After a down year in 2010-2011, the Baylor Bears returned to prominence last season, securing their best record in the Scott Drew era at 30-8. After finishing in third place behind Kansas and Missouri in a top-heavy Big 12, Baylor took a No. 3 seed to the NCAA tournament and made it to the Elite Eight. With star player Perry Jones III and other key players departing for the NBA, this new class will be leaned on to help the Bears pick up where they left off. Evan Daniels breaks down their class.
Baylor last season: 30-8 overall, 12-6 in Big 12, lost to Kentucky in Elite Eight of NCAA tournament.
Scout.com class rank: 4
Full recruiting class: Isaiah Austin, C; Ricardo Gathers, PF; L.J. Rose, PG; Chad Rykhoek, C; Taurean Waller-Prince, PF
Best player of the class: Isaiah Austin. A top five recruit, Austin had a terrific senior season at Arlington (Tex.) Grace Prep. The 7-footer uses his length to block shots and control the backboard, but he’s also quite talented on the offensive end, as he has a great touch and can face the rim and shoot.
The one that got away: Marcus Smart, SG. Despite making a serious run at Marcus Smart, the 6-foot-3 shooting guard ended up at Oklahoma State with his best friend Phil Forte. Smart is a top 15 prospect and someone that could have filled a major role on the wing next season for the Bears.
What to expect from them next year: As one of the premier prospects in the 2012 class, Austin should find ways to contribute early on both defensively and offensively. Gathers should be able to provide immediate impact on the glass, while L.J. Rose will give the team a steady lead guard that can fire off passes and long range shots.
Will live up to the hype because ...: Between Perry Jones, Quincy Miller, Quincy Acy and Anthony Jones, Baylor is losing 52 percent of its scoring. That leaves a lot of opportunity and immediate shots for the four incoming post prospects.
Won't live up to the hype because ...: A few of the guys in the class have had their inconsistent moments during high school ball. Can they get hold it together in college?
In their words: "I'm excited to play for Coach Drew. He's an energetic coach, and I'm ready to go out there and give him my all." -- Isaiah Austin
"(Baylor) had a big game up in Lawrence, Kansas (the day after Drew came to visit), so that just showed me he really was interested in me becoming a Baylor Bear." -- Ricardo Gathers (Source: WGNO Louisiana)
"I think they were the first school to start recruiting me and they’ve been recruiting me since 7th grade. ... I think their program is on the rise and I just felt like it was the place for me to go." -- L.J. Rose
Find out more: Join the Scout community today and learn more about the Baylor recruiting class, including exclusive interviews with Isaiah Austin.