The Baylor college basketball program was barely on life support when Scott Drew took over as head coach in 2003. The Bears program was in shambles after a scandal that involved horrific events and the ultimate forced resignation of Dave Bliss, who was the coach at the time. Morale in Waco was at an all-time low, especially for the basketball team.
At his initial press conference, Coach Drew confidently mentioned that he came to Baylor to not only make the NCAA Tournament but win one! Though the odds were stacked against him, Coach Drew rebuilt the Baylor team from the ground up. The 50-year old made good on his promise by dominating Gonzaga in the title game on Monday night. Here is a closer look at the 2020-21 championship season of the Baylor Bears.
- Like most college hoops teams in this pandemic era, Baylor had to deal with its share of distractions and schedule interruptions caused by COVID-19. In fact, the Bears had to deal with 11 games that were either postponed or cancelled altogether. The Bears coaching staff did a tremendous job of keeping the team focused on their ultimate goal despite all the drama.
- The Bears started their season off on the right foot by winning 18 straight games. Baylor did not suffer their first defeat until the Kansas Jayhawks upended them on February 27.
- Baylor had an overall record of 28-2 for the year and ruined Gonzaga’s perfect season with a 16 point thrashing of the Zags in the NCAA Championship game. The win gave Baylor their first ever NCAA Men’s basketball title.
Who were the team leaders for Baylor all year long?
Coach Drew was blessed with an innately talented roster from top to bottom in 2021 which goes to show how skilled Drew is as a recruiter. The strength of this Bears squad was their three headed monster of guards in Jared Butler, MaCio Teague, and Davion Mitchell. All of these young men are superstars and each averaged 14 points or more per contest.
Butler brought home the Most Outstanding Player Award for the NCAA Tournament as he led the Bears with 22 points against Gonzaga (Bleacher Report). Butler was also Baylor’s first ever men’s basketball player to be named Big 12 Player of the Year. Bears fans were immensely thrilled when Butler decided to return to school after putting his name into the 2020 NBA Draft pool.
Butler may have gotten most of the accolades, but Davion Mitchell was a huge key to Baylor’s success this season. Mitchell is definitely the quickest on the team and has the ability to make defenders look silly at times when he blows past them to the hoop. Mitchell led the Bears in assists this year by averaging 5.5 per game.
MaCio Teague is like a swiss army knife of the Bears team. Teague is an all around player who has a talent for scoring, passing, and rebounding. Teague was second on the team in scoring by averaging nearly 16 points each time out.
What’s next for the Baylor Bears?
As evidenced by the loads of students celebrating at Baylor’s football stadium, there is a whole lot of partying to be done for this championship basketball team when they return to Waco. Also, the smart money says that Coach Drew will receive a substantial bump in pay! Congrats Bears fans!