment or a question? E-mail me)
We're halfway home this Homecoming week and, with the Bears' first (and only) exhibition game merely 10 days away (yes, I will be constantly plugging my nifty web counter), FCP will reserve today for Blue Ribbon's Baylor season preview - courtesy of ESPN Insider.
Don't have an ESPN Insider subscription? Alas, avid readers - FCP will give you some insight into Blue Ribbon's Baylor preview. And, if you are an ESPN Insider, I implore you to read the season preview in its entirety. Here's the abridged version of Blue Ribbon's preseason shakedown:
BLUE RIBBON ANALYSIS BACKCOURT: A BENCH/DEPTH: B+ FRONTCOURT: C+ INTANGIBLES: A
"At the risk of sounding repetitive, to paraphrase Drew, there's a difference between being the hunter as opposed to the hunted. That's not to say opposing teams were taking the Bears lightly last season, but there's a mindset, and Baylor was still Baylor. Washington State dealt with a similar experience last season and actually equaled its unexpected success from 2006-07. On paper, there is no question Baylor should be better this time around, if not significantly so...As Drew puts the final touches on the Rebuilding Job of the Decade, if not the Century, we like Baylor to win 26-27 games and push Oklahoma and Texas into the final week of Big 12 play. The Bears should be at worst a No. 4-seeded team on Selection Sunday and with one of the nation's elite backcourts, they have a legitimate chance of playing into the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament."
Alright, so I cheated and just pasted Blue Ribbon's final analysis, but FCP thought that was the best part. Don't you agree? You wanna know what else is good about today? This guy. And, Boom goes the Dynamite.
It's Never Too Early for Bracketology 8:25 a.m. Tuesday, October 28, 2008 Chris Yandle (Got a comment or a question? E-mail me)
It's Tuesday - one of my favorite days of the week (mainly because it's not Monday). We play three games on Tuesday this season, beginning with our formerly-road-but-now-our-home game with the Centenary Gents on Nov. 18 at 3 p.m. (a game featured on ESPN's College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon). Also on the Tuesday docket this season: Texas (Jan. 27) and Iowa State (Feb. 24).
All month long, FoxSports.com has been publishing its favorite lists - among those are its 'High-tempo teams' to watch for during the 2008-09 season. While Baylor has yet to be featured in FoxSports.com's Top 25 countdown - give me a top 10, will ya? - the Bears are among the nation's most-potent offenses.
Ok, I'll stop right there...Here's the skinny, courtesy of Jameson Fleming from the Bleacher Report: "The Big 12's best offense returns five of its top six scorers, including four players who hit at tleast 40 3-pointers in 2008. Coach Scott Drew has quickly turned around a Baylor program sunk by tragedy and violations with a high-scoring machine. Drew employs a three-guard offense using upperclassmen Tweety Carter, Henry Dugat and Curtis Jerrells to perfection, but his best player might be the Big 12's best sixth man, sophomore LaceDarius Dunn."
Here are the final three - No. 6 Tennessee, No. 7 Cal State Fullerton (a potential opponent at the 76 Classic in Anaheim) and No. 8 Memphis. Not a bad group, if I should say so myself.
October Bracketology Practice may have just started last week and other teams may be prepping for their first exhibition game (see Baylor's Nov. 8 preseason matchup with Tarleton State at the FC). But, FCP firmly believes it is NEVER too early to discuss Bracketology. Where is Baylor predicted to go this early, you might ask? [Drum roll please...] The Hoops Report has the Bears as a No. 3 seed (paired with No. 14 Winthrop) in the Memphis Region (Baylor is the highest Big 12 seed in this edition of Bracketology; OU joins the Bears as a #3 seed in the Boston Region).
Someone's Got a Case of the Mondays 8:30 a.m. Monday, October 27, 2008 Chris Yandle (Got a comment or a question? E-mail me)
It's Monday morning and FCP is on assignment at the 2008 Baylor Intercollegiate in Dallas. So, what better way to kick off a new week than to talk Baylor hoops. We are now 12 days away from the Bears' exhibition showdown with Tarleton State. Don't believe me? Take a look at my nifty customized counter.
Now, here's a rundown of Baylor basketball in the news this morning...
