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With one tweet from departing point guard Pierre Jackson, Baylor fans became very excited about their prospects for the 2013-14 season.
In news that has since been reported by multiple outlets, 7-1 center Isaiah Austin will in fact return to Waco for his sophomore season. Baylor sent out a press release late Sunday, following a meeting between Austin and head coach Scott Drew.
With rising redshirt senior Cory Jefferson making the same decision Thursday, Scott Drew’s team will be loaded inside next season.
“We’re extremely excited to have an opportunity to work with Isaiah for another year,” Drew said in the release. “I think it’s a compliment to Baylor Nation, the university and the team that Isaiah wants to return, and I know Baylor Nation is really excited to have him back for another year.”
In 35 games this past season Austin averaged 13.0 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocked shots per game for the Bears, who won the Postseason NIT title. Austin has been projected as a likely first round selection in the 2013 NBA Draft, likely falling just outside of the lottery.
But with his decision to return to school the 2014 NBA Draft (should he declare then) becomes deeper in theory, and Baylor should be considered a Big 12 contender along with Oklahoma State (the early favorite in the eyes of many) and league standard-bearer Kansas.
This is where Jackson’s departure comes into play.
Jackson leaves a big hole for Baylor to fill at the point, with the hope being that rising sophomore L.J. Rose and junior college transfer Kenny Chery are capable of handing the responsibilities.
Gary Franklin Jr. is another option at the position, and with the amount of talent both returning and arriving in Waco at the other spots this is the big question for Coach Drew and his staff to address.
However that question is for another day. Today Baylor fans will celebrate Austin’s decision to return to school for another year, and rightfully so.
Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.