MaCio Teague could've taken things right up to the deadline to withdraw from the 2020 NBA Draft, continued to gather information, weigh the pros and cons, and leave a coaching staff and fanbase anxious. In fact, nobody would've blamed him if he did exactly that. But when you already know what you want to do, and you're certain your decision is your final decision, what's the point in dragging things out?
Answer: There is no point.
So Teague ended the uncertainty Wednesday with a video posted on Twitter. After 35 seconds of suspense, the 6-foot-3 guard announced that he will "be back at Baylor the next season to finish off what we started."
So that's one big piece down, one big piece to go for Scott Drew's Bears. Next up is Jared Butler's decision. And as long as Baylor's leading scorer (Butler) does the same thing Baylor's second-leading scorer (Teague) did -- i.e., withdraws from the 2020 NBA Draft -- the Bears will be returning the top three scorers, and seven of the best nine, from last season's team that finished 26-4 and ranked No. 3 at KenPom. That's strong. And the only reasonable conclusion to reach, if things break that way for Baylor, is that the Bears will then very much be in position to finish off what they started just league Teague said.
That was the real bummer about the 2020 NCAA Tournament being canceled, you know?
It wasn't just that the COVID-19 pandemic, then in its early stages in the United States, robbed us of a fabulous event that annually grabs the nation's attention for three straight weeks and basically owns the month of March. It was that so many programs that have never won an NCAA Tournament -- Gonzaga, Dayton, San Diego State, Creighton and, yes, Baylor -- were robbed of perhaps their best chances ever to actually win an NCAA Tournament and cut nets after the final game of the season.
Three days before Selection Sunday, it was just ... over.
It's still wild to think about.
And, let's be honest, Dayton and San Diego State are in no position to bounce-back this season after losing All-Americans Obi Toppin and Malachi Flynn respectively. But Teague's decision to return for another year of college basketball, provided it is followed by Butler's decision to also return for another year of college basketball, has Baylor, on paper, looking like a real national-title contender again. For what it's worth, with Butler and Teague both projected back, I have the Bears ranked No. 2 (behind Gonzaga) in the CBS Sports Preseason Top 25 And 1. So it's not a stretch to suggest Baylor has a realistic chance to win its first conference title since 1950 -- and also make the Final Four for the first time since that same season.
It's an incredible story.
Now it just needs an incredible ending.
"Last season we never had the opportunity to achieve what we set out to achieve," Drew told me late Wednesday. "As close as the team is, I know they are really excited for another opportunity."