When the Baylor University Men’s Basketball team takes the floor for its November 12 Farrell Center Season Opener, they will face the Incarnate Word Cardinals from San Antonio. Coach Scott Drew guided the Bears through a 28-2 last regular season, a Big 12 Conference Title, and a Final Four Title Game.
The road leading the Bears to the New Orleans Caesars Superdome for the 2022 playoff finale promises to pose obstacles. The first obstacle to the season is the loss of five players that were on the championship team roster. As basketball rosters are generally numbered at a dozen, the departure of these players causes significant impact to this season’s team.
Combating the loss of these star players, the Bears look forward to the recruiting class. Baylor’s recruiting class was ranked three of four stars, 15th strongest in the nation, and 12th in the Big 12 Conference.
As the Bears look forward to the season starting, here is a look at the projected starting five players:
- Point Guard – James Akinjo, now laying for his third year at Baylor, has often struggled with close-in shooting but is a career 81% marksman from the stripe;
- Shooting Guard – Adam Flager, in a substitute role last season he averaged 9.1 points per game, mainly on the strength of 43% accuracy from 3-point range;
- Small Forward – Matthew Mayer, a 6’9” athletically gifted specimen, a principal attribute is the ability to maneuver near the basket in a seemingly effortless rhythm. While staying the perimeter, he was a 40% 3-point shooter in past years;
- Power Forward – Kendall Brown, a high level 6’8” recruit who figures to be among the Bears’ more vital inside defenders;
- Center – Jonathan Tchamwa-Tchatchoua, a native of Cameroon, arrived at Baylor following a stop at basketball-oriented UNLV. He has incredible energy and speed for his 6’8” frame and 245-pound bulk, delights in hustling downcourt and is a terrific rebounder and shot blocker.
Whether this group and bench mates will be enough to match strides with last year’s team should be in some focus by mid-December. For the moment, the Associated Press tags Baylor at 8th in the nation, from where they look up at conference rivals Texas and Kansas.