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Pierre Jackson Tabbed as Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year

Peter Aiken-US PRESSWIRE

Last season, Baylor forward Perry Jones III was named the Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year.

This season, that accolade goes to fellow Bear, Pierre Jackson.

Pacing the squad in the back court a season ago as a junior, Jackson helped guide the Bears to the Elite 8 round of the NCAA Tournament. Now a senior, expectations are soaring for the 5-foot-11 play maker and this preseason achievement is only one indication of that.

An original native of Las Vegas, Nevada, Jackson burst onto the scene a season ago, averaging 13.8 points and a team-high 5.9 assists per game. Known for his speed and ability to create and knock down shots, Jackson has molded himself into one of the more elite point guards in the nation in just one season’s worth at the Division I level.

Jackson’s story has proved to be a wonderful story for Baylor and head coach Scott Drew. After being named the junior college Player of the Year back in 2011, Jackson committed to the Bears for his final two years of eligibility prior to last season.

Clearly, that decision has paid off.

Yet, Jackson certainly won’t intend on ending things there. The preseason accolade is one thing, but translating the hype on the court in 2012-13 will be a top priority, especially in terms of helping the Bears once again compete atop the conference standings.

In addition to Jackson, Drew and the Bears also return sharpshooter Brady Heslip in the back court, while sophomore wing Deuce Bello looks to increase his own workload. A loaded freshmen class, highlighted by Isaiah Austin down low, will also help Baylor make continued strides within the national discussion.

Jackson was a second-team All-Big 12 member a season ago and an Associated Press All-American honorable mention.

 

Be sure to follow Paul Seaver on Twitter: @TheArenaPulse

 

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NCAA Tournament Profile: Baylor Bears

Record: 24-9

RPI: 10

BPI: 19

Conference: Big 12 Conference

How They Qualified: At-Large Berth

Region: No. 3 seed in West

 

The Baylor Bears didn’t win the Big 12 title, but there was no question that they were an NCAA tournament team entering the Big 12 tourney. That tends to be the case when a team is ranked in the top 25 entering the final week of the season.

The Bears had the pleasure of playing in the dance last season, but they went down to the Wisconsin Badgers, who ended up making a run to the Final Four.

This time around, they have the talent to make a similar run to Wisconsin’s, and playing in the very deep Big 12 certainly didn’t hurt. Translation: Baylor is tournament tested, if you will.

 

What You Need to Know:

Leading Scorer: Taurean Prince (13.8 PPG)

Leading Rebounder: Rico Gathers (11.6 RPG)

Leading Passer: Kenny Chery (4.0 APG)

Bad Losses: None

Good Wins: Iowa State (twice), Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia (x3)

 

Would you look at all of those quality wins. Iowa State, Oklahoma and West Virginia all have the talent to make a Final Four run. All three of those teams won’t make that type of run, but the talent is still definitely there.

Although Baylor doesn’t exactly have star power, said star power doesn’t always mean everything, especially in a tournament as crazy as the Big Dance. The team does have four players who are averaging 10+ points per game, and can keep up with the best of them. Once again, the Bears did manage to knock off Iowa State … twice.

The Baylor Bears are dancing!

Trevor Lowry is a Content Associate at RantSports.com. If you’re a tweeter feel free to follow him @TheTrevorLowry, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

The Baylor Bears may have had an early exit last season, but this year's squad has the talent to make a serious run.

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