vs.  No. 20/18 PURDUE (24-8) Thursday, March 20, 2008 1:50 p.m. CDT/ 2:50 p.m. EDT
RADIO: Baylor-ISP Sports Radio Network (ESPN/KRZI 1660AM Waco)
INTERNET AUDIO: live broadcast at BaylorBears.com
INTERNET VIDEO: March Madness on Demand on ncaasports.com
LIVE STATS: live GameTracker stats at BaylorBears.com
BAYLOR AT THE NCAA TOURNEY IN DC
Baylor ended a 20-year NCAA Tournament drought when it earned a berth into the 2008 tournament as an 11 seed to face sixth-seeded and 18th-ranked Purdue Thursday in Washington, DC. The game will tip at approximately 1:50 p.m CDT/2:50 p.m. EDT at the Verizon Center and be televised live on CBS. Baylor is 21-10 and coming off a disappointing 91-84 double-overtime loss to Colorado in the opening round of the Big 12 Championship last Thursday. Baylor finished in a fourth-place tie in Big 12 play with a best-ever 9-7 record. This marks Baylor's fifth-ever NCAA Tournament appearance, its first since 1988 and only the second since 1950. Purdue is 24-8 and finished second in the Big Ten Conference. The Boilermakers are coming off a 74-67 loss to Illinois in the Big Ten quarterfinals last Friday. The all-time Baylor-Purdue series is tied 1-1. The winner of Thursday's game will advance to Saturday's second round to face the No. 12 Xavier-Georgia winner.
NCAA TOURNAMENT-RELATED TIP-INS
Baylor is 3-6 in 4 previous NCAA Tournaments.
Baylor has played in 2 Final Fours (1948 and 1950) and one national championship (lost to Kentucky in 1948 title game).
Baylor has 5 wins over NCAA Tournament teams: Kansas State, Mississippi Valley State, Notre Dame, Texas A&M & Winthrop.
BU's last NCAA Tournament win was a 1950 West Regional semifinal victory over BYU that sent the Bears to their second Final Four.
Baylor is 1-1 all-time vs. Purdue & 2-5 vs. current members of the Big Ten conference.
2008 is Baylor's second NCAA Tournament berth since 1950 (first three appearances were in 8-team NCAA bracket).
Baylor's series records vs. possible second round opponents: BU has never faced Xavier or Georgia on the hardcourt.
This is Scott Drew's first NCAA appearance as a head coach (coached in 6 NCAA Tournaments as an assistant at Valpo).
Baylor is 252-477 all-time against the other 64 teams in the NCAA Tournament field (faced 37 of the possible 64 opponents).
All but 2 of Baylor's losses this season came to teams in the NCAA Tournament.
6 Big 12 teams were selected to participate in the 2008 NCAA Tournament (Kansas 1 seed, Texas 2 seed, Oklahoma 6 seed, Texas A&M 9 seed, Kansas State 11 seed).
No current Baylor player has any postseason experience, NIT or NCAA.
Of BU's 9 losses, only one has been by more than 10 points & all but two have come to teams ranked among the top 40 in RPI (OSU, CU).
Baylor has earned its first postseason appearacne since 2001 (NIT); its first NCAA berth since 1988 (lost to Memphis 75-60 in 1st round).
BU's 21 wins are the most since winning 23 in 1987-88 (23-11, NCAA berth) & only 4th 20-win season in 102 seasons of basketball (won 25 in `45-46, won 24 & played in NCAA championship game in `47-48).
Each of Baylor 3 previous 20-win teams have participated in the NCAA Tournament (1988, 1948 [Final Four], 1946).
POSTSEASON HONORS: Curtis Jerrells All Big 12 1st tm (coaches, AP), All-District 9 1st tm (NABC), All-District VII (USBWA); Kevin Rogers All-Big 12 3rd tm (AP) hm (coaches), Big 12 All-Underrated (media); Henry Dugat All-Big 12, hm (coaches), LaceDarius Dunn Big 12 All-Freshman (media, Rivals.com), Big 12 All-Reserve (media).
