2014 NCAA Tournament: Baylor’s 5 Most Important Players

2014 NCAA Tournament: Baylor’s 5 Most Important Players

Scott Drew
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Baylor Bears’ season was a roller coaster. They had a stretch where they lost seven out of eight, but then bounced back and ended the season winning 10 of their final 12 games. In the end, the up and down season earned Baylor a sixth seed in the NCAA tournament. How far can Baylor go in the tournament? That will depend on how these five players perform.

5. Royce O'Neale

Royce O'Neale
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

5. Royce O'Neale

Royce O'Neale
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Royce O’Neale struggled early in the season, but he seems to be finding his groove the past couple of weeks. Since March 1, O’Neale has had four double- digit scoring games and five double-digit rebounding games. Baylor will need him to continue his upward trend in order to go deep in the tournament.

4. Isaiah Austin

Isaiah Austin
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

4. Isaiah Austin

Isaiah Austin
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Isaiah Austin is the defensive force in the middle for the Bears. At 7-foot-1, Austin’s rebounding numbers should be higher than his pedestrian 5.5. What Austin lacks in rebounding, he makes up for in blocks. He averages 3.3 blocks per game, and those numbers have been even higher as of late.

3. Kenny Chery

Kenny Chery
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

3. Kenny Chery

Kenny Chery
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Baylor Bears only have one player on their roster who averages more than three assists per game. That one player is Kenny Cherry. Cherry averaged five assists and he is their third leading scorer as well.

2. Brady Heslip

Brady Heslip
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

2. Brady Heslip

Brady Heslip
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Brady Heslip is Baylor’s 3-point specialist and the team’s second leading scorer. Brady Heslip does not do much in the rebounding or assist categories, but he can shoot the three as well as anyone in the country. When every game is win or go home, it is nice to have a guy like Heslip who can get hot from beyond the arc.

1. Cory Jefferson

Cory Jefferson
Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

1. Cory Jefferson

Cory Jefferson
Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

Cory Jefferson leads Baylor in scoring and rebounding. Baylor goes as Jefferson goes. Baylor is 6-0 when Jefferson scores 20 or more points. If Jefferson gets hot, he can put the Bears on his back and carry them deep into the tournament.

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