BAYLOR (17-7, 5-5) at OKLAHOMA (17-8, 5-5)
Feb. 19, 2008 Lloyd Noble Center (Norman, Okla.) 7:00 p.m. CST
RADIO: Baylor-ISP Sports Radio Network (ESPN/KRZI 1660AM Waco / KVCE 1160AM Dallas / Sirius Satellite ch. 161)
INTERNET AUDIO: live broadcast at BaylorBears.com
TELEVISION: ESPN Plus [complete TV listings]
INTERNET VIDEO: none
LIVE STATS: live GameTracker stats at BaylorBears.com
Baylor travels to Norman, Okla., and attempts to end a three-game losing streak Tuesday, Feb. 19, when it faces Oklahoma at the Lloyd Noble Center. The game will tip off at 7 p.m. CST and will be televised live regionally via ESPN Plus syndicated stations. Baylor is 17-7 overall and has matched its best start ever in Big 12 play with a 5-5 record. The Bears have lost three straight games, most recently an 82-77 decision vs. Texas in Waco Saturday. Oklahoma is 17-8, 5-5 in the Big 12, and riding a two-game winning streak after a 66-64 win at Texas Tech Saturday. Baylor is 7-4 away from home this season, 4-3 in true road games; Oklahoma is 11-3 at home. Baylor has lost 27 straight games to Oklahoma (Iast win in 1977), including a 77-71 defeat last month in Waco. Baylor has lost its last three games in Norman by an average of 37.0 points.
BU has lost 27 straight games to OU dating to a 75-69 win in Norman Dec. 6, 1977.
Baylor has lost its last 3 games at OU in Norman by an average score of 91.3-54.3.
Baylor's 17-7 record is its best 24-game start since the `81-82 Bears began 17-7.
BU's 5-5 record matches its best ever in Big 12 play (opened 5-5 in 1997-98).
BU's 17 wins surpasses last season's win total & marks the most wins in Drew Era; also most wins since winning 19 in 2000-01 (last postseason berth; NIT).
In conference play, BU leads the Big 12 in scoring (81.4) free throw shooting (78.1%) & 3-pointers (8.0).
4 Baylor players average double-figures in scoring.
Baylor's 74.6 free throw % leads the Big 12 (25th nationally).
BU is 15-0 this season when totaling a higher FG% than its opponents and 2-7 when not. In the Drew Era, BU is 47-7 when outshooting its opponents and 6-69 when not.
Baylor is 5-0 in its last 5 overtime games (since 2003).
Baylor has used the same starting lineup in all 24 games this season.
Baylor's 12 pre-conference wins mark the most in school history.
LaceDarius Dunn is averaging 22.7 points over the last 3 games.
Aaron Bruce is averaging 4.2 points over the last 5 games (shooting 17.6% 3s).
Mamadou Diene leads the Big 12 with a 2.4 blocks average in conference games.
LaceDarius Dunn's 87.8 FT% in conference games leads the Big 12.
Mamadou Diene has shot 18-for-20 (90.0%) from FT line the last 10 games (4-11 in first 7 games).
LaceDarius Dunn's 41.5 3-point % (2nd in Big 12) is top all-time for a BU freshman.
Aaron Bruce ranks 7th on BU's all-time scoring list (1,294 career points).
Mamadou Diene is the Big 12's active leader in career blocks in league games (71).
Curtis Jerrells ranks 17th on BU's all-time scoring list (1,051 career points).
Baylor is 13-2 this season when Aaron Bruce scores in double-digits.
Baylor won the 2007 Paradise Jam, its first non-hosted tourney title since 1971.
HEAD COACH Scott Drew
Scott Drew, in his fifth season at Baylor in what many have called the most daunting rebuilding project in college basketball history, owns a four-year mark of 53-76 at the school and a career record of 73-87 (six seasons). Drew's 53 wins rank eighth on Baylor's all-time coaching victories list (in seventh place on the list is Harry Miller with 56 career victories). Prior to Baylor, Drew spent 10 seasons at Valparaiso, the last as head coach after nine seasons as an assistant to his father Homer. During his decade at Valpo, the Crusaders earned six NCAA Tournament berths, including five straight from 1996-2000. An outstanding recruiter, Drew is responsible for five national Top-20 recruiting classes over the last eight years (No. 17 in 2006, No. 11 in 2005 and No. 10 in 2004 at Baylor; No. 6 in 2001 and No. 13 in 1999 at Valpo). He was named the 1998-99 National Recruiter of the Year by Court Vision.
THE OKLAHOMA SOONERS
Head Coach: Jeff Capel (Duke, 1997); 112-64, 6 seasons
Series vs. Baylor: OU leads 32-5
Last meeting: OU 77-71, Jan. 26, 2008 in Waco
Streak: OU won 27 straight
Series at Norman: OU leads 15-2
Drew vs. OU: 0-9
OU NOTES: The Sooners have beaten Baylor in 27 consecutive games dating back to 1977 (12 straight in Norman), including a 77-71 win earlier this season in Waco... Oklahoma is 11-3 at home this season... OU is led by freshman sensation Blake Griffin, who averages 14.6 points and 8.9 rebounds per game... Senior C Longar Longar averages 12.7 points and 5.7 rebounds... Griffin shoots a league-best 56.7 percent from the field... The Sooners are holding opponents to a 31.1 3-point shooting percentage (second-lowest in Big 12)... Oklahoma has beaten Baylor by scores of 103-60 (2005), 80-52 (2006) and 91-51 (2007) in the last three meetings in Norman.
IMPROVING ROAD FORTUNES
TRUE ROAD GAMES (4-3 in '07-08):
The Bears are 4-3 this season on opponents' home courts, reversing a 2-37 record in 39 true road games before this season (from 2002-03 to 2006-07).
BIG 12 ROAD GAMES (2-3 in '07-08):
Baylor is 2-3 this season on the road in Big 12 games, the win in its first road game Jan. 19 snapped a 25-game losing streak prior to this season (dating to 2004).
ALL AWAY GAMES (7-4 in '07-08):
Baylor is 7-4 this season away from Waco (4-3 in true road games, 3-1 at neutral sites). The Bears were 4-41 in their previous 45 games outside of Waco before this season (from 2003 to 2007).
BEARS HOT START VS. LOSING SKID
After racing to four straight wins to open conference play (the last an epic 116-110 five-overtime win at Texas A&M) and its first national ranking since 1969, Baylor has dropped five of its last six games. The following chart is a statistical look at the four-game start vs. the six-game slide:
First 4 gms Last 6 gms W/L Record: 4-0 1-5 Scoring margin: +5.8 -5.5 3-Point Field Goal %: .366 .324 Opp. Field Goal %: .401 .471 Steals: 9.3 5.7 Jerrells Assists/Turnovers: 13/7 18/19 Bruce Scoring (3FG%): 13.8 (46.7%) 5.2 (23.8%) Dugat Scoring (3FG%): 17.0 (55.6%) 11.3 (31.6%)
BEST STARTS SINCE...
OVERALL: Baylor's 17-7 record is its best 24-game start since the 1981-82 squad opened 17-7. [`81-82 Bears lost 25th game, last team to start 18-7 or better was 1947-48 squad that began 20-5 en route the the 1948 national championship game].
BIG 12: Baylor's 5-5 record in Big 12 play matched it's best start ever in the Big 12, equalling the 5-5 open of the 1997-98 Bears ('97-98 squad won its 11th game en route to an 8-8 finish, BU's best record in 11 previous Big 12 seasons).
