The Baylor basketball team made it to the Elite Eight in the 2012 NCAA tournament for the second time in three years. Even though dreams of a national championship were dashed by Kentucky and their entire frontcourt entered the NBA draft, head coach Scott Drew and company did not relent on the recruiting trail.
The Bears’ 2012 recruiting class is ranked No. 5 by ESPN, marking yet another top 10 class for Baylor.
The following is a breakdown of Baylor’s five commits for the 2012-13 season.
Taurean Waller-Prince, Power Forward
Taurean Waller-Prince joined the party late, not signing with Baylor until late May. However, it must be comforting to know that another relief man will be on the bench for the frontcourt starters next season.
He is an athletic four that is not afraid to attack the basket, but he tends to play faceup. He has a good range at this stage of his game and can even sink the three-point shot if given enough time to plant his feet.
His timing on the block is excellent and will only improve. In addition, he is a good rebounder, even though he is only 6’7’’.
Waller-Prince just needs to pack on some muscle and Baylor fans will soon be reminded of the beloved Quincy Acy.
Chad Rykhoek, Center
Chad Rykhoek is a player that will only develop as time goes on. He is a left-handed player that can cause some matchup problems given his unique traits and his ability to attack the rim.
He stands at 6’9’’, but does not have great strength to power through some of the bigger defenders in the game. He has a good shooting stroke, but could always better it with time.
Rykhoek is a smart prospect both academically and on the court, and even has great court vision that helps him find the open man while playing in the paint.
L.J. Rose, Point Guard
Not only does Scott Drew already have one of the nation’s top point guards in Pierre Jackson, but he just recruited one of the top guards in the 2012 class.
L.J. Rose is a true point guard that plays the position to its fullest extent. He has incredible eyes for someone his age and combines that with almost flawless passing skills.
Even so, he is not afraid to score with the ball in his hands when he has to and when his high basketball IQ demands it.
He will have to pack on some strength, but when Jackson leaves at the end of next year look for Rose to step into his shoes comfortably.
Ricardo Gathers, Power Forward
Simply put, Ricardo Gathers is a monster down low. He is not incredibly tall for the position, but he has essentially already maxed out his body in terms of muscle development, making him one of the biggest guys coming into college.
He uses his strength to play hard off of the dribble, drive the lane and finish well above the rim. Defenders will have a very difficult time stopping him once he is at full momentum.
Right now, his only glaring downside is his height (6’7’’), but Scott Drew has proven that he knows how to take undersized paint players and turn them into beasts.
Isaiah Austin, Center
Isaiah Austin is the coveted seven-foot recruit that every coach wants and every fan longs to watch. He is also a five star recruit and the third best player according to ESPN.
He is a true center that will give Baylor an added sense of depth that has been lacking the past couple of season.
Austin is one of the most athletic players coming into the college game, making him a force to reckon with once he has the ball in his hands. Yet, his greatest upside is his shooting range. He can sink a shot from basically anywhere on the floor playing faceup, and he can even extend back to the three-point line.
Defensively, Austin one of the best shot blockers in the game due to his impeccable timing and long frame.
He still has some time to pack on muscle before the season starts, but his body type currently draws comparisons to the great Kareem Abdul-Jabar.
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