BU is 3-2 this season in neutral-site games (3-0 at Paradise Jam, loss to Arkansas in Dallas, loss to Colorado in Big 12 Championship).
BU is 9-6 away from home this season (6-4 true road, 3-2 neutral).
BU is 4-2 since its staff promised to shave a coach's head after each victory (Matthew Driscoll, Jerome Tang, Paul Mills & Stephen Brough have been shaved).
Scott Drew was named USBWA All-District VII Coach of the Year & the Big 12 Coach of the Year by Rivals.com and ESPN.com's Pat Forde.
BU leads the Big 12 in free throw shooting (74.2%) & 3-pointers made (8.6).
BU's 5-guard rotation averages 58.5 points - 72% of teams scoring.
BU's 9 conference wins was the school's most in 12 seasons of Big 12 play.
BU is averaging 81.4 points (2nd in Big 12 & 12th nationally), the highest average since `93-94; 2,522 total points set a new school record.
BU is 19-1 this season when totaling a higher FG% than its opponents and 2-9 when not. In the Drew Era, BU is 51-8 when outshooting its opponents and 6-71 when not.
Mamadou Diene led the Big 12 with a 2.1 blocks average in conference games.
LaceDarius Dunn's 41.8 3-point % (3rd in Big 12) is top all-time for a BU freshman.
Aaron Bruce ranks 7th on BU's all-time scoring list (1,330 career points).
Kevin Rogers has 12 double-doubles this season (4th most among Big 12 players).
Curtis Jerrells ranks 12th on BU's all-time scoring list (1,158 career points).
Baylor is 14-2 this season when Aaron Bruce scores in double-digits.
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 five-year mark of 57-79 at the school and a career record of 77-90 (six seasons). Drew's 57 wins rank seventh on Baylor's all-time coaching victories list (in sixth place on the list is Dave Bliss with 61 career victories). He was named the 2008 USBWA District VII Coach of the Year and the Rivals.com 2008 Big 12 Coach of the Year for this season's success. 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.
DREW RECEIVES COACH OF THE YEAR AWARDS
Scott Drew's efforts in turning around the Baylor program have earned him several coaching accolades this season. Drew was named the District VII coach of the year by the USBWA, as well as selections as Big 12 Coach of the Year by Rivals.com, Pat Forde of ESPN.com and the Waco Tribune-Herald. Drew has rebuilt Baylor from the depths of its tragedy and sanctions into an NCAA Tournament team.
DREW IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
Thursday will be Scott Drew's first NCAA Tournament game as a head coach, but he is far from a stranger to the postseason tournament. Drew was a major factor in Valparaiso's six NCAA Tournaments (1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002) while an assistant on his father Homer's staff. Valpo gained fame for its Cinderella run to the 1998 Sweet Sixteen which was highlighted by one of the most famous shots in NCAA Tournament history: a game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer by Scott's younger brother Bryce Drew that beat Mississippi in a first round game in Oklahoma State [Bryce and Homer are scheduled to be at the Verizon Center supporting Scott].
BEARS IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
Baylor has four previous NCAA Tournament appearances, the last in 1988 (lost in first round to Memphis at South Bend, Ind.) - 2008 marks only Baylor's second NCAA berth since 1950. Baylor played in three tournaments in a five-year span from 1946 to 1950 under head coach Bill Henderson, including Final Four appearances in 1948 and 1950. The 1947-48 squad played for the national title against Kentucky at the Madison Square Garden in New York, losing 58-42.
FINAL FOURS, "MR. BILL" & THE GOLDEN YEARS OF BAYLOR BASKETBALL
The golden years of Baylor basketball came under the direction of the late Bill Henderson, the school's all-time winningest coach. "Mr. Bill", as he was affectionately known, led Baylor to its first three NCAA Tournaments (in a five-year span from 1946 to 1950), two Final Fours and a national runner-up finish in 1948. Henderson coached for a collective 19 seasons and amassed a school-record 200 wins. He served as the president of the National Basketball Coaches Association and the Baylor athletic director. Henderson is a member of the Baylor Hall of Fame, the Texas Sports Hall of Fame and is the honorary coach of Baylor's All-Centennial Team.
