Carter and Dunn trying to fill in for Baylor
Hanging on the wall in the Baylor basketball office are framed brackets from last spring's NIT and Big 12 tournaments. The brackets are almost filled out, listing every victory that got the Bears to the championship games of each tournament. Unfilled are the outcomes of the final games, both Baylor losses. "Well, we stop (filling it out) when we have to stop (playing)," coach Scott Drew said, with a smile. While the Bears ended up with runner-up trophies in both tournaments, making its first Big 12 title game as a No. 9 seed and then ending the season with a 69-63 loss to Penn State at Madison Square Garden, the March surge provided an extended ending for a trio of senior starters. It also serves as motivation for the returning players from a team that finished 24-15, one victory short of matching the school record. "It's something you look back on and say if I did this and that, we probably could have won the game," said guard Tweety Carter, one of only two seniors this season. "You lose your last game of your season and you still have got that taste in your mouth." Now the Bears, coming off consecutive 20-win seasons for the first time, have to move forward without Curtis Jerrells, Kevin Rogers and Henry Dugat, the trio that accounted for 50 percent of Baylor's s offense during their four seasons. "Basically that group that graduated were our staple for the last several seasons," Drew said. "It's a great opportunity for the returning players now to have bigger roles. ... Now they can step into their own." Primarily, Carter and junior guard LaceDarius Dunn. "You have to be a good follower before you can be a leader, and I think both of them have done that," Drew said. Dunn, who was a two-time Louisiana high school player of the year, has averaged 15 points a game his first two seasons at Baylor, often scoring in spurts. Carter was the top-scoring prep basketball player in U.S. history, and has averaged 10 points a game for the Bears. "Jerrells, he was so special for us, he won some games for us," Carter said. "This year is me and Lace coming back at the guard spot. Everybody knows he can score, and everybody knows I can score. It's just a matter of us putting it all together. Not doing it individually, but doing it together." Dunn knows they will have to score more for Baylor to be successful again - and maybe be able to fill in more brackets. "I'm going to really have to turn it up a notch," Dunn said. "I understand that I had seniors in front of me. ... I waited my turn and I've been patient. Now it's my turn and I've got to make the best of it." The Bears also return sophomore Quincy Acy, who made a quick splash by making the first 20 field goal attempts of his college career. He ended the season averaging 5.4 points and 3.6 rebounds a game. Baylor has a highly touted class of seven true freshmen, and adds 6-foot-10, 240-pound post player Ekpe Udoh to the lineup. He sat out last season following his transfer from Michigan, where he had 159 blocked shots in 67 games over two seasons. "We've been good offensively but maybe haven't been as sound on the defensive end," Drew said. "The presence that Ekpe brings on the defensive end really helps with that. He can make up for a multitude of errors. Someone gets beat off the dribble, he's there to help out."