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Baylor Bears’ Back Court Getting Weaker With Two Transfers in Two Days

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Michael C. Johnson-USA Today Sports

For the second time in as many days, the Baylor Bears are losing a member of its back court.

On the heels of Deuce Bello‘s decision to transfer from the university, it is now being reported that freshman guard L.J. Rose will also seek playing time elsewhere.

Bello came to Baylor two seasons ago with decent expectations alongside Quincy Miller (now in the NBA), but things have not panned out as originally thought. Bello averaged only 2.4 points in just under 11 minutes per game this past season after arriving at Baylor with the reputation of a high-flyer.

As for Rose, his decision to transfer comes after a freshman season in which he averaged less than 8 minutes per contest.

Both Bello and Rose were seemingly buried in the back court rotation behind senior guards Pierre Jackson and A.J. Walton, as well as sharpshooting junior Brady Heslip. While the minutes were scarce in the past, both Jackson and Walton are departing, so time would have open up. Now, the Bears will be forced to replace quite a bit of production.

This is going to put a lot of pressure on Allerik Freeman, who recently committed to the Bears after parting ways with UCLA amid the Bruins’ coaching change. Freeman is talented enough to come right in and produce alongside Heslip, but there won’t be much depth in the Bears’ back court. Without Rose in the mix at point guard, JUCO transfer Kenny Cherry will face an instant role — Baylor fans are hoping he can produce at a similar rate to what Jackson did in his two seasons in Waco, but the two are virtually incomparable at this time.

Baylor features one of the more dominant front courts in college basketball after both Isaiah Austin and Cory Jefferson spurned the NBA Draft for more time in Waco, but the new-look back court will have a lot of ground to cover if the Bears hope to compete atop the Big 12 Conference in 2013-14.

 

Follow Paul Seaver on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS

 

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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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