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October 19, 2022

Scott Drew

Kansas City, Missouri, USA

Baylor Bears

Media Day Press Conference

COACH DREW: It's great to be here. It is a little chilly. So hopefully everyone's awake today. But coming back from New York with Coach Huggins was a great opportunity to just talk about the Big 12 and the success we've had. And it's truly remarkable -- three straight years, different teams in the championship game. First conference to ever have that since 2002, 60 percent in the league being in Final Fours, more than any league.

I know coaches; we all feel our leagues are the best, but the statistics behind it -- the net, the RPI, six of the last nine years, the top-ranked conference.

Thank you for everyone that's covered the Big 12 and helping to promote just the great things happening in the Big 12. Proud to be in the best conference in the country. And be a part of that.

As far as this year's team goes, I know, like everybody, you feel pretty good about your team until you take that first loss, and then there's a lot of things you wish you had worked on or spent time practicing on. So we'll find out a lot more about our team as we do our scrimmages and get in the first couple of games.

But really like the returning upperclassmen. I think they've done a great job leadership-wise. As far as -- the new guys are really bought in and really been great additions. The chemistry has been tremendous. And our staff really enjoys going to practice every day, working with our guys because they want to get better.

Couldn't ask for more. And we've stayed relatively injury-free in preseason practices, which is huge coming off of the year last year where we had so many injuries starting with Langston Love out for the year with ACL in a scrimmage. And then you lose L.J. Cryer, your leading scorer at the time. And then you lose Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua, co-defensive player of the year.

Hopefully we can keep that trend going where we don't get anybody injured for the rest of the year like we've done in the non-conference.

Q. Adam returns, set to take over at point guard. What have you seen from him this summer?

COACH DREW: Adam's somebody, we all know he's a great shooter, scorer, but he's going to have an opportunity to show that he can run a team. And we've always had, in the last few years, multiple guys that play the point and that's been effective for us. So he can play on and off the ball, but he really takes care of the ball and he really does a great job pitching ahead, so in transition.

He doesn't over dribble, doesn't hold it. Guys like playing with someone who moves the ball like he does. And coaches like a guy that not only moves it but takes care of it. He's done both so far.

Q. You mentioned Langston earlier didn't play last year has had a year in his system so he knows how things work. How do you feel he fits into the different pieces you have coming into this year?

COACH DREW: Langston is one of those guys everybody loves. He's a tremendous competitor. He's a connector. He brings people together -- everybody, upperclassman, new players, staff have such respect for him.

And he just got cleared over a month ago. It's going to take him some time to get used to, getting back and playing and competing. Just because you're back doesn't mean you're really back.

What I mean by that is he got injured in our first scrimmage last year. So he never had a chance to play in the game, put on a Baylor uniform in front of a crowd. I'm sure it's going to take him a couple of games, weeks, months, to continue to get the rust off.

But he's somebody that we're really excited to coach. And we know he's going to have a big impact in our program this year and in the future.

Q. You've been in the league long enough that you probably are way ahead of me on this question. But the first time all four Texas schools have been ranked in the AP poll in the preseason in the Top 25. I guess what does that say of just about the growth of those four programs? How tough is it in the state of Texas? And what's it say about basketball, I guess, in the state?

COACH DREW: Well, it's great to see you. And if we're as tough as you, we're in good shape. I think the reason all us coaches are successful right now is because there's great players in the state. And that starts with high school AAU, the development people have spent towards the sport of basketball in state of Texas. And we're blessed that we have schools that have put money into resources and facilities where great players want to go to school at.

And then we know that each and every night in the Big 12 it's a war. But in the state itself, couldn't be more proud of just how far the state's come in the last 20 years basketball-wise. We have several teams that are ranked, like you said. But you could have multiple teams in a Final Four from a state.

So it's a great time to play basketball in the state of Texas, for sure.

Q. When you look at the upwards trajectory of some of the other programs in the conference -- TCU, Oklahoma, Oklahoma now off probation -- do you get excited when you look at the schedule in conference and see the challenge after challenge?

COACH DREW: I don't know about getting excited. Probably you don't sleep much. But as far as -- that is what makes the Big 12 the best conference in the country statistically, analytically, and will continue I know when Texas and OU (indiscernible), Ken Pom analytics, with new schools coming in, project us to be the number one conference still based on numbers.

Players want to play against the best, coaches want to coach against the best. When I first came into the league, I learned so much from coaches that were in the league, from Eddie Sutton and Rick Barnes to Bobby Knight.

Each and every night you get better going against Big 12 coaches. They're great coaches and they run great programs. So it makes you improve each and every year.

Q. You spent about 20 years with Jerome Tang on staff in Waco. Could you explain why he was ready to take over a head coaching opportunity in Kansas State?

COACH DREW: He turned down several opportunities. Didn't pursue several opportunities. And he's a great Christian man. He prayed about it. When he felt like God led him somewhere, he went.

But he's been more than ready for a long time. It's just he didn't feel the calling to go.

He's going to do a great job at K-State. I know no one's going to cheer louder or harder for him than I will except when we play.

He's done a great job already with bringing in the class that he did. And the Hang With Tang social media, he's great for community, great for the school. And he's such a great teammate. He cheers so loud for all the other sports.

He did a remarkable job everywhere he's been and Baylor wouldn't have the success we had without him. Grateful for him and his friendship and we'll always be brothers for life. And we'll always cheer for each other when we're not playing.

Q. It was reported sometime last week that the NBA might be moving the draft age back to 18. Could I just get your thoughts on that? And how maybe will it affect your approach to recruiting?

COACH DREW: I think coaches nowadays do such a great job at adjusting what we do and how we do it. And Coach Huggins is a Hall of Famer, and we've learned from him, how he adjusts his style of play year in, year out.

Same thing with the rules. I mean, if it goes to 18, obviously guys that are projected to be pros, we won't spend all the time recruiting them if they're not going to come to college.

At the same time, why basketball is at an all-time high, is you look worldwide, there's so many great players, so many people play that there's so much parity. Just because somebody's ranked top 30, I mean, that's what makes basketball what it is. We've had numerous zero star guys, people that weren't ranked, from Taurean Prince to Royce O'Neale, to Pierre Jackson, that got to the NBA, Freddie Gillespies, it doesn't matter what you're ranked or projected, it's how you continue to develop and improve. And there's a number of good players that our programs will continue to bring in and our fans will love cheering for.

So college basketball is going to be in a great position, regardless whatever happens in the NBA.

Q. You've been around for a long time. And the league has had its share of draft picks and teams that advanced into the NCAA Tournament. Great coaches. But what do rings from your team and Kansas this past year, how does that even elevate the status of the league?

COACH DREW: I think that's a great question. And I remember as a coach I was always frustrated, because since 2002 we have so many teams going to the Final Four and we know the depth and we know the net, and we know the RPI rankings in the Big 12 at that level. But you would hear the knock, not enough national championships or different teams that can win a national championship.

You have good teams but not enough national contenders. And in the last three years being the only conference to have three different teams in the national championship game, very easily could have been three different champions. But to win the last game does mean a lot. And it does mean a lot for the Big 12. And I think you've done a tremendous job covering the Big 12 for a lot of years. And helping the league grow and thank you for your support. But it's a little easier for you to back it up and say how good the Big 12 is when you win the final game.

So, again, it's great to be a part of the Big 12 and thank you all for what you do for the Big 12.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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