Ish Wainright represents a changing of the tide for the Baylor Bears. Notorious for being a talent-laden squad, Baylor has also gotten the label of being a team that can be bullied around on the inside. Wainright, the 6-foot-6 wing from Kansas City, Mo. brings size, defensive tenacity and aggression to the table.
In his college debut, Wainright was a little too aggressive. He spent the vast majority of the game in foul trouble and did not score in his 13 minutes on the court. Baylor won their first game using their improved defense to hold the Colorado Buffaloes to 33 percent shooting on the night. Despite their impressive defense, Baylor was only able to keep Colorado at arm’s length.
Former Kansas State head basketball coach Frank Martin was Baylor’s first home opponent on the season. Martin’s South Carolina Gamecocks were 2-18 in their last 20 road contests. Transfer Tyrone Johnson and seven freshmen have embraced Martin’s smash-mouth basketball philosophy. It showed in a big way against Baylor.
The Gamecocks attacked the basket at will in the first half, taking Baylor forwards Cory Jefferson and Isaiah Austin out of rhythm. With Jefferson and Austin being thrown out of sorts, Wainright could not get anything going on either end. Wainright was content with being opposite of the ball and lacked the quick cuts that made him a highly-touted high school prospect.
The epitome of Wainright’s slow start this season happened at the 12:13 mark in the second half. He took a contested 18-foot jump shot with 28 seconds left on the shot clock. The cherry on top for South Carolina in this situation was that the shot was off by about 10 feet.
Brady Helsip came off the Baylor bench and delivered big 3-pointers down the stretch. His 18 points was enough to prevent the monumental upset at home as the Bears hung on to win 66-64, but his stellar play only masked the glaring issues of his team. Their primary issue lies at the three position that is currently occupied by Wainright.
Wainright was able to make the adjustment defensively against South Carolina to stay out of foul trouble. Offensively, he remained reckless with three turnovers coupled with a poor shooting performance. By dialing down his intensity, Wainright secured three rebounds, two lower than his number against Colorado. If he continues to struggle, he could lose his job to the streaky Helsip very quickly this season.
Jack Dooley is a Big 12 Basketball writer for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @jackdooleyOCS.