Here we are again! A day after Damian Dunn committed to Houston, sought-after Baylor guard L.J. Cryer announced that he would join the Cougars for the 2023-24 season. Cryer is a massive addition that should inject valuable Big 12 experience into a program entering the league.
Widely regarded as one of the nation’s best shooters and one of the best players in this year’s transfer portal, Cryer averaged 15 points in 2022-23, shooting 41.5% from three and 89.4% from the foul line. Each of those percentages would have comfortably led the Cougars this past season, even beating All-American Marcus Sasser, whose role Cryer is presumably meant to fill.
The junior guard won a national championship in 2020-21 with Baylor in his freshman season, playing sparingly off the bench. Cryer played two minutes in the Bears’ win over Houston in Final Four.
Cryer was a superstar at Morton Ranch in Katy and was named the All-Greater Houston Boys Basketball Player of the Year by Houston Chronicle in 2020. Cryer finished his HS career with 3,488 points, the most in Houston-area public school history. He was teammates with TCU center Eddie Lampkin.
He averaged a ridiculous 34.2 points per game in his senior year for Morton Ranch and logged 11 40+ point games. Somewhat ironically, his team was knocked out of the Region III-6A semifinals that year by Tramon Mark and Dickinson High School. A multi-sport athlete, Cryer was also a district champion in tennis.
Cryer’s penchant for shooting began as soon as his father, Lionel, handed him a basketball at the age of two. He traced his son’s hands on the ball to ensure Cryer had proper hand placement rather than shooting it from the sides, as many kids do. From there, Cryer grew up obsessed with shooting and spent his childhood working on his form.
“I’d lay in bed and shoot the ball up and down, working on (my) form,” Cryer said to the Katy Times 2020. “It’s helped. When I shoot, it comes from reps. I don’t even think about it. When I think, I tend to miss more.”
Perhaps more valuable than his scoring and Houston roots is his experience in the Big 12. Cryer will be the lone Cougar who knows what it is like to play in arguably the toughest league in the nation. In a conversation with Jon Rothstein on Instagram Live, he mentioned that experience and his confidence in his teammates.
“I know what it takes to win,” Cryer said, “and just being in Houston, I know I’ve got dogs with me.”
It will be interesting to see how Cryer and fellow transfer Dunn fit in with a Cougar team losing three starters. That’s not to mention the four freshmen looking to make their college debut in 2023-24.