Ryan Denison on Baylor Wins NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship and A Lesson on Finding Success in the Present

Baylor head coach Scott Drew cuts down the net after the championship game against Gonzaga in the men’s Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Monday, April 5, 2021, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Baylor won 86-70. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

The Baylor Bears men’s basketball team entered last night’s NCAA Tournament as underdogs and left as champions.

A number of storylines surrounded the squad’s rise throughout the course of the year. They started the season as a favorite to win the championship. Then they endured three weeks of COVID-related shutdowns. But one storyline persisted: how the Baylor Bears rose from the start of coach Scott Drew’s tenure to where they are today.

Drew comes from a basketball family and was seen as an ascending young coach when he signed on at Baylor back in 2003. But the circumstances surrounding the opportunity left many wondering why he’d even entertained the offer.

Beginning the Scott Drew era

As ESPN‘s Myron Medcalf notes, Drew arrived shortly after “Baylor player Carlton Dotson had just been charged with murdering teammate Patrick Dennehy. Then former Baylor head coach Dave Bliss was caught on tape telling players to paint Dennehy as a drug dealer to hide illicit payments and other NCAA violations within the program.”

As such, Drew was tasked not only with rebuilding Baylor basketball on the court but also with creating a new atmosphere off the court.

It was a monumental task, and one few thought he could accomplish.

However, thinking of last night’s victory as the culmination of eighteen years of work is a misleading perspective.

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SOURCE: Denison Forum, Ryan Denison