You win some, you lose some: Students react to basketball offseason

Junior forward Jalen Bridges (11) passes to a teammate out of a layup attempt under the basket during a conference game against West Virginia University on Feb. 13 in the Ferrell Center. Kenneth Prabhakar | Photo Editor

By Gio Gennero | Sports Writer

Just over a month has passed since the basketball season ended, and both Baylor men’s and women’s teams have had a number of players come and go since. After asking around, students gave their reactions to the offseason so far.

Starting with the men’s team, who lost 11 players to the draft, graduation and the transfer portal, big names such as Keyonte George and Adam Flagler declared for the draft. Backcourt leaders such as LJ Cryer (University of Houston) and Dale Bonner (Ohio State University) found new homes through the transfer portal. Baylor’s all-time winningest player Flo Thamba exhausted his eligibility after winning 116 games in the green and gold.

“I’m always happy to see people move on to their next phase in life,” Dallas senior KJ Greer said. “Graduating from Baylor is a big accomplishment that our athletes should be extremely proud of. When it comes to players [that are] lost in the transfer portal it is unfortunate because these players were valuable pieces to a competitive team, but I am never going to hate on somebody making a decision they believe is best for them and their future.”

Only seven players from last season’s roster are expected to return, including a redshirt and potential walk-on. Standout forward Jalen Bridges has declared for the draft as well, but he retained his eligibility and it’s unclear if he will return or not.

Dallas senior Matthew Moran said he still holds faith in the team, because of players like incoming freshmen guards Ja’Kobe Walter and Miro Little.

“I hate that we’re losing many key players, but we also have solid recruits coming in next season, so we’ll have to wait and see what [head coach] Scott Drew is cooking,” Moran said.

For the women’s team, it is returning eight players from the 2022-23 season with five player departures. Three of those players entered their names in the portal as well, notably, Jaden Owens. Owens started in nearly 94% of the Bears’ games, averaging 8.0 points per game and she led the team in assists with 184 on the year.

The team also lost the final player from the 2019 national championship, Caitlin Bickle. That same season, Bickle was selected to the Big 12 All-Freshman team. She averaged 11.9 points and 7.1 rebounds per game last year as a starter.

Both Greer and Moran said they believe it’ll be some time until either team is going to be winning another national championship. Each squad might slip a few games, but both are in good hands according to them.

“Hopefully within the next 5-10 years, it may take a few teams to sit through, but I’m confident in our coaching staff being able to get another championship,” Moran said. “[Next season I expect] 17-20 wins given the new squad. It’s going to be all about what Scott Drew and the other coaches can put together.”

Greer added that with new schools stepping into the Big 12 gauntlet next year, the competition is that much tougher come opening night.

“I believe our championship window has closed, but we still will have competitive [men’s and women’s] teams,” Greer said. “I think it’ll be dependent on the quality of the other teams in our conference but regarding the men’s team I think we will hover around 17 games. The addition of Houston and some other quality basketball teams to the Big 12 will definitely impact how many wins we get next season. I believe the women’s team will be around the 18-21 win mark, even with all the transfers.”