The Baylor Bears ended their season on the highest-note they possibly could by winning the NIT. Sure, it would have been swell to make the big dance and all, but they didn’t and now it is time to make their journey through the offseason.
Like many teams around them, Baylor’s future success may hinge on a player or two deciding not to go pro in something other than something other than sports (Get it? The play on the commercial).
Isaiah Austin might end up being the one who holds the Bears’ future in that kind of a decision. The big man was projected to be a top 10 pick coming into the season, but many experts have him falling to the back end of the first round. Meaning, there is hope that he may return to the program to solidify his spot in the lottery.
It isn’t a given that he would though. Being a first round pick would give Austin a guaranteed contract. Going back to school might improve his game, but ultimately take a year off the “potential” tag folks love to give guys early in their careers. If he were to come back, end up being a similar player he were to last season, it could really hamper his draft stock.
Baylor would certainly love to have him back. They have all kinds of scholarship issues that could be cleared up with a player declaring early entry to the draft. However, it being this late in the recruiting stage, replacing Austin would be nearly impossible.
All the Bears can do now is twiddle their thumbs and pray for the best.
Joe is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JosephNardone