Sometimes good things do happen to good people. It was not long ago when Scott Drew, head coach of the Baylor men's basketball team, took over a program crushed by NCAA sanctions after one of college basketball's biggest scandals.
While no one around the Baylor community will forget what happened, nor the people involved, the team and players set their sights towards the future. Now, Scott Drew and the Baylor Bears (15-2, 3-0) have been rewarded with their hard work and have secured a spot in the top 25 according to the latest AP Poll; a place that the Bears have not been in 40 years.
In June of 2005, the Baylor Bears were banned from playing any non-conference games in the 2005-2006 season, recruiting sanctions were imposed, and the Baylor Bears were put on probation. New Baylor players and coaches were in place, but were still suffering from the sanctions both self-imposed and handed down from the NCAA for violations under the previous regime. But Scott Drew saw something. Perhaps it was the light at the end of the tunnel, or perhaps it was the challenge to take over a program facing such obstacles. Whatever the reason, Scott Drew went to Baylor University, and in this, his fifth year as Baylor's head coach, he has the Bears riding high.
The Baylor team most recently knocked off Nebraska on the road, and at the same time knocked another monkey off their back. The Bears had not won a conference road game since February of 2004, with their win against the Cornhuskers in Lincoln, Nebraska, they brought that streak to an end. Currently, four Baylor players are averaging in double figures, and the Bears boast a complete roster for the first time under Drew's watch. Freshman sensation LaceDarius Dunn, Baylor's highest rated recruit (ranked as the 6th best shooting guard in the nation as a senior according to Scout.com) is a dynamic player who joined Baylor's first McDonald's All-American, Demond "Tweety" Carter on Baylor's roster. Add to it, Cousy Award hopeful, Curtis Jerrells, fellow guards Henry Dugat, both juniors, and senior Aussie Aaron Bruce and the backcourt appears to be in good hands.
Additionally, the Bears have enjoyed the presence of junior Kevin Rogers on their roster. Rogers has recorded five double doubles this season. Add to it junior center Mamadou Diene, dubbed "the Mayor" by Baylor Bears fans because of his popularity within the community, and fellow seven footer, sophomore Josh Lomers, and the Bears seem to have a team that is both athletic and versatile.
As for the Baylor Bears, the schedule does not get any easier. They face #18 Texas A&M on the road in College Station on Wednesday before returning home to face the Oklahoma Sooners in Waco.
No one knows what the future holds, but for some the dream has become a reality. One thing is for sure, if Scott Drew and the Baylor Bears keep at the same pace they have been on, the future will indeed be a bright one.
Baylor Bears #25 in Latest AP Poll
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