The Baylor Men’s Basketball team have had themselves a week following one of the greatest Senior Day performances and with the past few days of 2021 postseason awards from the Big 12, Sporting News, and the Associated Press. The Bears seem to always be snubbed in certain categories even if the choices seem to be common sense and even with the team’s first ever Big 12 championship title and the first undefeated home record in over 70 years, the 2021 postseason awards followed the same history with one specific shun.
The first of the 2021 postseason honors was handed down by the Big 12 Conference, which highlighted six members of the Baylor squad. For the second consecutive season, Head Coach Scott Drew took home the Big 12 Men’s Basketball Coach of the Year award following the Bears’ historic run even despite three weeks of postponed and cancelled conference games. Junior G Davion Mitchell (arguably the team’s most improved player and inherently reliable on both ends of the ball) was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, which was the first time a Baylor athlete had ever been given that honor. This regular season, Mitchell shot 51.6% (111-215) of his field goals, 47.2% (50-106) of 3s, and 68.9% (31-45) of free throws with a total of 125 assists, 42 steals, 7 blocks, and 303 points. Mitchell was also named to the All-Big 12 First Team (an improvement from his Third Team placement last year) alongside junior G Jared Butler, who was outrageously snubbed by the conference’s coaches from the Big 12 Player of the Year title (instead given to Oklahoma State freshman Cade Cunningham). Butler has undeniably been the league’s best athlete on every stat board and has been a key element to the Bears’ success last and this season. Butler has recorded 49.3% (135-274) of his field goals, 44.4% (60-135) of 3s, and 75.8% (47-62) of free throws with a total of 109 assists, 47 steals, 9 blocks, and 377 points. Senior G MaCio Teague, who just tied the Baylor record for 3s in a game with 10 and 35 points, was added to the All-Big 12 Third Team list, shooting 48.1% (125-260) of his field goals, 39.6% (44-111) of 3s, and 84.1% (53-63) of free throws with a total of 38 assists, 19 steals, 5 blocks, and 347 points. Senior F Mark Vital was snubbed as well from the All-Big 12 lists, only making it with an Honorable Mention despite his dominating defensive performances all throughout his career and especially this season. Vital shot 48.6% (54-111) of his field goals and 48% (24-50) of free throws with a total of 30 assists, 27 steals, 23 blocks, and 132 points. Sophomore F Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua made it onto the All-Big 12 All-Newcomer Team as a transfer from UNLV. Tchamwa Tchatchoua made 58.8% of his field goals and 75.8% (25-33) of free throws with a total of 7 assists, 12 steals, 16 blocks, and 145 points. The Bears took up the majority of spots on the All-Big 12 All-Defensive Team with Butler, Mitchell, and Vital given the 2021 postseason award.
Sporting News released their All-American list today with Butler earning a spot on the First Team and Mitchell being named to the Third Team. According to Baylor Athletics’ Jerry Hill (papa), “This is the first time in program history the Bears have had two players named to All-America teams in the same season.” Finally the Associated Press did what the Big 12 Conference didn’t and named Butler the conference’s Player of the Year, making him the first Bear in Baylor history to win the award. Just like yesterday, Coach Drew was honored as the Big 12 Coach of the Year for the second year in a row. Teague and Mitchell were added to the All-Big 12 Second Team, giving Baylor a total of 4 awards by the AP.
There are still several awards yet to be handed out nationally, but here’s to the Bears for their most current 2021 postseason honors!