BAYLOR VS. THE 2008 NCAA TOURNAMENT FIELD
Baylor has played 13 games this season against 11 teams selected to the 2008 NCAA Tournament field and compiled a 5-8 record. Baylor posted wins over Kansas State [No. 11 seed in Midwest], Mississippi Valley State [No. 16 seed in West], Notre Dame [No. 5 seed in East], Texas A&M [No. 9 seed in West] and Winthrop [No. 13 seed in East]. Baylor lost vs. Arkansas [No. 9 seed in East], Kansas [No. 1 seed in Midwest], Oklahoma [No. 6 seed in East] twice, Texas [No. 2 seed in South] twice, Texas A&M [No. 9 seed in West] and Washington State [No. 4 seed in East]. Baylor has faced 37 of the possible 64 opponents in the 65-team field this season with a cumulative all-time record of 252-477 vs. those teams. By region, Baylor is 21-35 vs. the Midwest, 87-140 vs. the West, 54-136 vs. the East and 90-166 vs. the South.
BEARS LACK POSTSEASON EXPERIENCE
No Baylor player has any postseason experience (NIT or NCAA) at the Division I level.
BAYLOR'S RUN TO NCAAs IS FINAL STAGE OF HUGE REBUILDING PROJECT
BAYLOR PROGRAM BACK FROM THE DEPTHS: The 2007-08 season is 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 turned the corner with a 21-10 record this season, a school-record 9-7 finish in the Big 12 and their first NCAA berth in 20 years.
BEARS' TURNAROUND SEASON: Baylor burst onto the national basketball scene this winter when, despite being picked to finish ninth in the Big 12 by the league's coaches, the Bears raced off to a 12-2 non-conference record (including a Paradise Jam championship) and opened conference play 4-0. The 16-2 start was Baylor's best since 1946 and resulted in the school's first national ranking since 1969. The Bears, who are in the latter stages of one of the most incredible rebuilding projects in college basketball history, own a 21-10 record and earned the school's best-ever Big 12 finish with a fourth-place tie at 9-7. Baylor topped the 20-win plateau for just the fourth time in the program's 102-year history and earned its first NCAA Tournament berth since 1988.
THE PURDUE BOILERMAKERS
Head Coach: Matt Painter (Purdue, 1994); 80-44, 4 seasons
Series vs. Baylor: tied 1-1
Last Meeting: BU 73-72 (12-30-04 at West Lafayette)
Baylor vs. Big Ten: 2-5
Drew vs. Purdue: 1-2
Purdue Record in NCAA Tournament: 28-21 (.571), 21 appearances
PURDUE NOTES: Purdue is 24-8, finished second in the Big Ten standings and is ranked 20th in this week's Associated Press poll and 18th in the ESPN/USA Today coach's poll... The Boilermakers are making their second straight NCAA Tournament appearance (lost in second round in 2007)... Purdue is led by freshman G E'Twaun Moore, who averages 12.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.6 assists... Freshman G/F Robbie Hummel and sophomore G Keaton Grant also boast double-digit scoring averages of 11.6 and 10.7, respectively... Purdue and Baylor played a home-and-home series in 2003-04 and 2004-05 (Scott Drew's first two seasons at Baylor), the teams split the series with the road team winning each game... Purdue head coach Matt Painter was on Gene Keady's staff for the last matchup, a 73-72 Baylor win in West Lafayette.
