For the second time in as many days, a Baylor guard announced he would transfer.
Tuesday evening, sources confirmed to ESPN’s Jason King that guard L.J. Rose would leave the program after one season in Waco, Texas. This news comes one day after sophomore guard Deuce Bello announced he would use his last two years of eligibility somewhere else.
Bello asked for his release because it appeared that he wouldn’t see much of an increase in playing time with forward Ishmail Wainright (Montrose Christian/Raytown, Mo.) and shooting guard Allerik Freeman (Findlay College Prep/Charlotte, N.C.) joining Baylor as freshmen next season. However, Rose was likely inline to compete for playtime next season with Pierre Jackson and A.J. Walton graduating.
The Bears have a solid returning frontline with Isaiah Austin and Cory Jefferson and also return shooter Brady Heslip out on the perimeter. It was going to be difficult enough to replace the production of the team’s leader in scoring and assists from a season ago and with the departure of Rose, Baylor’s point guard depth took another hit.
Baylor adds junior college point guard Kenny Chery (State Fair Community College/Montreal, Quebec) for next season to help fill the starting point guard role. Gary Franklin will be a senior next season after a junior year averaging 4.0 points and 1.1 assist in 18.0 minutes per game.
Chery is ranked as the No. 15 overall junior college player according to JuCoRecruiting.com and looks likely to be Jackson’s successor. Freeman was a late decision after decomitting from UCLA, which helps Heslip in the Baylor backcourt. King later reported that the Bears are in contention for former Missouri guard Michael Dixon, who has one year of eligibility remaining, but would need a waiver in order to play next season.
Rose averaged 0.9 points, 0.6 rebounds and 1.2 rebounds per game in 33 games for the Bears this past season. The Houston, Texas native held offers from Arizona, Georgetown, Kansas, Kentucky, Memphis, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M and Virginia coming out of high school in 2012, according to Rivals.com.
Baylor still has the talent to compete in the Big 12, though at this point Kansas and Oklahoma State have separated themselves from the rest of the conference heading into next season.
Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne