The Baylor Bears have had a relatively unsurprising offseason after being eliminated in the second round of the men’s NCAA Tournament.
The players that most considered headed to the NBA are out the door. The freshman duo of guard/forward Kendall Brown and forward Jeremy Sochan, along with guard James Akinjo, are not returning.
The two players most expected to test the NBA waters, but keep their options open, have done just that. Guard Adam Flagler and guard/forward Matthew Mayer are both going through the draft process. The one wrinkle is that Mayer submitted his name to the transfer portal.
The 2022 recruiting class remained at three players, though that featured the biggest surprise when Dillon Hunter decided to switch his signing to Clemson in April. The Bears handled that by grabbing a junior college guard in Kilgore (Texas) College’s Dantwan Grimes. Given the Bears’ track record with juco players like Flo Thamba, Grimes will probably be given time to develop after two quality years at that level.
Assuming Flagler returns, the Bears are at the scholarship limit of 13. The Bears replenished their frontcourt with a pair of transfers — West Virginia’s Jalen Bridges and BYU’s Jared Lohner.
Still, the Bears have questions.
First, three big injuries loom over the program. Last year’s top recruit, Langston Love, should be ready after missing all of last season with an ACL tear. Guard LJ Cryer — who led the Big 12 in 3-point percentage — should be fully recovered too after his ankle injury. Meanwhile, forward Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua’s timeline from his gruesome leg injury is harder to read, but the hope is that he’ll be ready at some point next season.
Meanwhile, the Bears have one of the nation’s top recruits entering the program in five-star guard Keyonte George. Talent-wise, the Bears are going to be just fine.
The biggest loss this offseason, of course, was that of associate head coach Jerome Tang, who left to take over at Kansas State. Drew kept things ‘in the family,’ promoting Jared Nuness to assistant coach, while Alvin Brooks III and John Jakus were each promoted to associate head coach.
Now, Drew and his staff have to put the pieces together starting this summer.
Baylor Men’s Basketball Roster Update for 2022-23
Returning for 2022-23 (7): F Flo Thamba, G Dale Bonner, G LJ Cryer*, G/F Jordan Turner, F Langston Love*, F Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua*, F Zach Loveday.
Early NBA Entries and could return (1): G Adam Flagler.
Early NBA Entries and in transfer portal (1): F Matthew Mayer.
Transfers entering program (2): F Jalen Bridges (from West Virginia), F Caleb Lohner (from BYU).
Class of 2022 Signees (3): G Keyonte George (6-foot-4, IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla.), C Joshua Ojianwuna (6-foot-10, NBA Global Academy, Australia), G Dantwan Grimes (6-foot-2, Kilgore College/Kilgore, Texas).
Projected starting lineup: G Keyonte George, G LJ Cryer, G Adam Flagler, F Flo Thamba, F Caleb Lohner.
Projected primary bench: G Dale Bonner, G/F Jordan Turner, F Langston Love, F Zach Loveday, F Jalen Bridges.
*-Recovering from injuries
Matthew Postins is on Twitter @PostinsPostcard