Road to the Final Four at Ford Field: Top Guards in the Nation "They are a team's floor general, its sharp shooter or pure shooter. Guards come big...or come small...It's the size of the player's skills that matters the most..." - Jameson Fleming, T.O. Sports Magazine
No. 19 Senior Curtis Jerrells: "The Baylor basketball program has quickly been rising from the depths of tragedy and it's rise through the ranks started with guard Curtis Jerrells. The senior has averaged double-digits in points during each of his three seasons in Waco. Jerrells is the best player in one of the best all-around backcourts in college basketball. Jerrells will lead fellow stud guards Tweety Carter, Henry Dugat, and super sophomore LaceDarius Dunn into the NCAA Tournament." NOTE: CJ was the ONLY Big 12 guard listed in the top 20.
Gary Parrish's Top 40 Point and Combo Guards - CJ is listed as the Big 12's second-best guard behind Kansas' Sherron Collins...However, Jerrells didn't make the top 10 (Collins was No. 9) - CJ was listed at No. 20, ahead of fellow Big 12 floor general A.J. Abrams of Texas (No. 22).
Phil Collins is a Baylor Basketball Fan 9:11 a.m. Friday, October 24, 2008 Chris Yandle (Got a comment or a question? E-mail me)
Can you feel that? Apparently, Phil Collins is a Baylor Basketball fan (or at least whoever made the YouTube video likes Phil Collins and Baylor basketball). Loyal FCP readers - I leave you Friday with this video and, if this doesn't get you excited, well - you just need to get excited.
Big 12 Media Day Redux 4:40 p.m. Thursday, October 23, 2008 Chris Yandle (Got a comment or a question? E-mail me)
The 2008 edition of Big 12 Basketball Media Day is in the books. We ran a bit late departing Waco this morning, arriving in Oklahoma City at 9:20 a.m. Transportation waiting, we were whisked away to the Cox Convention Center in downtown OKC.
Head coach Scott Drew promptly addressed the media at 10:15 a.m. in the main interview room, while seniors Curtis Jerrells, Henry Dugat and Kevin Rogers fulfilled their television interview obligations. Coach Drew and the players continued to conduct interviews until our 1 p.m. departure. If you didn't get a chance to watch Coach Drew's media day press conference, you can view it here. A complete transcription of Coach Drew's press conference is also available (courtesy of ASAP Sports).
2 out of 6 isn't Bad 9:05 a.m. Wednesday, October 22, 2008 Chris Yandle (Got a comment or a question? E-mail me)
Yesterday, CollegeHoops.net highlighted the Top 6 players in the Big 12 this season. And, the more and more it goes, FCP is starting to really like this web site. Two of the top 6 players are Baylor Bears - CJ at No. 3 and Lace at No. 5. Dos Tres (Baylor's Ocho Cinco, Kevin Rogers) was one of four players listed next in line. On with the list...
1. Blake Griffin, Oklahoma 2. Damion James, Texas 3. CURTIS JERRELLS, BAYLOR - Baylor perhaps has the best pack of guards in the country and CJ is their pack leader. Able to knock it down from deep, score, rebound, pass and steal, Jerrells has been a solid contributor since stepping onto the Bears' campus as a freshman. 4. A.J. Abrams, Texas 5. LACEDARIUS DUNN, BAYLOR - Proving that you can be a star even if you don't start, Lace was an explosive presence for the Bears as a sixth man his freshman year. A dead-eye shooter (45% FG, 84% FT, 42% 3FG), he also is a solid rebounder for his size. Even rarer, he is a guard who averaged less than an assist a game last year - a textbook gunner. 6. Sherron Collins, Kansas Next in line: DeMarre Carroll, Missouri; James Anderson, Oklahoma State; KEVIN ROGERS, BAYLOR; Willie Warren, Oklahoma.
Preseason Coaches' Poll Countdown...8-plus days and counting If you are like FCP, you are anxiously awaiting the release of the USA Today/ESPN Top 25 Coaches' Poll. While FCP does not have a running counter to celebrate the poll's unveiling, USAToday.com does.
Big 12 Media Day Be sure to check back tomorrow for FCP's recap of Big 12 Men's Basketball Media Day in Oklahoma City. FCP and his entourage - head coach Scott Drew, CJ, Hendu, K-Rog and John Morris - are scheduled to arrive in OKC around 9 a.m. Thursday. Don't forget - fans can watch the live stream of the press conferences from media day via Big12Sports.com.
And, Boom Goes the Dynamite.
CBSSports.com's Top 25 (and one) 2:34 p.m. Monday, October 20, 2008 Chris Yandle (Got a comment or a question? E-mail me)
CBSSports.com Senior Writer Gary Parrish unveiled his preseason Top 25 (and one) poll Monday. The verdict? Baylor comes in as Parrish's (and one) team at No. 26. Baylor is one of only three Big 12 schools represented on the list, joining Texas (No. 12) and Oklahoma (No. 20).
