The Baylor Bears reached the Elite 8 last season, and despite losing top-flight talent to the NBA Draft, the team looks primed for another strong run next year. That has much to do with yet another impressive recruiting class for head coach Scott Drew, and the return of talented pieces from last year's squad.
Sports Illustrated's Luke Winn took an early look at next year's college basketball season, and figures Baylor into the mix at number 13 on his power rankings list.
Here's his take:
The two early favorites for the Naismith and Wooden Awards are Indiana's Cody Zeller and Creighton's Doug McDermott, but the inevitable darkhorse candidates will emerge -- much in the way McDermott did last season. Can Bears point guard Pierre Jackson be one of them? With Perry Jones (25.5 percent of shots) and Quincy Miller (24.3 percent) gone, there are plenty of available field-goal attempts, and it wouldn't be surprising to see Jackson put up a few 30-point, high-assist games and get in the picture. The best other guard candidates are Murray State's Isaiah Canaan, Lehigh's C.J. McCollum and UCLA freshman Shabazz Muhammad, who should be the focal point of the Bruins' offense from Day 1.
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