Baylor not giving up on season without postseason
DALLAS -- There won't be any postseason play for Baylor because of self-imposed sanctions, but that doesn't mean the Bears are giving up on the season.
"Last year, we won 14 games. Our first practice, we talked about 15 wins," senior forward Terrance Thomas said Thursday during the Big 12 media day. "That is one of our goals, to have a winning season. We're not going to back down."
The Bears are ready to get back to just playing basketball after a summer of scandal. A former Baylor player is charged with the murder of a teammate and coach Dave Bliss was fired after the investigation uncovered potentially serious NCAA violations.
In the aftermath, Baylor's top three scorers from last season transferred, two of them to other Big 12 schools.
New coach Scott Drew said he's been impressed with the players who stayed.
"They work extremely hard," Drew said. "When you only have eight scholarship players, you need to be in better shape than normal because you have to play more minutes."
Thomas said the biggest change in the routine has been more running and the coach's participation.
"Sprints, sprints, sprints," Thomas said. "I've never had a coach who ran wind sprints and beat the guys. And I've never had a coach that doesn't swear."<
^NOT THE RIGHT TIME TO CALL:@ During his stay in Dallas for the Big 12 media day, Texas Tech coach Bob Knight didn't try to call Dallas Cowboys coach Bill Parcells, his longtime friend.
"I try to call him when he's in a good mood," Knight explained.
The Cowboys lost 16-0 Sunday at Tampa Bay, snapping a five-game winning streak.
"I'm going to call him tomorrow (Friday). I figure after five days, he may be ready to talk a little bit," Knight said. "There are optimum times to call both Parcells and me."<
^SLOCUM'S SENTENCE:@ Texas A&M center Andy Slocum spent part of his summer serving a jail sentence for steroids possession.
Slocum, a 7-foot senior, played just 14 games last season because of injury and the team suspension following his January arrest.
"Everything's behind me. I'm getting ready this year to step up and lead the team," Slocum said. "I appreciate all of the people who stood behind me. It made me stronger as a person."
After playing 27 games as freshman, Slocum suffered a shoulder injury lifting weights before the next season. He missed half of the 2001-02 season with a broken left hand.
"We haven't seen his true ability to play this game, he's been in and out," said Aggies coach Melvin Watkins. "He hasn't missed practice and has really shown us leadership."
Slocum pleaded no contest in April to two misdemeanor drug possession charges.<
^LOVIN' LUCAS:@ Oklahoma State coach Eddie Sutton needed a point guard after Victor Williams played his last game. He never expected to get one this season with so much Big 12 experience.
John Lucas, a two-year starter at Baylor, transferred to Oklahoma State this summer. He gets to play immediately, but is officially a walk-on since the Cowboys didn't have an available scholarship.
"What a find for us," Sutton said. "It was like Christmas came early when we got John. He's a terrific basketball player."
Senior forward Ivan McFarlin said Lucas is a great fit.
"He's going to bring a passion and confidence, which is something that we need," McFarlin said. "John is someone who's going to distribute the ball, lead the floor and when things are down, he's going to pick us up."<
^RISE AND SHINE:@ Colorado players are getting an early start with 6 a.m. practices. Coach Ricardo Patton plans to keep that schedule throughout the semester.
The Buffaloes won 20 games last season, but lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
"I thought we had to convince our guys that we needed to ask more of ourselves this year," Patton said. "We have to get up a little earlier and stay up a little later and do a lot more."
While they griped at first, players have gotten used to the schedule.
"It adds discipline. You can't stay up all night," said Michel Morandais. "If you get up earlier, you get your work done and have the rest of the day."<
^FREE THROWS: Nebraska guard Jake Muhleisen played just eight minutes in last season's Big 12 opener before he fractured his hip. He's fully healthy and ready to rejoin the lineup that also includes the other four starters from a year ago. ... Kansas State lost three starters and its top four scorers from last season. Coach Jim Wooldridge said all seven of his newcomers could play a lot of minutes. "We have a lot to find out as we move through non-conference play," he said. ... New Iowa State coach Wayne Morgan isn't scraping the defensive philosophy of going after rebounds, but he's changing the offense. "It's really a fast-paced system," said senior Marcus Jefferson. Morgan was an assistant coach last season for Cyclones coach Larry Eustachy, who resigned during the summer.
This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index
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