Baylor head coach Scott Drew reeled in one of the top recruiting classes in the country with center Isaiah Austin (#3) anchoring the group. Of the five signees, four of the prospects call the paint home although the common theme among this group is the fact that most of them are face-up guys who make a living away from the basket. Another common fact about these five recruits are the fact that they all have high basketball-IQ’s. Point guard L.J. Rose (#62) is a guy who you can trust to run your team and between he, Austin and power forward Ricardo Gathers (#45), the Bears look to have a bright future.
Get to know the recruits
Austin is similar to class of 2011 center Andre Drummond in the sense that he is a seven footer who has a good skill set on the perimeter. For his size, he has outstanding ball-handling skills and slashing ability causing him to be a match-up nightmare. He has a solid low-post game as well where he can pass out of the post and score on put-backs. He is also a great rebounder and shot-blocker and has the ability to make the perimeter shot. The biggest area he needs to work on is getting stronger. It will help him become a better rebounder and defender against other lost-post players. Also, as does every other big man in the country, Austin needs to improve his interior scoring ability. He can score over smaller defenders but when he faces guys who are just a couple of inches smaller he will need to have a variety of post moves. The bottom-line for him is that he is versatile with a lot of potential and has good hands and timing which is important for a big man. Look for him to be an immediate starter for the Bears and to be an impact player as a freshman.
Gathers is a DeJuan Blair type guy in the sense that he’s undersized and a great rebounder. He is very strong inside and has good touch around the basket. He also has good hands and is a good finisher, especially through contact. Gathers is productive in the mid-range game and is a good athlete. However, he could really improve on his counter-moves and extend his range further. He’s going to be undersized down low in college so it will be interesting to see how he manages.
Rose has a variety of scoring moves between his step-back jumper, spin move to get by his defender in the lane and NBA range beyond the three-point line. Although Rose is able to score a lot, he’s a true point guard since he has great court vision, good passing skills, the ability to manage a game and the ability to create scoring opportunities for his teammates. Rose knows when to push the tempo or slow the game down into a half-court setting and is a good ball-handler with a high basketball-IQ. However, he lacks great quickness and speed and needs to improve the consistency on his perimeter shot.
Chad Rykhoek | Overall: NR | Position: Center (NR) | 6’9 | 215
Rykhoek is more of a finesse big man than a bang it out, inside presence. He has a high basketball-IQ but at this point, he’s a guy with more upside an skill right now. He’s a very good passer who can improve on a few different things but the number one thing he must work on is his strength.
Taurean Waller-Prince | Overall: NR | Position: Power Forward (NR) | 6’7 | 210
Waller-Prince represents the theme among the big men in this year’s Baylor recruiting class as he’s long, athletic and more of a face-up big man. He excels in transition where he runs the floor well and is best attribute is his never-ending motor. He’s also a good rebounder, shot-blocker and finisher but I just don’t think he has the tools to be more than a contributor at any point in his Baylor career.