Taurean Waller-Prince was supposed to be a player that carried the LIU Blackbirds to the next level. The 6’7″ forward from Texas was named the Express News All-Area Player of the Year for the 2011-12 season as he blew up during his senior campaign. When Jim Ferry headed to Duquesne it was Waller-Prince that people were most concerned about – and with good reason. He asked to be let of out of his National Letter of Intent last week, which LIU allowed, and today Waller-Prince signed a Financial Aid Contract with Baylor.
As someone who follows LIU basketball, I have mixed feeling about these developments. Part of me knows that Waller-Prince would’ve teamed up with Julian Boyd, Jamal Olasewere and Kenny Onyechi to give the Blackbirds just an absolutely silly front court for an NEC team. It’s the sort of depth that can lead to a special season. Also, it’s great that LIU’s talent evaluators were able to identify Waller-Prince as a key piece to their future early and get him to sign the NLI before he garnered so much attention in Texas this season.
That said, the school did the right thing by releasing him from his NLI and allowing him to sign with a big program that’s also closer to home. We’ll see how it works out for Waller-Prince. He’s joining a Baylor team that lost a lot of talent due to NBA defections, but he’s now just one cog in the No. 4-6 recruiting class (depending on who you ask). He’ll be fighting for playing time with some of the top recruits in the nation, including Ricardo Gathers, a 6’8″ forward that is ranked in the 30’s by almost every major recruiting service.
Then again, Scott Drew has shown that he knows how to get players to the NBA. If Waller-Prince sticks with the Bears for a few seasons his experience will probably pay off in a big way. I wish him the best in his endeavors. It just goes to show you how many things must go right for a school like LIU to get a talented player on campus.