Big 12 Media Day 11:09 a.m. Monday, October 20, 2008 Chris Yandle (Got a comment or a question? E-mail me)
The 2008 Big 12 Men's and Women's Basketball Media Days will be held Wednesday, Oct. 22 and Thursday, Oct. 23 in Oklahoma City - the site of the 2009 Big 12 Championships. Fans can watch the live stream of the press conferences from media day.
Representing Baylor on Thursday will be head coach Scott Drew and seniors Curtis Jerrells, Henry Dugat and Kevin Rogers.
It's Official: Hoops Season is Here 10:46 p.m. Friday, October 17, 2008 Chris Yandle (Got a comment or a question? E-mail me)
Head coach Scott Drew and the Baylor Bears hit the floor promptly at 7:30 p.m. this evening at the Ferrell Center. While some schools across the country were participating in Midnight Madness festivities, the Bears were all business tonight in their first practice of the season. FCP thinks it's going to be a fun year!
Practice?! We're Talking About Practice! 9:15 a.m. Friday, October 17, 2008 Chris Yandle (Got a comment or a question? E-mail me)
The second-most anticipated day of the 2008-09 basketball season is finally here - the first official day of practice. Yes, practice. Not a game, practice. Allen Iverson's 3-minute siloloquy about practice - which mentioned the word 'practice' 24 1/2 times - became legendary. How many times can I say the word practice? So far - 8 times (if you include today's headline).
Preseason Preview: Sporting News [No. 25] Baylor snuck into Sporting News' Top 25 poll at - you guessed it - No. 25. "The Bears had lifted themselves from the mat in a way few other programs have, getting to the NCAA Tournament in a year when the Big 12 was at its best," Sporting News correspondent and Kansas City Star writer Blair Kerkhoff said. "It's a remarkable accomplishment to consider an NCAA trip is a foregone conclusion and a deep run isn't out of the question this season."
Dickie V's All-Solid Gold Team Dick Vitale's preseason All-Solid Gold squads slipped in under FCP's radar Monday, but it's never too late to backtrack. Senior Curtis Jerrells made Dickie V's list of honorable mention selections...
Don't Miss Coach Drew on ESPNU Tonight at 11:30 p.m. Head coach Scott Drew will be one of the coaches from around the country featured on ESPNU's Expanded Midnight Madness Coverage tonight. ESPNU's four-hour special will begin at 8 p.m., complementing on-site coverage. Got a question for the coaches featured on Friday's show? You can submit them here.
Finally... The gridiron Bears (featuring leading receiver and freshman guard Kendall Wright) travel to Stillwater, Okla., to face the No. 8/10 Oklahoma State Cowboys Saturday at 2:05 p.m. Sic 'em, Bears.
And, Boom Goes the Dynamite.
Thursday's Connected to Friday 9:25 a.m. Thursday, October 16, 2008 Chris Yandle (Got a comment or a question? E-mail me)
We are less than 36 hours away from the first practice of the 2008-09 season and, since Thursday is connected to Friday, it's practically the weekend.
Preseason Preview: Blue Ribbon [No. 16] For the next few weeks, ESPN.com will be posting conference-by-conference previews from Blue Ribbon and while the Big 12 preview is still a few days away, FCP has an exclusive excerpt from Baylor's preview:
At the risk of sounding repetitive, to paraphrase Drew, there's a difference between being the hunter as opposed to the hunted. That's not to say opposing teams were taking the Bears lightly last season but there's a mindset, and Baylor was still Baylor. Coaches can preach until there are no words left in the dictionary, but with 19- and 20-year old kids, it is what it is and that's why some teams finish 18-2 at home and 2-10 on the road. Washington State dealt with a similar experience last season and actually equaled its unexpected success from 2006-07.
On paper, there is no question that Baylor should be better this time around, if not significantly so. The only loss is Aaron Bruce...As Drew puts the final touches of the 'Rebuilding Job of the Decade,' if not the Century, we like Baylor to win 26-27 games and push Oklahoma and Texas into the final week of Big 12 play. The Bears should be at worst a No. 4 seed on Selection Sunday and with one of the nation's elite backcourts, they have a legitimate chance of playing into the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament.
Preseason Preview: Rivals.com [No. 28] The Bears have little basketball history - at least the good kind - but last season's breakthrough should not be viewed as an anomaly. All the key pieces return, including a talented group of guards that would start for most top-25 teams. A good recruiting class adds more depth. The Bears will continue to be a difficult matchup because of their offensive ability. Defense probably will remain a weakness. But as long as the Bears can at least slow their opponents a bit, they'll be back in the NCAA Tournament. This season, they won't have to sweat another Selection Sunday. The Big 12 isn't as strong as last season, and the non-conference schedule is relatively mild. We believe they'll have an at-large bid locked up by the start of the league tournament.
