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Big 12 2019-20 Preview: Baylor Bears

Baylor Bears

2018-19 Record: 20-14 (10-8)

2018-19 Big 12 Finish: 4th

Players to Watch:

Tristan Clark:

An injury limited Clark’s action last season. In 14 games, he averaged 14.6 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-10, 245-pound forward had 15 steals. During his freshman year, he led team with .608 field goal percentage, the second-best by a freshman in school history.

Mark Vital:

Vital was four-star recruit that ranked No. 1 in Louisiana and No. 55 nationally in the 2016 recruiting class by As a redshirt freshman, he averaged 6.7 points and 5.6 rebounds. During the 2018-19 campaign, the 6-foot-5, 230-pounder averaged 7.2 points and 7.2 rebounds.

Davion Mitchell:

Mitchell is a transfer from Auburn who sat out last season to fulfill NCAA transfer requirements. As a freshman he played in all 34 games off the bench. He was second on team with 18.4 assist rate and second in 2-point field goal percentage at .566. Mitchell was a four-star prospect out of high school. He averaged 23.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 2.5 steals per game as senior.

Jared Butler:

As a freshman, Butler made 21 starts in 34 appearances and earned All-Big 12 honorable mention and All-Freshmen Team honors. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound guard averaged 10.2 points per game. He was second on the team with 2.7 assists per game, tied for team lead with 60 made 3-pointers and ranked second with 33 steals.

Devonte Bandoo:

Bandoo was Baylor’s top three-point shooter last year. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound guard made 39.5 percent of his shots. He averaged 8.4 points. Prior to transferring, Bandoo played two seasons at Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College where he averaged 14.9 points.

Key Losses:

Mario Kegler: 

After an indefinite suspension for a violation of team rules, Kegler parted ways with the Bears. In his one and only year with Baylor, he averaged 10.5 points, 0.6 blocks, 0.4 steals, 1.3 assists, and 5.8 rebounds in 28.3 minutes per game. During the Bears, post season run, Kegler played a clutch role for the team. He scored in double figures in 11 of the Bears last 17 games. Kegler made 50.3% of his shots inside the arc in 2018-19.

King McClure:

McClure’s four-year journey came to an end last season. During his time at Baylor, his journey was full of trials and tribulations. On 2015 a heart condition seemed to end his career but McClure battled and found his way back on the court. He was a strong, physical guard that made a difference in the lineup. Last season McClure averaged 9.0 points and 5.3 rebounds per contest. He had 33 steals and 10 blocks.

Final Thoughts:

Last season Baylor was one of the biggest surprises, going from being picked to finish ninth in the Big 12 Preseason Poll to a 20-win season and an NCAA Tournament appearance. The Bears did that without Clark. With a healthy Clark, some key newcomers and the several clutch returning players Baylor could be the team that gives Kansas a run for their money this season.

Cover Photo Credit: Shanna Rose, BGS

Shanna Rose
WVU Graduate with a bachelor's in journalism and multimedia journalist. Sports Fan and sports writer. Former WVU News reporter. Contact Shanna on Twitter @SMR1837
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