SUCCESS FROM THE LINE
Baylor has been incredibly successful from the foul line this season. The Bears shoot 74.6 percent from the line (378-507), which is tops in the Big 12 Conference and currently ranks 25th nationally. That percentage is on pace to be the third-best figure in school history. Baylor is led individually from the line by freshman G LaceDarius Dunn (84.3%, second in Big 12), senior G Aaron Bruce (81.1%), junior F Kevin Rogers (79.4%) and junior G Curtis Jerrells (75.0%, ninth in Big 12). In conference games, Dunn leads the Big 12 with an 87.8 percentage, Rogers ranks fifth (81.1%) and junior G Henry Dugat ranks 14th (76.5%).
BEARS CONTINUE MASSIVE REBUILDING PROCESS
The 2007-08 season is head coach Scott Drew's fifth in the unprecedented overhaul that began at Baylor in 2003. After taking over a program decimated by tragedy, player departures, depleted rosters and NCAA restrictions, Drew has slowly and methodically turned the program around by recruiting a solid foundation of talented high school players that, after earning valuable playing experience, are posting impressive results. After fighting their way to a 15-16 record last season (the first in the Drew Era without restrictions), the Bears have run off a 17-7 record this season, including a 5-5 mark in the Big 12.
BAYLOR'S BACKCOURT: "IN GUARDS WE TRUST"
Baylor's strength in 2007-08 once again lies in its talented backcourt full of combo guards. The Bears utilize a rotation of five guards that each average 20-plus minutes per game. The quintet is made up of four veterans; senior Aaron Bruce (9.8 ppg, 23.0 mpg), juniors Curtis Jerrells (14.8 ppg, 30.5 mpg) and Henry Dugat (11.8 ppg, 26.3 mpg) and sophomore Tweety Carter (8.6 ppg, 23.9 mpg); and true freshman standout LaceDarius Dunn (13.3 ppg, 21.2 mpg). The fivesome accounts for 71 percent of the team's scoring (average 57.0 points) and shoots 37.7 percent on 3-pointers.
SEASON OF FIRSTS & BROKEN STREAKS
Baylor's turnaround season in 2007-08 has included various program `firsts' and several streaks being snapped. Complete list below:
First Top-25 ranking since 1969 (BU ranked in Jan. 21 & Jan. 28 AP polls)
First back-to-back weekly rankings in school history (Jan. 21 & 28)
First win over ranked opp. since 2003 [broke 29-gm losing streak] (116-110 over #16 TAMU)
Most wins since 2000-01 (17)
First true road win since 2004 [broke 25-gm losing streak] (92-84 win at USC Dec. 19)
First road win in Big 12 since 2004 [broke 25-gm losing streak] (72-70 win at NU Jan. 19)
Best start (16-2) since 1946
First 4-0 start in Big 12 since 1998
Most pre-conference wins in school history (12)
First 8-team tournament title since 1968 (BU won 2007 Paradise Jam)
First 5-overtime game in Baylor & Big 12 history (116-110 win over Texas A&M Jan. 23)
Most Big 12 weekly honorees ever (4: Jerrells 2 POW, Rogers POW, Dunn ROW)
BEARS QB JERRELLS BURSTS INTO 1,000-POINT CLUB
Curtis Jerrells recently became the 20th player in Baylor history to reach the 1,000-point plateau and has now climbed to 17th on BU's career scoring list. He is leading the Bears in scoring (14.8 ppg, eighth in Big 12), assists (3.5 apg, ninth in Big 12) and minutes (30.5 mpg) for the third straight season. He has twice earned Big 12 Player of the Week honors this season: Jan. 28 after exploding for 36 points in Baylor's epic five-overtime win at Texas A&M; and Nov. 19 after leading leading Baylor to the championship of the 2007 Paradise Jam (was named tournament MVP). The junior guard has started all 72 career games since arriving at Baylor, was a preseason All-Big 12 selection by the league coaches, Athlon and Lindy's, and a Cousy Award nominee. In conference games, Jerrells ranks fourth in scoring (16.3 ppg), ninth in assists (3.1 apg) and sixth in steals (1.6 spg). Jerrells ranks 10th in school history in assists (257) and 17th in scoring (1,051). He recently became the first alum of Del Valle High School in Austin to have his No. 0 jersey retired.