Lindy's Top Backcourts 1. UCLA 2. North Carolina 3. Marquette 4. Notre Dame 5. Memphis 6. Gonzaga 7. UConn 8. Duke 9. BAYLOR 10. Davidson
Here's Lindy's take on Baylor's foursome: "A second consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament will be in the offing if the Bears' backcourt play is as solid as can be expected considering the number of quality guards coach Scott Drew returns. Curtis Jerrells is as good a point guard as there is in the Big 12 and most other conferences, as well. Henry Dugat is another four-year starter. Tweety Carter became a much more consistent jump shooter as a sophomore. LaceDarius Dunn, at 6-4, can match up with bigger guards by swinging from forward."
CJ No.9 on Doug Gottlieb's Top Point Guard List CJ's name was once again mentioned among the nation's best in Doug Gottlieb's column on ESPN.com in September. CJ was listed No. 9 on Gottlieb's Top 10 and was the ONLY Big 12 player on the list. "CJ is a left-handed scoring point who has great balance off the dribble or the catch with his jump shot," Gottlieb said.
Lace Named to Rivals "All-Sixth Man" Team LaceDarius Dunn, one of the nation's top sixth men, was named to Andrew Skwara's (of Rivals.com) All-Sixth Man team. Here's the rest of the team.
Stop the Presses 9:49 a.m. Wednesday, October 15, 2008 Chris Yandle (Got a comment or a question? E-mail me)
Preseason Preview: Athlon Sports [No. 19] Not only did Athlon Sports put Jerrells on the cover, the magazine listed Baylor No. 19 in its preseason Top 25 poll. Athlon also predicted the Bears as a No. 5 seed in the West Region against Conference USA member Tulsa with BU moving on to the second round.
Jerrells, Kevin Rogers and LaceDarius Dunn were picked All-Big 12 by Athlon, while Dunn was listed as a SuperSoph. Want to read more about Athlon's preseason assessment of the Bears? Click here.
Rank 'Em: Andy Katz's Top 25 Yesterday I mentioned that Andy Katz announced his final Top 25 before the start of the regular season. Notably, Katz listed North Carolina at No. 1 and the Bears No. 25. Don't agree? You can submit your rankings and see how the rest of SportsNation voted.
Dickie V's Preseason Top 40 National media (with the exception of Lindy's) has been giving much love to the Bears, including Dickie V, baby! Dickie V has Baylor at No. 30 and had this to say: "Scott Drew has rebuilt this program in a short time. Remember the name LaceDarius Dunn!"
Speaking of Lace...
College Basketball Top 10 Sleepers 1. Austin Daye, Sophomore, Small Forward (Gonzaga) 2. Dar Tucker, Sophomore, Small Forward (DePaul) 3. Gani Lawal, Sophomore, Power Forward (Georgia Tech) 4. Chandler Parsons, Sophomore, Small Forward (Florida) 5. James Anderson, Sophomore, Shooting Guard (Oklahoma State) 6. Evan Turner, Sophomore, Shooting Guard (Ohio State) 7. Lee Cummard, Senior, Shooting Guard (BYU) 8. LACEDARIUS DUNN, SOPHOMORE, SHOOTING GUARD (BAYLOR) 9. Chris Johnson, Senior, Center (LSU) 10. Larry Sanders, Sophomores, Power Forward (VCU)
ESPNU's Expanded Midnight Madness Coverage on Friday ESPNU will televise four hours of Midnight Madness coverage beginning at 8 p.m. (CT) on Friday, Oct. 17. Complementing on-site coverage, ESPNU signature anchor Lowell Galindo will be joined in studio by college basketball analyst Adrian Branch and ESPN.com senior writer Andy Katz. In addition, the show will feature interviews with coaches from around the country, including Baylor's own Scott Drew.
