Few schools can boast of having true national player of the year candidates in all three major sports like Baylor has in Robert Griffin III, Perry Jones III and Brittney Griner.
As we’ve noted already, RG3 is among the Heisman frontrunners as football approaches midseason. (As of this week, he’s No. 2 in the Scripps Poll and in CBSSports.com’s rankings, No. 3 according to Sports Illustrated and HeismanPundit.com, and 5th in ESPN’s Heisman Watch.
But Jones and Griner are following in close step; if you’re going to be the best in the nation, you have to be the best in your league first, and each was named Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year this week.
PJ3 is the first preseason POY in program history. After earning freshman all-America honors last year, Jones turned down the opportunity to be an NBA lottery pick to return to Baylor. He has been named a preseason all-American by The Sporting News, Athlon and Blue Ribbon and was one of three unanimous selections to the Preseason All-Big 12 team.
The honor was nothing new to Griner, who was named preseason POY last season and followed it up by claiming Big 12 Player of the Year honors at year’s end as well. A consensus first-team all-American and a finalist for each of the three major national player of the year awards last season, Griner was also Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year for 2010-11.
Jones and Griner weren’t Baylor’s only preseason all-Big 12 selections, either. Sophomore Odyssey Sims joined Griner on the Preseason All-Big 12 Team, while senior Quincy Acy earned honorable mention honors on the men’s side.
Baylor fans will get their first chance this year to see Jones, Acy and the rest of head coach Scott Drew’s Bears on Oct. 14 as Baylor opens the season with “Moonlight Madness.” Baylor will be one of 11 sites spotlighted that night on ESPNU between 8 p.m. and midnight CT as the network previews some of the top programs in the country. The event is free; doors will open at the Ferrell Center at 6 p.m.
Sic ’em, PJ3, BG and Baylor basketball!