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Did Baylor Bears Center Isaiah Austin Make a Good Decision?

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It should go without saying that if a player is good enough to be projected as a first-round NBA Draft pick but has decided that he is returning to school, he is going to dramatically help his team’s chances of being a national juggernaut the following season. That is exactly what is going to happen for the Baylor Bears as Isaiah Austin has decided to return to school for at least one more season.

Most have experts projected the 7-foot-1 center to go anywhere from the middle to the late first-round of the draft. Combining his size with a lot of raw talent did make him an intriguing prospect, one who could have climbed even higher up folks’ mock draft boards had he done swell in pre-draft workouts. Nevertheless, Austin chose to go back to college to improve his stock rather than declaring early entry for the NBA.

Make no mistake — Austin helps Baylor become a near-mortal lock for the NCAA Tournament as well as Big 12 glory by coming back to school. Even if he were to only marginally improve, having a 7-foot-1 man-beast would naturally make any team a formidable foe. Austin, however, is not merely just some player with size, but a guy who has the ability to change the outcome of games.

There is almost no way that Austin’s draft stock could fall past the first-round for next year’s draft. He is not going to shrink and seven-footers don’t grown on trees, so teams will take a flyer out on him next season no matter what kind of potential they see left in him.

With the Bears likely to be thrust into a bigger spotlight next season — thanks to being more competitive and in bigger games — Austin can turn himself into a lottery pick or better. Big men have always been known to take longer to develop. If Austin wants to do so against lesser competition while showing an improved skill-set, well, he does have the potential to dominate the college ranks next season.

If not, then he is still a behemoth worth taking in the first-round. Potential injuries aside, Austin returning to school is a good move for him and even better news for Baylor.

 

Joe is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JosephNardone

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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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