THE XAVIER MUSKETEERS
Head Coach: Sean Miller (Pittsburgh, 1992); 90-38, 4 seasons
Series vs. Baylor: never met
Last Meeting: none
Baylor vs. A-10: 3-10
Drew vs. XU: 0-0
XU Record in NCAA Tournament: 12-18 (.400), 18 appearances
THE GEORGIA BULLDOGS
Head Coach: Dennis Felton (Howard, 1985); 175-133, 10 seasons
Series vs. Baylor: never met
Last Meeting: none
Baylor vs. SEC: 57-123
Drew vs. UGA: 0-0
UGA Record in NCAA Tournament: 6-8 (.429), 8 appearances
BAYLOR STAFF LOSING HAIR WITH WINS
The Bears are 4-2 since the Baylor coaching staff pledged to shave a staff member's head following each win in the final weeks of the season. After a fourth-consecutive loss at Oklahoma Feb. 19, the pact was struck with five regular-season games remaining. Since then, four staffers have received haircuts: assistant coach Matthew Driscoll (Feb. 23 after 92-86 win over No. 24 Kansas State), assistant coach Jerome Tang (Feb. 27 after 68-57 win at Colorado), coordinator of operations Paul Mills (March 1 after 100-89 win over Missouri) and director of operations Stephen Brough (March 12 following 86-73 win at Texas Tech).
IMPROVED ROAD FORTUNES
ALL AWAY GAMES (9-5 in `07-08):
Baylor is 9-6 this season away from Waco (6-4 in true road games, 3-2 at neutral sites). The Bears were 4-41 in their previous 45 games outside of Waco before this season (from 2003 to 2007).
TRUE ROAD GAMES (6-4 in `07-08):
The Bears finished 6-4 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 (4-4 in `07-08):
Baylor finished 4-4 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).
MOST WINS SINCE...
OVERALL: The Bears' 21 wins in 2007-08 is the highest victory total at Baylor since Gene Iba's 1987-88 squad finished 23-11 (the last Baylor team to participate in the NCAA Tournament). This is only the fourth 20-win Baylor squad in school history (102 seasons); the previous three have all participated in the NCAA Tournament (including `47-48 national runners up).
BIG 12: BU's nine conference wins (9-7) are the most in 12 seasons of Big 12 play.
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 (8.7 ppg, 21.9 mpg), juniors Curtis Jerrells (14.9 ppg, 31.1 mpg) and Henry Dugat (12.1 ppg, 27.2 mpg) and sophomore Tweety Carter (9.6 ppg, 25.7 mpg); and true freshman standout LaceDarius Dunn (13.5 ppg, 21.8 mpg). The fivesome accounts for 72 percent of the team's scoring (average 58.5 points) and shoots 38.4 percent on 3-pointers.
HIGHEST-SCORING BEARS TEAM EVER 12th NATIONALLY IN POINTS
Baylor is averaging 81.4 points per game, second-highest among Big 12 schools and the 12th most nationally. That figure, bolstered by six overtime periods, is the highest total at BU since the `93-94 team finished with an 85.5 scoring average. Baylor's 2,522 total points is a new school record.
NO LEAD SAFE AGAINST COMEBACK BEARS
In addition to a 9-7 record when trailing at the half, Baylor has notched eight wins this season after trailing by 9 or more points. In three additional games, the Bears erased double-digit deficits before being edged at the whistle (two of those in overtime).
BEARS vs. NATIONALLY RANKED FOES
Baylor's first-round matchup against No. 20/18 Purdue is Baylor's seventh game against a ranked opponent this season. The Bears are 2-4 vs. ranked foes this season, with wins over No. 24/25 Kansas State Feb. 23 and an epic 116-110 five-overtime victory over No. 18/16 Texas A&M Jan. 23, that snapped a 29-game losing streak vs. ranked foes.
SUCCESS FROM THE LINE
Baylor has been successful from the foul line this season, shooting 74.2 percent (513-691) on free throws, which leads the Big 12 Conference and currently ranks 30th nationally. That percentage is on pace to be the fourth-best figure in school history. Baylor is led individually from the line by freshman G LaceDarius Dunn (83.3%, first in the Big 12), senior G Aaron Bruce (79.1%) and junior F Kevin Rogers (77.7%, fifth in Big 12).
SEASON OF FIRSTS, BROKEN STREAKS & NEW RECORDS
Baylor's turnaround season in 2007-08 has included various program `firsts', snapped streaks and new records. List below:
First NCAA Tournament appearance since 1988 [only second since 1950]
Most wins (21) since 1987-88
Only fourth 20-win team in Baylor history
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)
Highest finish in Big 12 history (tied for 4th)
Most Big 12 wins (9) in school history (9-7 first winning record in Big 12 play)
Most Big 12 road wins (4) ever
Most wins over ranked teams since 2000-01 (2: beat #16 Texas A&M & #16 Kansas St.)
