Former VU coach Scott Drew leads Baylor to national ranking

Former VU coach leads Baylor to 14-2 start, national ranking
2010-01-21T00:05:00Z Former VU coach Scott Drew leads Baylor to national rankingBY PAUL OREN - Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
January 21, 2010 12:05 am  • 

From the time Scott Drew took over the Baylor men's basketball program in 2003, the former Valparaiso head coach was hoping for the day when the Bears could be like every other college basketball team.

Instead of the national media looking at Baylor because of off-the-court scandals, Drew wanted opposing coaches looking at the Bears, wondering how they might pull out a victory.

As he closes in on his 100th win at Baylor, Drew (95-98 in seven seasons) finally may have gotten his wish.

The No. 25 Bears are 14-3 after Wednesday's 81-76 loss at No. 3 Kansas, with the previous two losses coming on a neutral court against Alabama and on the road at Colorado. Drew's squad already has gone on the road and beaten Arizona State, Arkansas and South Carolina.

"Our goal is to become an elite program in the nation," Drew said. "Each year, as we've had continued success, the past is talked about less and less."

Baylor basketball began picking up positive press two years ago when Drew led the school to its first NCAA tournament appearance since 1988. Last season, the Bears struggled in the early going, but peaked at the end of the season and rode the momentum to a runner-up finish in the National Invitation Tournament.

The recent success was largely due to a talented senior class from 2008-09 that featured three 1,000-point scorers and left campus as the most successful class in program history with 64 wins.

The challenge for Drew heading into this season was to figure out how to replace the key contributors in what many predicted would be a down year for the program.

"We knew we were talented," Drew said. "Normally it just takes time. We've been very good on the defensive end and we're second in the nation on defensive field goal percentage. We're also the second tallest team in the country."

While height is not an issue, especially with 6-foot-10 Michigan transfer Ekpe Udoh (71 blocks in 16 games) in the post along with a pair of 7-footers -- Josh Lomers and Dragan Sekelja -- the Bears are quite inexperienced. Drew has assembled the ninth-youngest team in the country with nine freshmen and sophomores. Five of the underclassmen play in the regular rotation.

With the Bears nationally ranked and in the thick of their Big 12 schedule, Drew expects to get the opposition's best shot on a nightly basis.

That's all he ever wanted seven years ago.

MEN'S BASKETBALL

The Scott Drew file

Career coaching record

Valparaiso

2002-03 20-11

Baylor

2003-04 8-21

2004-05 9-19

2005-06 4-13

2006-07 15-16

2007-08 21-11 *

2008-09 24-15 **

2009-10 14-3

* First NCAA tournament appearance since 1988

** NIT Runner-up

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