While Texas should benefit from another shooter (whose scorers touch is reminiscent of senior G Brandon Mouton), Taylors decision is another piece of the fallout from the surreal and sordid story surrounding the death of player Patrick Dennehy.
Last month, the school began an internal investigation that surfaced major NCAA violations after Dennehy was last seen on June 12. In July, his body was found with two gunshot wounds to the head in an isolated field outside of Waco. Former teammate Carlton Dotson has been charged with murder and is awaiting extradition in Maryland prison.
Coach Dave Bliss and athletic director Tom Stanton resigned Aug. 8, a week before tape recorded conversations were made public in which Bliss urged athletes and assistant coaches to allege that Dennehy was a drug dealer. Bliss allegedly paid players and intentionally overlooked the results of mandatory drug testing for players.
Baylor officials have said they do not want to cancel the season, although the school placed the program on a two-year probation and won't participate in any postseason tournaments next year. But all appearances indicate that fielding a team for the 2003-04 would now require another Miracle on the Brazos.
Earlier this week, Lawrence Roberts (Baylors leading scorer and rebounder last season) announced his decision to transfer to Mississippi State. Junior G John Lucas III, sophomore F Tommy Swanson and JC transfer Harvey Thomas have also reportedly asked for releases. Baylor officials have asked the NCAA to waive a statute requiring players leaving a school to sit out one year before they are eligible to play for another program. Athletes transferring within the conference also typically lose a year of eligibility, but both the NCAA and Big 12 transfer rules could be excepted for members of the Baylor program because of the circumstances surrounding the Dennehy/Bliss situation.