First win over ranked opp. since 2003 [broke 29-gm losing streak] (116-110 over #16 TAMU)
Best start (16-2) since 1946
Most pre-conference wins in school history (12)
First 8-team tournament title since 1968 (BU won 2007 Paradise Jam)
Most Big 12 weekly honorees ever (6: Jerrells 2 POW, Rogers 2 POW, Dunn 2 ROW)
Set new home attendance record of 116,015 (16 games)
Highest average attendance in Ferrell Center history (7,251 in 16 games)
Largest crowd in school history (overflow 10,545 vs. A&M March 5)
Broke school's scoring record - new mark of 2,522 points and counting (81.4 ppg)
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)
First 5-overtime game in Baylor & Big 12 history (116-110 win over Texas A&M Jan. 23)
FIRST-TEAM ALL-BIG 12 PICK JERRELLS LEADING BEARS TO NEW HEIGHTS
Curtis Jerrells, a consensus first-team All-Big 12 selection, powers the Bears and continues to stand out as the most lethal offensive weapon on a high-scoring team full of scorers. Jerrells was named all-conference first team by the league's coaches and the Associated Press, only the second Baylor player to earn Big 12 first-team honors (joins Terry Black in 2001). He is leading the Bears in scoring (14.9 ppg, ninth in Big 12), assists (3.7 apg, sixth in Big 12) and minutes (31.1 mpg) for the third straight season. Jerrells became the 20th player in Baylor history to reach the 1,000-point plateau this season and he currently ranks 12th all-time in points scored (1,158). He was named to the NABC All-District 9 first team and the USBWA All-District VII team and has twice earned Big 12 Player of the Week honors this season: Jan. 28 after exploding for 36 points in an epic five-overtime win at Texas A&M; and Nov. 19 after leading Baylor to the 2007 Paradise Jam championship (was named tournament MVP). The junior guard has started all 79 career games since arriving at Baylor and he ranks ninth in school history in assists (287). Jerrells recently became the first alum of Del Valle High School in Austin to have his jersey retired.
MR. ROGERS PILING UP DOUBLE-DOUBLES
Junior forward Kevin Rogers, who averages 12.4 points and a team-high 8.6 rebounds (fifth in Big 12), was named an All-Big 12 selection by both the Associated Press (third team) and the league's coaches (honorable mention). He was also selected to the Big 12 All-Underrated Team by the league's media. He has recorded 12 double-doubles on the season, including eight in league games - the fourth-highest total among Big 12 players. In conference games Rogers averaged 12.9 points and 10.2 rebounds (fourth in Big 12). He has twice been named the Big 12 Player of the Week; most recently March 3 after averaging 18.0 points and 11.5 rebounds in wins at Colorado and vs. Missouri as well as Dec. 24 after averaging 16.5 points and 11.0 rebounds in 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).
"FLASH" DUGAT USING ENERGY & QUICKNESS TO SPARK BEARS
Junior G Henry Dugat, in his first full season as a starter, has played well enough to be selected All-Big 12 honorable mention by the league's coaches. Since re-entering the starting lineup this season he has used his high energy and athleticism to boost Baylor during its turnaround season. In Big 12 Conference games, Dugat averaged 13.1 points (16th in Big 12), 4.6 rebounds, 1.4 steals (ninth in Big 12) and shot 46.2 percent on 3-pointers. He has started all 31 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.
