It's tough to judge teams when they are playing less than stellar competition in the nonconference on par with Jackson State. But, Baylor is looking great so far. Isaiah Austin, the 7'1" freshman center, looked like a top-five pick in June's NBA Draft, stealing some of the spotlight away from another first time starter, junior Cory Jefferson. Just adding to the depth and talent is freshman Rico Gathers, a tough, aggressive interior player.
That frontcourt trio is made possible by the dynamic playmaking of Pierre Jackson and Brady Heslip's outside shooting. Jackson, the undersized ultra-quick point guard, is crafty with the ball in his hands, capable of finding open teammates for easy buckets or putting home floaters in the lane. And when Heslip's shot returns to last season's form (2-of-10 in 2012-13), Baylor will be even more difficult to slow down offensively.
After Austin dominated Lehigh in the team's opener, going 10-of-12 from the floor with two 3s, totaling 22 points in 17 minutes of action before injury, Jefferson and Gathers stepped up. Jefferson had a team-high 26 points and 13 boards, while Gathers had 4 points and 7 rebounds. Earning the start next up, Gather recorded a double-double (13 points, 10 rebounds) and Jefferson had a well-rounded 14 points, 7 rebounds, 6 block performance.
And Baylor had the depth and athleticism in the backcourt with dunk-champ Deuce Bello and former Cal transfer Gary Franklin playing atop the zone on D and knocking down mid-range shots on offense.
If healthy, this team has more than enough to unseat Kansas atop the regular-season, especially if their young, inexperienced bigs develop as expected.