TRUE FRESHMAN DUNN PUTTING TOGETHER BREAKOUT SEASON OFF BENCH
True freshman LaceDarius Dunn has made an immediate impact on a Baylor squad stocked with talented guards. The highly recruited rookie from Monroe, La., has averaged 22.7 points over the last three games. Dunn is second on the team in scoring (13.3 ppg) and fourth in rebounds (4.0 rpg), despite playing just 21.2 minutes per game off the bench and playing through a knee injury. His 41.5 3-point percentage ranks second in the Big 12 and is on pace to be the top percentage ever recorded by a Baylor freshman (and the fourth-best overall single-season percentage in school history). Dunn's 84.3 free throw percentage (59-70) is second in the Big 12. Dunn was named the Big 12 Rookie of the Week Nov. 26 after leading BU to wins over Winthrop in the Paradise Jam championship and over Centenary and he has notched four 20-plus scoring games. Dunn is the highest-rated BU signee in recent memory (rated the nation's No. 24 recruit by Scout.com). He was named the "Best Perimeter Scorer" among incoming Big 12 newcomers by Rivals.com.
MR. ROGERS PILING UP DOUBLE-DOUBLES
Junior forward Kevin Rogers is averaging 12.0 points and a team-high 8.0 rebounds (fifth in Big 12) this season. He has recorded eight double-doubles on the season, including four in league games. In conference games Rogers is averaging 11.9 points and 10.1 rebounds (fourth in Big 12). He was named the Big 12 Player of the Week Dec. 24 after averaging 16.5 points and 11.0 rebounds while leading Baylor to road wins at South Carolina and Southern. Rogers was named to the 2007 Big 12 All-Improved team after a sophomore season in which he doubled his scoring (12.8 from 6.1 ppg) and nearly doubled his rebounding from his freshman season (7.6 from 4.0 rpg).
VETERAN BRUCE CLIMBING RECORD LISTS
Senior Aaron Bruce is averaging 9.8 points per game, shooting 38.2 percent on 3-pointers, 81.1 percent from the foul line and continuing his climb up the school's all-time records lists - most notably the career scoring chart. Bruce, Baylor's veteran-most player with 98 career games played, currently stands seventh all-time with 1,294 career points (complete list of his ranking on seven different Baylor career charts below). He recently became the fourth player in Baylor history to top 1,000 points and 300 assists (along with Vinnie Johnson, David Wesley and Micheal Williams). The guard was selected a preseason All-Rolls Royce (All-American) fourth-team selection by ESPN.com's Dick Vitale and was named the Big 12's "Best Leader" by the Sporting News preseason publication prior to his final season in Waco.
BRUCE ON BAYLOR'S CAREER RECORD LISTS
3-point FGs: No. 3 - 213
3-point FG %: No. 4 - 39.6%
Games Started: No. 4 - 98
Free Throw %: No. 5 - 81.5%
Assists: No. 6 - 309
Minutes Played: No. 6 - 2,917
Points scored: No. 7 - 1,294
BRUCE JOINS ELITE BAYLOR TRIO IN CAREER POINTS & ASSISTS
Aaron Bruce recently recorded his 300th career assist and became just the fourth Baylor player in school history to top 1,000 points (1,294) and 300 assists (309), joining Bear greats Vinnie Johnson (1,231/308), David Wesley (1,224/316) and Micheal Williams (1,854/464).
"FLASH" DUGAT USING ENERGY & QUICKNESS TO SPARK BEARS
Since re-entering the starting lineup this season, junior guard Henry Dugat has used his high energy and athleticism to boost Baylor during its turnaround season. In Big 12 Conference games, Dugat is averaging 13.6 points (13th in the Big 12), 4.9 rebounds, 1.5 steals (ninth in Big 12) and shooting 43.2 percent on 3-pointers. He has started all 24 games this season after finishing his sophomore year in the sixth man role. Dugat earned the nickname "Flash" from former teammate Tim Bush due to his quickness and style of play similarities to Dwyane Wade.