FRESHMAN DUNN REMINDING BEARS FANS OF VINNIE "THE MICROWAVE"
True freshman LaceDarius Dunn, who is quickly making a name for himself for his instant offense off the bench, is beginning to remind Baylor fans of former Bear Vinnie "The Microwave" Johnson. Dunn exploded for 38 points in 31 minutes off the bench in Baylor's regular-season-ending win at Texas Tech (the top scoring mark ever for a BU freshman and sixth-highest scoring effort in school history). That performance helped him earn his second Big 12 Rookie of the Week award. He was named to the Big 12 All-Freshman Team and Big 12 All-Reserve Team by a panel of league media. Dunn immediately impacted a Baylor squad stocked with talented guards this season. The highly recruited rookie from Monroe, La., is second on the team in scoring (13.5 ppg) and second in rebounds (4.1 rpg), despite playing just 21.8 minutes per game off the bench and playing through a knee injury. His 41.8 3-point percentage ranks third in the Big 12 and is on pace to be the top percentage ever recorded by a Baylor freshman (and fifth-best overall single-season percentage in school history). Dunn leads the Big 12 with an 83.3 free throw percentage. Dunn earned his first Big 12 Rookie of the Week honor Nov. 26 after leading BU to wins over Winthrop in the Paradise Jam championship and over Centenary and he has notched five 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.
VETERAN BRUCE CLIMBING RECORD LISTS
Senior Aaron Bruce is averaging 8.7 points per game and continuing his climb up several of Baylor's all-time records lists. Bruce, Baylor's veteran-most player with 105 career games played, currently stands seventh on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,330 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 NBA vets 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. 2 - 217
Assists: No. 3 - 320
Games Started: No. 4 - 98
Minutes Played: No. 4 - 3,044
3-point FG %: No. 6 - 39.1%
Points scored: No. 7 - 1,330
Free Throw %: No. 8 - 81.1%
TWEETY FLOURISHING IN STARTING ROLE
Sophomore G Tweety Carter, who started the last 13 games of his freshman season, re-entered the starting lineup seven games ago after coming off the bench the first 24 games this season. Carter is shooting 41.9 percent on 3-pointers (the fourth highest percentage in Baylor history) and is second on the squad in assists with 87. He is averaging 9.6 points on the season, but in seven games as a starter has averaged 13.0 points and has shot 52.9 percent (18-of-34) on 3-pointers. Carter is Baylor's first-ever McDonald's All-American and the highest scoring high school player in U.S. history (7,457 points in six varsity seasons). He received his nickname Tweety (given name is Demond) due to the sound of his crying as a baby.
"THE MAYOR" BACK TO SHOT-BLOCKING WAYS
Mamadou Diene, a seven-foot junior from Senegal, has averaged 3.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in 16.5 minutes off the bench in 24 games played since returning from ankle surgery (missed season's first seven games - had started all 43 games played in his first two seasons). He led the Big 12 in blocks in conference games this season with a 2.1 average. Diene's 120 career blocks and 1.79 career average are both second all-time at Baylor behind only current Phoenix Suns Brian Skinner's 346 total and 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.
CURRENT BEARS AMONG BEST 3-POINT SHOOTERS EVER
Statistically speaking, several of the best long-range shooters in Baylor basketball history play for the 2007-08 Bears squad. Three of the top six (by career percentage) and four of the top nine Baylor shooters ever are current players. See list below:
CAREER 3-POINT FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGE (min. 50 made)
Player (years), 3FGM-3FGA, pct.
1. Melvin Hunt (1987-91), 81-162, .500
2. Mark Buchanan (1983-87), 55-113, .487
3. LaceDarius Dunn (2008), 71-170, .418
4. Henry Dugat (2005-08), 123-311, .395
5. R.T. Guinn (2001-04), 103-263, .392
6. Aaron Bruce (2004-08), 217-555, .391
7. Kenny Taylor (2001-03), 105-269, .390
8. David Wesley (1989-92), 123-326, .377
9. Tweety Carter (2006-08), 111-295, .376
10. Willie Sublett (1990-94), 144-393, .366
BRUCE JOINS ELITE BAYLOR TRIO IN CAREER POINTS & ASSISTS
Aaron Bruce recently recorded his 300th career assist and became the fourth player in Baylor history to top 1,000 points (1,330) and 300 assists (320), joining greats Vinnie Johnson (1,231/308), David Wesley (1,224/316) and Micheal Williams (1,854/464).
