The Baylor Bears are preparing for the 2023-24 men’s basketball roster and below is a preview of every player on the roster entering November’s opening game.
Below are the returning players, the transfers, and the freshmen that will play a role in Baylor’s upcoming season.
Expected to Return
F Jalen Bridges
The 6-foot-7 senior forward declared for the NBA Draft in the spring but retained his college eligibility and returned for another season, which was the right call. Bridges’ declaration for the draft was more about getting his report card from the league than actually going to the NBA.
He is Baylor’s best returning forward after averaging 10.3 points, 5.6 rebounds, one assist, one steal and one blocked shot per game last season, his first since transferring from West Virginia. He was an ironman, starting in all 34 of Baylor’s games a year ago. He’s going to start and play a big role in Baylor’s success this season. He’s a fourth-year college player and that remains a rare commodity.
G Dantwan Grimes
The 6-foot-2 guard redshirted last season after he transferred in from Kilgore (Texas) College. With the Rangers, he was a Second-Team NJCAA All American after averaging 14.1 points and 3.2 assists per game. He’ll have two seasons of eligibility remaining but he’ll have to work hard to carve out a role off the bench. He’s capable of scoring at this level and he showed it in last summer’s GLOBL Jam, where he scored 10 points and 11 points in the tournament’s final two games.
G Langston Love
The 6-foot-5 guard finally gets his chance to take center stage in his third college season. His first was wiped out by an ACL injury just before the start of the 2021-22 season. The former five-star recruit got on the court last year and averaged 6.3 points and 2.2 rebounds per game. With the departures of Adam Flagler, Keyonte George and Dale Bonner, there should be room for Langston to show he is the five-star player the Bears signed for the Class of 2021. He should be in the starting lineup to begin the season.
F Josh Ojianwuna
The 6-foot-10 sophomore showed up in spots as a true freshman last year, providing some back-up time for Flo Thamba while Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua recovered from his gruesome 2022 leg injury. He dropped in 4.2 points and grabbed 3.5 rebounds per game. He wasn’t much of a presence in the paint defensively, so if he can assume Thamba’s role in that department that would help the Bears in the shot-blocking department. He could take a big jump this season, but he’s likely to share time in the pivot. He was more polished than your average freshman thanks to his time in the NBA Global Academy.
F Austin Sacks
The 6-foot-7 senior was a walk-on last year and played in one game. Don’t expect Sacks to play much this season unless the Bears suffer a litany of injuries in their frontcourt.
F Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua
The 6-foot-8 graduate student is back for one more season with the Bears. His return last season, a year after suffering a gruesome leg injury, was one of the best moments of the season for the Bears. The player they call “Everyday Jon” only played like himself in flashes, as he averaged 5.1 points and 4.8 rebounds in just 12 games. With a full offseason and no restrictions, the Bears should get the player that worked in tandem with Thamba to help them win the 2021 NCAA Tournament Championship and won the 2022 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year award. He’s probably better suited off the bench, but he’ll be given a chance to win a starting job.
F Caleb Lohner
The 6-foot-8 senior was lost in the shuffle in his first year with the Bears after transferring in from BYU. He only averaged 3.2 points and 3.5 rebounds off the bench for the Bears and just never got into the flow of what Baylor did offensively. He’s more of a stretch four and the hope was that he could fill the Matthew Mayer role after Mayer transferred to Illinois. Lohner should feel more comfortable this season. But he also has more competition from younger players.
Arrivals Via Transfer
F Yanis Ndongja
The 6-foot-8 junior transferred in from New Mexico Military Institute, a junior college best known for producing former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach (before he went on to Navy). He averaged 13.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 26 games for the Broncos. He did that in fewer than 11 minutes per contest. With the competition in the frontcourt and his move from the Juco ranks, don’t be surprised if he takes a redshirt.
G Jayden Nunn
The 6-foot-4 junior transferred in from VCU, where he averaged 9.3 points and shot 40 percent from the 3-point line a season ago. The 3-point shooting average is something to keep an eye on. The Bears will be looking to replace the 3-point shooting ability of Flagler and LJ Cryer. Nunn is a good fit in that department.
G RayJ Dennis
The 6-foot-2 senior has been around. He was most recently at Toledo, where he was the MAC Player fo the Year, averaging 19.5 points and 5.8 assists per game. He also had a 3.0 assist-to-turnover ratio. He was one of the best mid-major players in the country last season and he looks equipped to step right into Baylor’s rotation and be productive. He seems likely to start in Baylor’s opener and be a consistent part of that starting lineup.
Class of 2023 Recruits
G Ja’Kobe Walter
The 6-foot-5 forward from Link Academy (Branson, Mo.) was the nation’s No. 19 recruit per 247Sports.com when he signed. He’s from McKinney, Texas, and while with Link he played for the nation’s No. 2 prep team per ESPN. The McDonald’s All-American was capable of averaging more than 20 points in high school. He’ll get the chance to compete right away for playing time.
G Miro Little
The 6-foot-4 guard from Sunrise Christian, (Wichita, Kan.) is actually from Helsinki, Finland. But, Scott Drew and his staff did manage to sneak him out of the backyards of Kansas and Kansas State. The four-star guard Little is the third player the Bears have signed out of Sunrise in the last five years — Jordan Turner (2019) and Kendall Brown (2021). He has international experience from the FIBA U18 and the FIBA EuroBasket Championships.
C Yves Missi
The 6-foot-10 center from Prolific Prep (Calif.) reclassified into the 2023 class, which means age-wise he’s a bit behind everyone else. But, when he reclassified he was the No. 2 recruit in California. He played with Little in the 2023 Nike Hoop Summit and against Walter in the same tournament. What he brings is height. That could get him playing time in a rotation with the rest of the frontcourt.
G Omar Agdebola
The 6-foot-4 guard out of Monteverde Academy in Florida is actually from Houston, Texas, so playing for Baylor will be like coming home. With the wealth of perimeter options for the Bears, Agdebola could end up redshirting.
Projected Starting Five: Love, Bridges, Dennis, Tchamwa Tchatchouwa, Walter.
First Four off Bench: Nunn, Lohner, Ojianwuna, Little
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard