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NBA Draft 2012: Baylor's Two Gambles

The Bears two talented young forwards could end up being the two biggest steals in this draft class, as their true talent was obscured by the personnel and coaches around them in Waco.

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Over at SB Nation, I have a look at why Baylor's Perry Jones III and Quincy Miller are two of the biggest enigmas in the 2012 NBA Draft:

Perry Jones III, Baylor

The talent: An athletic 6'11, 235-pound forward, Jones has as much pure talent as Anthony Davis. Not only does he have the tools to match-up with all three front-line positions at the next level, he has the ball-handling and passing ability of a guard and a very respectable three-point shooting form (he shot 30.3 percent as a sophomore).

Quincy Miller, Baylor

The talent: An athletic 6'9, 200-pound forward with a preposterous 7'4 wingspan, Miller is a decent ball-handler and excellent shooter who's capable of effortlessly exploding for points, most notably a 29-point game against Missouri. With three-point range (35 percent as a freshman) as well as excellent footwork in the mid to high-post and a soft floater, he has the potential to be completely indefensible.

In a league where height, especially skilled height, is at a premium, the only front-court players with a higher upside potential than Miller and Jones are Kentucky's Anthony Davis and UConn's Andre Drummond, who could end up being the first two players selected.

Unfortunately, both Miller and Jones played for Scott Drew, who apparently would rather run his offense through a junior college transfer than two McDonald's All-Americans. On the defensive side of the ball, Drew refused to take advantage of his team's athleticism by sticking in a gimmick 1-3-1 defense for almost the entire season.

But while people are quick to blame the character and background of 18 and 19-year old kids because they didn't live up to their potential, rarely is a coach blamed for not putting his players in the best position to succeed. If you switched Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist with Jones and Miller, I have the feeling John Calipari would have gotten a lot more out of Baylor's stars than Drew could have gotten out of Kentucky's.

For more coverage on Baylor's NBA draft prospects, stay tuned to the SB Nation Dallas storystream and Our Daily Bears.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.