Big 12 Basketball has the proud distinction of having the reigning national champion in its conference in the Baylor Bears, who has an argument to make that they were one of the best teams of this century in college basketball.
But after losing a ton of talent this offseason, there are some questions as to whether Baylor can remain a Final Four contender in 2021. It’s not just the Bears with questions, as transfers and roster overhauls have made the entire Big 12 talented, yet filled with variables on paper.
To help answer some questions, we here at Busting Brackets have put together a roundtable specifically for the Big 12, involving several talented contributors. Here are the participating writers and their social media handles to continue following their takes as the season approaches.
Ian Mumm – @FiveOnFiveHoops
Andrew Tineo – @D_Tineo4
Holden Walter-Warner – @hwalterwarner
Austin Massey – @austin_massey_
1. Which transfer PG will have the biggest impact on their new team; Akinjo, Carr, Curry, or Martin?
This is a close one between Malik Curry and James Akinjo, but the latter should have the bigger
impact this season. The defending National Champions had a terrific team last year, but the
notable backcourt losses of Jared Butler, MaCio Teague, and Davion Mitchell already hampered
the floor for this team.
The Bears still feature enough firepower to remain competitive in the Big 12 and nationally, but with expectations of having to rely on a much younger group. Recent news of LJ Cryer’s potential absence through the beginning of the season only heightens the need for this program to lean on an experienced floor general.
Akinjo has helped elevate multiple teams during his 3-year career, but none may be more important than this opportunity. His ability to consistently score the ball and create for others will ensure Baylor doesn’t significantly regress if Cryer misses more time than expected.
I was close to going with Akinjo, but I’m going to take Malik Curry. Kansas and Texas backcourts are loaded and if Remy Martin or Marcus Carr are averaging 20 points a game, something wrong is going on in Lawrence and Austin.
Curry proved his first two years at Old Dominion to be a scorer and above-average defender. It led him to earn All-CUSA this past season and the Monarchs to a bounce-back season in 2021, going 15-8, after finishing 13-19 the year prior.
Taz Sherman will continue to produce off the bench and Sean McNeil’s three-point shot will be a major asset. However, Curry has the intangibles to be a game-changing player and will provide the biggest impact this upcoming year out of the four guards.
Marcus Carr. A case could be made for any of these players, but it ultimately comes down to Carr and Remy Martin. Texas is now Carr’s third school and destined to be his last – he wants to go out a winner. Carr has been one of the best players in the Big Ten over the last two years, finishing third in the conference with 19.4 points per game last season. His ability to stay on the court is also vital, as he’s led the conference in minutes per game each of the last two seasons. His transition to Texas should be seamless.
Give me Remy Martin here. Kansas is loaded at the 2-5 position, and Remy Martin fills a clear void for the Jayhawks at the 1. He will have a massive role in this Kansas offense, not only as a facilitator but also as a scorer. The Jayhawks will likely depend on Martin more than any other point guard transfer in the Big 12, and I believe he’s ready for that role. Look for Martin to be a top 5 scorer in the Big 12 next season.