"THE MAYOR" BACK TO SHOT-BLOCKING WAYS WITH MENDED ANKLE
Mamadou Diene, a seven-foot junior from Senegal, has averaged 17.1 minutes off the bench in 17 games played since returning from an Oct. 25 procedure to repair a chronic stress fracture in his ankle (missed season's first seven games - had started all 43 games played in his freshman and sophomore seasons). His comfort level on the repaired ankle is evident by the return of his shot-blocking ability - he has totaled three-or-more blocks in eight of the last 12 games and he leads the Big 12 in blocks in conference games this season with a 2.4 average. Diene's 71 career blocks in Big 12 play is the most among the league's active players. He has recorded 111 career blocks and his 1.85 career blocks per game total is second all-time at Baylor behind only current Phoenix Suns Brian Skinner's 3.36 average (1994-98). Named the Big 12's "Best Shot Blocker" by the Sporting News preseason publication, Diene led the Big 12 in blocks as a freshman (2.3 bpg) and was third (1.6 bpg) in an injury-plagued sophomore season. He is referred to as "The Mayor" due to his huge popularity across campus.
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE SHOOTING PERCENTAGE
One significant statistical indicator to Baylor's success in winning games is field goal percentage, offensively and defensively. This season, Baylor is a perfect 15-0 when totaling a higher shooting percentage than it opponents, and conversely is 2-7 when its opponents shoot a higher percentage. Further, in five seasons under Scott Drew Baylor has accumulated a 47-7 record when outshooting opponents and a 6-69 record when being outshot by opponents.
MILESTONES & RECORDS WATCH
Scott Drew is 3 coaching wins shy of moving into 7th place (53, Harry Miller No. 7 with 56) on Baylor's career coaching victories list.
Aaron Bruce is 1 assist shy of moving into 5th place & 5 shy of 4th place (309, DeMarcus Minor No. 5 with 310; Jay Shakir No. 4 with 314) on Baylor's career assists list.
Curtis Jerrells is 2 points shy of moving into 16th place & 11 shy of 15th place (1,051, Jerry Mallet No. 16 with 1,053; Arthur Edwards No. 15 with 1,062) on Baylor's career scoring list.
Aaron Bruce is 66 points shy of moving into 6th place (1,294, Darrell Hardy No. 6 with 1,360) on Baylor's career scoring list.
Aaron Bruce is 3 3-pointers shy of moving into 6th place (129, Texas A&M's Bernard King No. 6 with 132) on Big 12's career 3-pointers in conference games list.
LaceDarius Dunn is 1 3-pointers shy of moving into 3rd place & 3 shy of 2nd place (56, Tweety Carter No. 3 with 57 in 2007; John Lucas III No. 2 with 59 in 2002) on Baylor's freshman 3-pointers list.
BEARS IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS
Baylor is ranked among the top 50 nationally in five team categories, listed below:
Scoring: No. 16 - 81.0
Free Throw %: No. 25 - 74.6%
3-Pt Field Goals: No. 29 - 8.7
Blocks: No. 36 - 4.9
Won-Loss %: No. 48 - 70.8%
SURPASSED LAST SEASON'S WIN TOTAL
The Bears' 17 wins in 2007-08 are the most in the Drew Era (surpassing last season's 15) and mark the most at Baylor since the 2000-01 squad finished 19-12 (last BU team to participate in postseason; first round of NIT).
