Baylor men’s basketball head coach Scott Drew is one of 10 semifinalists for the 2017 Werner Ladder Naismith Men’s College Coach of the Year, as announced Friday by the Atlanta Tipoff Club.
This marks the second time in the last three seasons Drew has been recognized as a semifinalist for the honor, as he was one of 15 semifinalists in 2015.
Drew has guided a team that didn’t receive a single vote in either national preseason poll to a 24-6 record and its first-ever No. 1 ranking. The Bears have notched four top-10 wins with victories over No. 4 Oregon, No. 7 Xavier, No. 10 Louisville and No. 10 West Virginia, and they are 6-3 against top-25 opponents on the season.
Drew had the Bears ranked in the AP top 10 for a school record-tying 13 consecutive weeks. BU’s climb from unranked in the preseason to No. 1 nine weeks later was the fastest in AP Top 25 history.
BU started the season 15-0, including a tournament title at the Battle 4 Atlantis. The Bears overcame halftime deficits in all three games at Atlantis, and they capped the tournament with a comeback from 20 points down in the second half to defeat No. 10 Louisville in the title game. Baylor is now 8-2 on the season when facing a halftime deficit.
Drew is in his 14th season as Baylor head coach and is the Bears’ all-time leader with 274 victories. His .606 career winning percentage is best in BU history among coaches with at least 35 games of experience, and his teams have gone 240-109 since 2007-08.
Additionally, he has graduated 92 percent of his scholarship seniors and has sent 26 players to the professional ranks while at Baylor. BU’s six NBA Draft picks over the last five years are tied for the nation’s sixth most, trailing only Kentucky, Duke, Syracuse, North Carolina and Kansas. Drew has also developed four players who weren’t ranked in the ESPN100 out of high school into NBA Draft picks, which leads the nation since 2010.
The Bears have won 22 or more games for a sixth consecutive season and are in line to make the NCAA Tournament for a school-record fourth straight year, which would be Baylor’s seventh March Madness appearance in the last 10 seasons. BU had been to only one NCAA Tournament in the 53 seasons prior to Drew’s arrival.
Four finalists for the award will be announced on March 16. Drew is joined by fellow Big 12 Conference coaches Bob Huggins (West Virginia) and Bill Self (Kansas), along with Chris Collins (Northwestern), Mark Few (Gonzaga), Tim Jankovich (SMU), Sean Miller (Arizona), Rick Pitino (Louisville), Mike White (Florida) and Jay Wright (Villanova).
No. 11 Baylor closes the regular season Saturday at Texas. That game will tip off at 3 p.m. CT on ESPN. Baylor’s first game at the Big 12 Championship will be March 9. With a win at Texas, Baylor will claim the No. 3 seed and play the No. 6 seed (winner of Texas Tech at Kansas State) at 8 p.m. on ESPNU. With a loss against Texas, Baylor would be the No. 4 seed and face No. 5 seed Oklahoma State at 11:30 a.m. on ESPN2.
2017 Werner Ladder Naismith Men’s College Coach of the Year Semifinalists
Chris Collins, Northwestern
Scott Drew, Baylor
Mark Few, Gonzaga
Bob Huggins, West Virginia
Tim Jankovich, SMU
Sean Miller, Arizona
Rick Pitino, Louisville
Bill Self, Kansas
Mark White, Florida
Jay Wright, Villanova