KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Baylor will begin its quest for a Big 12 Tournament Title on Thursday when the Bears take on Iowa State in the quarterfinals.
For many of the players on Baylor's roster, this will be their first Big 12 conference tournament experience.
Coming into the 2018-2019 season, Baylor returned only four players who saw significant playing time for the program the previous season. Unfortunately for the Bears, two of those four have missed a ton of time.
Jake Lindsey is out for the season following offseason hip surgery, he was also diagnosed with Parsonage-Turner syndrome. Because of that diagnosis, Lindsey will forgo his medical redshirt year and retire from basketball. Tristan Clark, who was expected to make a big impact for the Green and Gold this year, has missed 17 games with a left knee injury. He will not play in March.
That leaves Mark Vital and King McClure as the only two active players who have experience playing in the Big 12 Tournament. The rest of the roster is made up of freshmen and transfers.
Redshirt junior Freddie Gillespie and junior Devonte Bandoo say they're excited to experience The Big Dance for the first time.
"It hasn’t really hit me yet that the regular season is already over, but I am, I’m excited. I used to love March growing up so just to be a part of it now, I’m just really excited," Gillespie, who transferred from DIII Carleton, said on Monday.
Bandoo, who came to Baylor from Hutchinson Junior College, is originally from Canada. He said this will be the first time his friends and family in Canada will get to watch him play on TV.
"This is the only time in Canada that we would see college basketball, March Madness, because we don’t have ESPN. So the only time I would see college basketball is during this time. It’s great to be in this position, I can’t wait for all of my fellow Canadians back home to watch me play," Bandoo said.
Baylor and Iowa State tip off at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday. The winner will advance to the Big 12 Tournament semifinals on Friday at 6 p.m.
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