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Baylor Basketball

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly from Baylor's Week of Sports

December 12, 2022

As National Signing Day draws closer, football's 2023 class is taking hits, and former coaches are finding new landing spots. Meanwhile, Volleyball season is over in all too familiar territory, and both basketball teams took care of business. 

 Here's a look at The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly from the week in Baylor Athletics. 

The Good

Brittney Griner — Congratulations, and welcome home to the Baylor legend and fellow American. A home I’m sure she has a much greater appreciation for after nearly 10 months in a Russian prison. 

MBB — The No. 12 Bears successfully turned away Tarleton State, 80-57, in their only action last week, with LJ Cryer and Adam Flagler out with a back injury and illness, respectively. The 7-2 Bears won't play again until Sunday against Washington State as part of the Pac 12 Coast-to-Coast Challenge at the AAC in Dallas. That will be a 9 pm tip, following the women's game at 6:30, so prepare for a big-time Baylor doubleheader in Big D. In all, that doubleheader caps off a four-game slate also featuring Texas' men's and women's teams in the early action.

Jack Mackenzie - SicEm365

WBB — The No. 19 Bears walloped UT Arlington, 91-36, in their only game last week. Guard Sarah Andrews led the way with 20 points after missing the previous contest with an ankle injury. Transfer Jana Van Gytenbeek had her best showing thus far in green and gold, coming off the bench. The Bears will host Tennessee State on Thursday in early action, tipping at 11 am. And then face Arizona on Sunday evening at the AAC for Pac-12 Coast-to-Coast Challenge. 

Flo Thamba — An excellent note from the win over TSU was that it gave the fifth-year senior forward his 100th career win in green and gold, a new program record. A terrific accomplishment apparently earned while also battling strep throat. The breaks in the action for this team are timely. 

Former Coaches — Ron Roberts and Philip Montgomery are from different eras in Baylor Football history, but they will now be on the same team as DC and OC under new Auburn head coach Hugh Freeze. To state the obvious, Monty is a great offensive mind, and this will be his first stint as OC since leaving Baylor for the Tulsa job back in December 2014. Roberts' defense was a point of contention this past season, but a thrill during the championship run of 2021. Best of luck, but I can't root for Freeze.

AP All-Big 12 — The football honors aren't abundant this December, but they're not absent either. NT Siaki' Apu' Ika and OL Connor Galvin each earned 1st Team honors. In addition, LB Dillon Doyle, OL Grant Miller, and S Al Walcott earned second-team selections. 

EQ All-Big 12 — Equestrian's Jumping Seat duo of Lauren Reid (Fences) and Dominika Silvestri (Flat) each earned co-Big 12 November Riders of the Month honors in their respective events. The Bears wrapped fall action with a win over Fresno State back on November 18 and will return on January 27 at home against UT Martin. 

Women's Tennis — The Bears announced their spring schedule, and play begins the weekend of January 6th in Fort Worth at the TCU Invite. The home opener will see the Bears host Houston and UTRGV on January 21st. After an array of other matches in the preceding weeks, conference play starts on March 10th against Oklahoma State and March 12 against OU, both in Waco. 

No Heisman for TCU — For those who hate TCU, their success this season still hurts, but there was some saving grace this weekend as Max Duggan finished second in the Heisman Trophy race behind winner Caleb Williams. Now, you hope they fall to Michigan because a CFP win would soothe the Big 12 Champ and Heisman disappointments with ease. For at least the next couple of years, CFP wins are like infinity stones, and playing for a National Championship is always a big deal and a sign of having reached another level as a program. Also, Baylor Creative has plenty to draw from the Bears' 2021 home win over OU, should they want to utilize highlights against the new Heisman winner. 

The Bad

Thorpe Award — I've never claimed to be a talent evaluator, but I was pounding on the table for Matt Rhule and his staff to pursue then Midway safety and returner Trevius Hodges four years ago. He didn't fit their prototypical profile, but he was an undeniable playmaker at the 6A level. They eventually offered and would have landed him if he had decided to sign in December. In fact, someone is bound to have a screenshot of the commitment graphic where Hodges pledged to Baylor on early National Signing Day before the pledge vanished. As it turns out, he wasn't willing to ink officially and wanted to visit TCU, which had started showing escalated interest. That was his dream school, as a relative of Frogs great LaDainian Tomlinson. So when Patterson called, Trevius wanted to hear them out, visit, and hopefully land an offer. However, the Baylor staff would not accept anything but putting pen to paper that day. The graphic got deleted, the commit never officially happened, and the Bears moved on. Hodges did, too, eventually landing his dream offer, changing his name to Hodges-Tomlinson, and the rest is history. As in, the former Midway star is now a Thorpe Award winner. Not a fun ending for the green and gold, but an all-time Baylor recruiting tale nonetheless. 

Sweet 16 Roadblock — Deja vu. Top 20 Volleyball's season came to a close in the round of 16 for the third straight year, this time falling 3-0 to regional host Louisville. Ryan McGuyre and the Bears finished the year 25-7 overall, second in the Big 12, and should return a talented young core next season. Texas is dominant and will give the SEC a massive boost in the sport once they arrive, but on the bright side, BYU, Houston, and UCF all boast current Top 25 programs. 

Decommitment Season — Last week, the transfer portal nipped the Bears, but this week's personnel sting came courtesy of decommitments. Kansas OL Calvin Clements‍ flipped his pledge to not just in-state but hometown Kansas Jayhawks, which is understandable. The loss certainly stings, but an explanation here is pretty straightforward, given the proximity and positive direction under Lance Leipold. Then on Sunday, local star Taurean York‍ of Temple announced his decommitment. Word around Twitter is Duke may be his landing spot. Not a total surprise as Ron Roberts did recruit him closely. York might not have all the desired attributes, but he will outwork anyone, and I say that confidently, knowing that everyone claims the same. He lives hard work and has strong character traits, which this Baylor program will miss out on with his departure. 

Taurean York

The Ugly

Mike Leach — At publishing time, the Pirate is still with us but struggling mightily after an unexpected health scare on Sunday. Various reports all shared the common theme of sounding grave. While writing here, I'm not sure about the latest, but I'm hoping for a miracle like everyone else. He's one of a kind as a character, but also one of the most significant influences and minds in the modern era of football at any level. 

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The Good, The Bad & The Ugly from Baylor's Week of Sports

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