Baylor's Cory Jefferson announces return to school

By Jeff Borzello | College Basketball Writer

Baylor forward Cory Jefferson could take an even bigger step forward next season. (USATSI)
Baylor forward Cory Jefferson could take an even bigger step forward next season. (USATSI)

This past season was mostly disappointing for Baylor, but the Bears are hoping to build on a solid late-season run that included a win over Kansas and an NIT championship.

Baylor took another step in that direction on Thursday. Junior forward Cory Jefferson announced he will return to Waco for one more season.

"We went out on a good note," Jefferson said at a press conference, "and we're hoping to continue that next season."

Jefferson, a 6-foot-9 Texas native, was one of the bigger breakout players of this past season. After averaging fewer than four points during his sophomore season, Jefferson became a consistent inside weapon. Despite being overshadowed by Isaiah Austin and Pierre Jackson, Jefferson averaged 13.3 points and 8.0 rebounds while also blocking nearly two shots per game.

Projected as a mid-second round draft pick this summer by most services, Jefferson is a terrific athlete with length. He's not a completely polished back-to-the-basket player yet, but he is active on the offensive glass and is also effective in transition or when cutting to the basket. Defensively, his athleticism and length obviously make him a major factor when it comes to blocking shots.

"Being a fifth-year guy, everyone is going to look to me as a leader," Jefferson said. "I am willing to step up and take that position. I have no problem with it."

Baylor is still waiting for Austin's decision, which will come in the next couple of days. They will definitely lose Jackson and fellow senior guard A.J. Walton, but coach Scott Drew welcomes four-star frontcourt players Dominic Woodson and Ishmail Wainright, as well as big man Jonathan Motley and junior-college guard Kenny Cherry. Brady Heslip is back as a starter, while Rico Gathers, Gary Franklin and Deuce Bello were all consistent members of the rotation.

After Kansas and Oklahoma State, the Big 12 could be wide open next season.

 
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