DUGAT, JERRELLS & ROGERS NAMED TO ALL-BIG 12 TEAMS
Curtis Jerrells was selected first-team All-Big 12 and is among three Baylor juniors named to postseason all-conference teams. Jerrells is just the second first-team All-Big 12 selection in Baylor history and the first since Terry Black in 2000-01. Jerrells was also selected a first-team All-Big 12 honoree by the Associated Press. Kevin Rogers was named third-team All-Big 12 by the AP and both he and Henry Dugat were named All-Big 12 Honorable Mention by the league's coaches.
DUNN & ROGERS NAMED TO BIG 12 SPECIALTY TEAMS
LaceDarius Dunn was named to Big 12 All-Freshman and Big 12 All-Reserve teams as voted on by a panel of the league's sportswriters. Kevin Rogers was voted to the Big 12 All-Underrated team. Dunn was also an All-Freshman selection by Rivals.com.
DREW & JERRELLS EARN DISTRICT VII HONOR BY USBWA
Baylor head coach Scott Drew was named the District VII Coach of the year and junior guard Curtis Jerrells was selected to the All-District VII team by the United States Basketball Writers Association. Drew led a Baylor team projected to finish ninth in the Big 12 preseason coaches poll to a fourth place tie in the conference and to its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 20 years. Jerrells has earned several postseason honors and leads the team in scoring (14.9 ppg) and assists (3.6 apg). He is the first BU player to receive All-District VII status since teammate Aaron Bruce was so honored in 2005.
JERRELLS NAMED TO NABC ALL-DISTRICT 9 FIRST TEAM
Curtis Jerrells earned a spot on the 2008 All-District 9 first team, selected by the National Association of Basketball Coaches. Jerrells is the first BU player to be honored with all-district distinction since Lawrence Roberts was named to the first team in 2003.
MILESTONES & RECORDS WATCH
Curtis Jerrells is 1 3-pointer shy of moving into 6th place (137, Tevis Stukes No. 6 with 138) on Baylor's career 3-pointers list.
Kevin Rogers is 1 double-double shy of moving into 5th place (12, William Chatmon & Alex Holcombe No. 5 with 13) on Baylor's single-season double-doubles list.
Baylor is 7 team 3-pointers shy of setting a new school record for single-season 3s made (267, current record 273 in 2001-02).
Kevin Rogers is 11 rebounds shy of moving into 10th place (266, Darrell Hardy No. 10 with 277) on Baylor's single-season rebounds list.
Aaron Bruce is 30 points shy of moving into 6th place (1,330, Darrell Hardy No. 6 with 1,360) on Baylor's career scoring list.
Curtis Jerrells is 65 points shy of moving into 11th place (1,158, Willie Sublett No. 11 with 1,223) on Baylor's career scoring list.
Mamadou Diene is 8 blocks shy of moving into 6th place (41, Ben Echols No. 6 with 49) on Baylor's single-season blocks list.
Aaron Bruce is 13 3-pointers shy of moving into 5th place (133, ISU's Jake Sullivan No. 5 with 146) on Big 12's career 3-pointers in conference games list.
Scott Drew is 4 coaching wins shy of moving into 6th place (57, Dave Bliss No. 6 with 61) on Baylor's career coaching victories list.
Baylor is 12 team blocks shy of setting a new single-season blocks record (137, record is 148 in 1992-93).
LAST TIME OUT: COLORADO 91 - BAYLOR 84 2OT
Colorado shocked Baylor in the opening round of the Big 12 Championship with a 91-84 double-overtime victory over the Bears at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. Colorado jumped out to a big early lead, withstood a furious Baylor rally in the second half, then made just enough shots in both overtimes to become the first 12 seed to beat a 5 seed in the 12-year history of the Big 12 tournament. Baylor let Colorado control the tempo and had all kinds of trouble defensively, particularly on backdoor cuts in the first half. The Bears missed key free throws down the stretch and were just 8-for-28 from 3-point range. Curtis Jerrells and LaceDarius Dunn each had 20 points and Henry Dugat had 19 for Baylor. Colorado shot 72 percent in the first half and led by as many as 15 in the second but couldn't hold off the Bears rally. Baylor held the Buffaloes without a field goal for nearly six minutes and went on a 14-1 run, capped by Dugat's two free throws that tied it at 61-61 with just under 3 minutes left in regulation. Baylor had a chance at the lead with 1:15 left, but Kevin Rogers missed two free throws. Colorado failed on a desperation turnaround 3-point attempt by Marcus Hall at the regulation buzzer. The first overtime came down to another final possession for Colorado after Dunn tied it at 74-all on a rebound slam with 15 seconds left. Hall had the ball again and got off a better shot, but his runner caromed high off the glass with 2 seconds left. Colorado tried to run away with it at the start of the second overtime, scoring the first seven points, but Jerrells followed with a three-point play. Baylor got within 83-81, but Rogers missed two more free throws and Hall scored on a runner with 25 seconds left. Hall and Richard Roby each hit two free throws to finish the scoring.
