Sporterberg Unconventionals of the Year

By Matthew Soderberg | Sports Writer

The Lariat put out their picks for players of the year, but we had such a great year in sports that I felt the need to delve deeper. Presenting: Sporterberg’s Unconventionals of the Year!

Newcomer of the Year

1) Te’a Cooper

2) Davion Mitchell

3) MaCio Teague

Te’a Cooper came to Baylor after earning Second-Team All SEC honors in her redshirt junior season with South Carolina. As a Lady Bear, the point guard earned All America honors and First-Team All Big 12 while averaging 13.6 points on 44-42-73 shooting splits and dishing out 4.6 assists per game.

Freshman of the Year

1) Aliyah Pritchett

2) Kara McGee

3) Emily Hott

Softball’s Pritchett starred as a two-way player in her first season on campus. From the mound, Pritchett pitched 43.1 innings with a 2.42 ERA and 36 strikeouts. From the plate, Pritchett batted .271 with five home runs and 14 RBIs in 70 plate appearances.

Sophomore of the Year

1) Jared Butler

2) KC Lightfoot

3) NaLyssa Smith

Butler, a Third-Team All American, led the Bears to what could have been the best season in program history. He scored 16 PPG on 42-38-78 shooting splits, and is considered a serious NBA prospect for this year’s draft. Butler consistently faced the other team’s best defender and handled it with poise and confidence.

Junior of the Year

1) Yossiana Pressley

2) James Lynch

3) Mark Vital

Pressley was named AVCA and ESPNW Player of the Year. I think that’s a good enough justification.

Senior of the Year

1) Lauren Cox

2) Freddie Gillespie

3) Denzel Mims

4) Shelly Stafford

As First-Team All American, DPOY finalist, POY finalist and Texas MVP, Cox capped off her senior season by going No. 3 in the WNBA draft. She finished with 12.5 PPG, 8.4 rebounds and just under three blocks. The Lady Bears also lost just one game with her on the floor in her final year on campus.

Most Improved

1) Marieke van der Mark

2) Freddie Gillespie

3) Yossiana Pressley

Van der Mark, Dutch sensation, swept volleyball nation this season and exploded onto the season with 12.8 kills per match during the playoffs. I remember a coach sitting down in the press room and saying that he knew to expect Yossi and Shelly, but Van der Mark had come out of nowhere. To put that in perspective, the opposite doubled her sets played, kills per set, hitting percentage and blocks per set.

Comeback Player

Gia Rodoni

Hannah Lockin

After sitting out all of the 2019 campaign due to injury, Rodoni, a former First-Team All Big 12 pitcher, was off to her best season yet in a Baylor jersey. Rodoni had a career high 1.15 ERA and had tied her season-high in saves through a third of the appearances. It was on track for an all-time performance by a Baylor pitcher before the cancellation.

Biggest Win

1) Volleyball 3-2 vs No. 1 Texas – 11/20

2) MBB 67-55 at No. 3 Kansas – 1/11

3) WBB 74-58 at No. 1 UCONN – 1/9

Most Devastating Loss

1) Football 31-34 vs No. 10 Oklahoma

2) Volleyball 0-3 at No. 4 Texas

3) MBB 61-64 vs No. 3 Kansas

Bear of the Year

1) Yossiana Pressley

2) Lauren Cox

3) Gia Rodoni

4) Jared Butler

5) James Lynch

Again, do we have to get into this?