Preseason Promise 3:29 p.m. Tuesday, October 14, 2008 Chris Yandle (Got a comment or a question? E-mail me)
SI.com's Top Backcourts 1. North Carolina - Tywon Lawson, Wayne Ellington, Bobby Frasor, Danny Green 2. UCLA - Darren Collison, Jrue Holiday, Malcolm Lee, Jerime Anderson, Michael Roll 3. BAYLOR - Curtis Jerrells, Henry Dugat, Tweety Carter, LaceDarius Dunn 4. Marquette - Jerel McNeal, Dominique James, Wes Matthews, David Cubillan, Maurice Acker 5. UConn - A.J. Price, Kemba Walker, Jerome Dyson, Craig Austrie 6. USC - DeMar DeRozan, Daniel Hackett, Dwight Lewis 7. UAB - Robert Vaden, Paul Delaney III, Aaron Johnson, Channing Toney 8. Memphis - Antonio Anderson, Tyreke Evans, Willie Kemp, Doneal Mack, Wesley Witherspoon 9. Purdue - E'twaun Moore, Keaton Grant, Chris Kramer 10. Arizona State - James Harden, Ty Abbott, Derrek Glasser, Jerren Shipp The Next Five: Syracuse, Miami, Gonzaga, Villanova, Florida.
Preseason Preview: The Hoops Report [No. 12] All week long, FCP will feature links and snippets from various national media outlets that preview the Bears. Leading off is The Hoops Report which ranked Baylor No. 12 overall - the Bears' highest preseason rating. The Hoops Report's final synopsis:Last year's achievements and the amount of returning players have boosted Baylor's expectations for the 2008-09 season. The Bears' fourth place finish in the Big 12 last year was the best in school history. Baylor broke a ton of school records last season, but now they have a new goal they want to accomplish; not just make the NCAA tournament, but win their first NCAA tournament game since 1950.
Preseason Preview: Lindy's [Unranked] Surprisingly, Lindy's did not have Baylor in its top 25 OR its top 40. But, Curtis Jerrells is ranked as the 18th-best point guard in the nation, while he and his backcourt mates are the ninth-best guard set in the country. Jerrells, LaceDarius Dunn and Kevin Rogers each were picked All-Big 12 by Lindy's, while Jerrells was named the Big 12's Most Versatile.
FCP Ticker Senior guard Curtis Jerrells was named to the Preseason All-Big 12 team Tuesday morning...Diamond Head Classic, second major basketball tournament in Hawai`i, to begin in 2009...Freshman walk-on Kendall Wrightis turning heads on the football field for the Bears...ESPN's Andy Katz listed his final Top 25 before the start of the 2008-09 season last night. Baylor dropped four spots from its No. 21 ranking in June to No. 25.
Monday (Afternoon) Basketball 3:50 p.m. Monday, October 13, 2008 Chris Yandle (Got a comment or a question? E-mail me)
Behind the Scenes Hey Bear fans, welcome to Full Court Press - the behind-the-scenes blog covering Baylor Bears men's basketball. I'm Chris Yandle, the Assistant Director of Media Relations for the Bears, and I am in my first year at Baylor. I will be chronicling the team's journey throughout the 2008-09 season - we will have special guest blog appearances from players and coaches and we will feature aspects about life on the road. This season will sure to be a fun and exciting one. Sic `em Bears!
Baylor Nation rejoice - basketball season is almost here. It's been a little more than 200 days since Baylor's magical run to the 2008 NCAA Tournament, but national media has been buzzing about the Bears since their heartbreaking loss to Purdue in the first round. Coach Drew's squad hits the hardwood for its first official practice on Friday night and Full Court Press (FCP) will be providing updates on Baylor Bears basketball leading up to practice at 7:30 p.m.
Aussie, Aussie, Aussie! Oi, oi, oi! In August, former Baylor standout and 1,000-point club member Aaron Bruce returned to his native Australia to pursue a professional basketball career in the National Basketball League (NBL). The arrival of Bruce, who plays for the Adelaide 36ers, was well-documented.
2008-09 Media Guide Now Available Online The 2008-09 edition of the Baylor Bears Men's Basketball Media Guide is now available online.
FCP Ticker Baylor is tied with defending national champ Kansas for third in the Big 12 Preseason Basketball Poll...Senior guard Curtis Jerrells' name has been mentioned throughout the summer as one of the nation's best point guards...Former BU and NBA great David Wesley has returned to Baylor as a student manager, while finishing his undergraduate degree. David needs 33 hours to complete his bachelor's degree in physical education...Brian Skinner is a Clipper again. Skinner was drafted with the 22nd overall pick in the 1998 NBA Draft by the L.A. Clippers. He spent three seasons with L.A. and has played for nine teams in 10 seasons...Non-Baylor related - check out the sweet New Orleans Bucs throwbacks the Hornets will wear sometime this season...FCP thinks it won't be like Wednesdays with Webguy and simulate Baylor basketball games during the season because FCP believes this season will be better than anything simulated by NCAA Basketball 09...And, Boom Goes the Dynamite.