THE LAST MEETING: BAYLOR 73 - PURDUE 72 [Dec. 30, 2004]
Tim Bush had a career-high 23 points and 11 rebounds and Aaron Bruce hit a game-winning free throw with 2.4 seconds remaining to lift Baylor to a stunning 73-72 road upset over Purdue at Mackey Arena. The Boilermaker's Bryant Dillon tied the game at 72 with a 3-pointer with 3.6 seconds to go and the Bears immediately inbounded the ball. Patrick Fields passed to Bruce who was intentionally fouled by Purdue's Brandon McKnight with 2.4 seconds on the clock. Bruce went to the line and missed the first of two free throws, then hit the second to silence what had been a boisterous Boilermaker crowd. The Bears closed the first half with a 12-1 run, including a rim-shaking dunk by Tommy Swanson and a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Kevis Shipman, to take a 33-31 lead at halftime. The Boilermakers rebounded in the second half to take a 60-56 edge. Included in Bush's first career double-double were two crucial 3-pointers in the final 21/2 minutes. Swanson scored eight of his 10 points in the second half, including a four-point play and a thunderous one-handed put-back dunk during an 11-3 run that gave the Bears a 67-63 lead. Bush nailed his second trey with 1:05 remaining to give the Bears a 70-65 lead. The Bears overcame foul trouble and poor free throw shooting all night long. Mark Shepherd fouled out midway through the second half, and Swanson and Fields (who finished with career-highs of 18 points and nine rebounds) play most of the second with four fouls. Baylor finished 18-of-31 from the free throw line.
SHEPHERD & LOMERS EARN ACADEMIC ALL-BIG 12 FIRST TEAM HONORS
Mark Shepherd and Josh Lomers were honored as Academic All-Big 12 first team selections. Shepherd is a graduate student in the Baylor MBA program after graduating in May of 2007 with a bachelor's degree in business. He also earned Academic All-Big 12 first-team honors in 2006, and is a five-time selection to the Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll. Shepherd has seen action in all 29 of Baylor's games, earning starts in the last five. He averages 1.6 points and 12.6 minutes. Lomers is a pre-business major and is a first-time Academic All-Big 12 selection. He has started 24 of 28 games played and shoots a team-best 62.0 percent from the floor. He averages 3.9 points and 2.3 rebounds per game and has recorded 21 blocked shots on the season. The academic all-league first team members consist of those who have maintained a 3.20 or better GPA.
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.
RECORD ATTENDANCE NUMBERS
Baylor's on-court success attracted record numbers of fans to the Ferrell Center and resulted in several new attendance records this season. The Bears set new records for total attendance (116,015), average attendance (7,251) and single-game attendance (10,545 vs. Texas A&M 3-5-08). In fact, Baylor recorded four of the top seven crowds all-time in 2007-08.
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.
THIAM LEAVES PROGRAM
Redshirt freshman Djibril Thiam left the Baylor basketball program in early December with the intent of transferring to another school. Thiam played in each of the season's first seven games, averaging 2.7 points and 4.1 rebounds in 17.3 minutes per game. The second-year wing from Dakar, Senegal, played in four games as a true freshman in 2006-07 before suffering a season-ending knee injury. Thiam left Baylor with career totals of 26 points (2.4 ppg) and 34 rebounds (3.1 rpg) in 11 games played.
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.