LAST TIME OUT: No. 11 TEXAS 82 - BAYLOR 77
A miracle comeback attempt failed in the final seconds as Baylor dropped an 82-77 decision to No. 11 Texas in front of a school-record overflow crowd at the Ferrell Center and a national television audience on ESPN. The Bears, who began the game 1-for-17 from the field, caught fire to erase a 14-point Texas lead in the final minute and a half but came up short in front of a boisterous crowd of 10,521. Baylor got back into it from long range when Tweety Carter and Henry Dugat hit consecutive 3-pointers to pull the Bears within 76-72 with 1:06 left. The Bears were within 77-76 with 28 seconds left when A.J. Abrams stepped out of bounds in the backcourt for a turnover. Except Baylor gave it right back when Aaron Bruce, with nobody to throw the ball in to, called a timeout the Bears didn't have and got a technical foul. Abrams hit the first of his free throws, then Carter was fouled and hit a free throw - the last point for Baylor coming with 16 seconds left. D.J. Augustin then hit two free throws for the Longhorns, who finished 11-for-21 from the free-throw line, and never trailed in the game. LaceDarius Dunn and Dugat each had 19 points for Baylor, which lost its fifth of six since its getting into the national rankings for the first time since 1969.
THE LAST MEETING: OKLAHOMA 77 - No. 25 BAYLOR 71 [Jan. 26, 2008]
Baylor showed the effects of playing a 3½ hour game three days before as the Bears didn't have enough gas in the tank to overcome an Oklahoma squad buoyed by the return of freshman sensation Blake Griffin from injury and the Sooners downed No. 25 BU 77-71 at the Ferrell Center. The Bears made a valiant comeback as they erased a 16-point second-half deficit to take a brief lead with less than two minutes remaining, but were outlasted by Oklahoma's strong inside game. Griffin entered about 5½ minutes into the game with an almost immediate impact for the Sooners. He had two quick rebounds and a slam dunk to help cap a 10-0 run that put the Sooners ahead to stay - except for a 10-second span late in the game. Baylor, coming off a five-overtime thriller over No. 18 Texas A&M in their first game as a ranked team since 1969, went ahead 71-70 with 1:57 left when Henry Dugat rebounded a missed 3-pointer and drove the length of the court for a layup. The Bears didn't score again. Griffin quickly answered for the Sooners with a strong inside basket. Then after a Baylor miss, Griffin drove the baseline for his ninth straight point, making it 74-71. During the 10-0 run by Oklahoma in the first half, Baylor was outrebounded 9-0. Then the Bears missed 10 straight shots at one point after halftime that left them trailing 57-41. Curtis Jerrells led Baylor with 17 points while Kevin Rogers had 13 points and 16 rebounds. Dugat and Aaron Bruce both finished with 10 points.
BIG 12 HONORS
Baylor players have received four weekly Big 12 honors this season, the school's most-ever single-season weekly awards. Baylor has earned three player of the week awards and one rookie of the week award:
LaceDarius Dunn, Big 12 Rookie of the Week, Nov. 26, 2007
Dunn was honored after leading the Bears to to wins over Winthrop (in the championship game of the Paradise Jam) and Centenary. Dunn set then-career-highs for points with 17 in each game, shooting a combined 13-of-20 (.650) from the floor off the bench. He also shot 5-of-10 on 3-pointers and averaged 5.5 rebounds.
Curtis Jerrells, Big 12 Player of the Week, Nov. 19, 2007
Jerrells was honored after leading Baylor to wins over Wichita State and Notre Dame at the Paradise Jam tournament. He averaged 20.0 points and 7.5 rebounds in the two wins and shot 54 percent from the 3-point line and 92 percent from the free throw line.
Curtis Jerrells, Big 12 Player of the Week, Jan. 28, 2008
Jerrells earned his second honor after averaging 26.5 points as No. 25 Baylor split two games, an epic five-overtime win over No. 16 Texas A&M and a 77-71 loss to Oklahoma. He scored a career-high 36 points and made a Big 12 and school-record 20 free throws in the Bears' 116-110 marathon thriller at A&M, including 11 points in the last overtime period to clinch the win in the longest game in Big 12 history.
