Whereas the Baylor Men’s Basketball team used to be full of older developed or transfer athletes, the Bears are now seeing highly touted freshmen foregoing their college days to enter the NBA Draft in their seasons. Joining the ranks of blue bloods like K*nsas, North Carolina, Duke, and Kentucky who often had/have talented 18 year olds leave campus for the pros, Baylor’s had three consecutive freshmen bid adieu to Waco in exchange for basketball careers. 2021-22 freshmen Fs Kendall Brown and Jeremy Sochan left Baylor after one season for the NBA where they now play for the Indiana Pacers and San Antonio Spurs, respectively, and most recent star freshman G Keyonte George announced he’d forgo college eligibility in favor of the 2023 NBA Draft. In his one season in the green and gold, George averaged 15.3 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 29 minutes per game.
On his experience at Baylor before declaring for the 2023 NBA Draft, George said, “Playing for coach Scott Drew was a blessing. He’s a coach that not only cares about you as a player but also outside of basketball. He prepared me in many ways, especially focusing on the little things. He knew I was talented and could score, but he helped lock in defensively, knowing rotations, where to be. Being at Baylor this past season, I feel like I was able to make a jump on that side of the ball.”
Coming out of high school, George was ranked No. 3 in the country—making him Baylor’s highest ranked recruit in program history. George was named Preseason Big 12 Freshman of the Year and was picked as an All-Big 12 Honorable Mention selection. George was Baylor’s second consecutive Preseason Big 12 Freshman of the Year, making the Bears “just the third program in Big 12 history to have back-to-back winners,” according to Baylor Athletics’ Jerry Hill (papa). The National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) All-District team was chosen by NCAA Division I NABC coaches and George was showered with honors from the group. George followed his preseason accolade by being named Big 12 Freshman of the Year—the Bears’ first winner since Quincy Miller in 2012—and he earned spots on the Second Team, All-Freshman Team and All-Newcomer Team. Papa Jerry Hill stated that “George holds the program record for most 20-point games by a freshman (12)!” His play easily made him an addition to the NABC All-District Second Team.