Basketball seniors honored Baylor with excellence and class
Listening to the Baylor men’s basketball team’s three seniors speak after the team’s final home game last night, I realized how proud I was to have watched Richard Hurd, Mark Shepherd and Aaron Bruce wear the green and gold for the past four seasons.
Hurd and Shepherd were both walk-ons who contributed far more than most non-scholarship players. As a freshman in 2004-05, Hurd played in every game (including 10 starts) for a team that returned just one scholarship player from the year before. Shepherd, a five-time Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll honoree, has become known for his gritty style of play and has worked his way into the starting lineup this season.
Bruce was head coach Scott Drew’s first big-name recruit, choosing Baylor over several better-known programs at a time when that choice led plenty of his friends to ask, “Why Baylor?” Over the past four years, as Baylor has developed into an NCAA Tournament-caliber program, Bruce has been able to tell them, “This is why.” A three-time All-Big 12 selection, the Australia native became the first in a line of top high school players to buy into Drew’s plan for rebuilding the program, and those results are bearing fruit this season.
All three players have represented Baylor with class–excelling both on the court and in the classroom, and humbly redirecting praise back to God and Baylor for the opportunities they’ve been given here. The Bear Pit inducted the trio into its group following last night’s game, and I’m sure all three will be back in the Ferrell Center from time to time after graduation to root on the program they’ve helped establish.
A program-record 10,545 fans filled the arena to send off the seniors last night, and the Lady Bears will need that kind of support again tonight as they play in their final game of the regular season. No. 8 Baylor hosts No. 20 Oklahoma State tonight at 7 p.m.; a Lady Bear win would give the program its second conference championship in four years. Also, tonight’s match-up will be the final home game for senior Angela Tisdale, arguably the best point guard in program history. So come send out Tisdale and the Lady Bears with a Big 12 title!
Sic ’em, Baylor basketball!