Kevin Rogers, Big 12 Player of the Week, Dec. 24, 2007
Rogers was honored after leading the Bears to two road wins at South Carolina and Southern that snapped a 25-game losing streak in true road games. He averaged 16.5 points and 11.0 rebounds and had two double-doubles. Rogers had a 12-point, 12-rebound double-double at USC and scored a game-high 21 points in a win at Southern.
PARADISE JAM CHAMPS
Baylor earned the 2007 Paradise Jam championship with an impressive three-game run Nov. 16-19 in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Bears defeated Wichita State (64-55), Notre Dame (68-64) and Winthrop (62-54) to earn the title at the eighth annual tournament. Baylor overcame second-half deficits in both the semis (down 10 to N.D) and the final (down six to Winthrop) to earn the title. Curtis Jerrells was named the tournament MVP after leading the Bears with 17.7 points and 7.0 rebounds per game and Aaron Bruce also earned a spot on the all-tournament team. The title marked Baylor's first in-season tournament championship (excluding the Baylor-hosted Dr Pepper Invitational) since winning the 1971 Holiday Classic in Las Vegas, Nev. (last eight-team tournament title was the 1968 East Carolina Classic in Greenville, N.C.).
BAYLOR'S SUMMER TOUR TO CANCUN
Baylor spent Labor Day weekend 2007 on a basketball tour to Cancun, Mexico. The four-day trip included two exhibition games as well as sun and fun for the Bears. Baylor beat Belize Tuff E Nuff 115-47 Sept. 1, before defeating the hometown Mexican professional team Quintana Roo 91-57 Sept. 2. Both games were played in Cancun's sweltering Kuchil-Baxal Gymnasium. Baylor was led in scoring both games by junior Henry Dugat, who totaled 25 and 20 points. Aside from the games, the players and travel party enjoyed swimming, jet skiing, fishing and shopping on the Yucatan Peninsula.
BEARS RETURN HIGH PRODUCTION NUMBERS
Baylor in 2007-08 returned all five starters, nine of 12 roster players and nearly all of its statistical production. The Bears return 90.6 percent of last season's points, 86.9 percent of rebounds and 94.5 percent of assists.
MOST EXPERIENCED BEAR SQUAD IN YEARS
For the first time in years, Baylor took the court in 2007-08 with a predominantly upperclassman, experienced team. After several seasons of young, inexperienced teams, the Bears returned nine lettermen, including seven lettermen with multiple letters. The roster includes two seniors, five juniors, two sophomores and three freshmen. Veteran Aaron Bruce is the just the fourth four-year senior to play at BU in the last eight seasons. Baylor's '07-08 returnees entered the season with a combined 246 career starts under their collective belts, the highest such number at BU in over a decade.
EARLY 2009 SIGNEES
Baylor signed two players in the early signing period, Anthony Jones of Houston (Texas) Yates High School and Russian Artem Valov of Three Rivers Community College. Jones, a senior at Yates, is rated 46th nationally by Rivals.com and is a consensus top-70 recruit. He is rated No. 51 by Hoopmasters.com and No. 62 by Scout.com. Jones averaged 14 points and 12 rebounds last season as a junior for a Yates squad that finished 25-8 in 2006-07. A 6-10 forward, Jones is rated No. 8 among the nation's forwards by Rivals.com and ranked as the fourth-best recruit in the state by TexasHoops.com. Valov is a junior college sophomore who was recently named a preseason NJCAA first-team All-American. He is rated the No. 12 junior college recruit nationally by Rivals.com's JucoJunction.com. The 6-9 forward helped lead Three Rivers to a 26-11 record and into the second round of the NJCAA tournament. Valov was named to the 2007 NJCAA All-Tournament team. Valov finished his freshman season with averages of 14.0 points and 7.2 rebounds.
Baylor is back at the Ferrell Center Feb. 23, for a contest against Kansas State. The game is scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m. CST and will be televised in Texas and Kansas on FSN Southwest.