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