When No. 2 Baylor steps onto the court this week to kick off its men’s basketball season, it’ll be doing so without coach Scott Drew.
Drew tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday, he announced on social media on Sunday afternoon, and is now self isolating. He is asymptomatic.
“The good news is the rest of our team tested negative on Friday and again today, and this was our first positive test in the last 12 weeks, so we are on track to open the season Wednesday,” Drew said in a statement, in part. “I’m fortunate to have associate head coach Jerome Tang, who has been by my side throughout our 18 years at Baylor, and he will serve as our interim head coach while I am unavailable.
“While it will be difficult watching from a distance, I know the team is in great hands with coach Tang and our entire staff. I look forward to returning to the sidelines as soon as I can do so safely.”
Drew is set to enter his 18th season leading the Bears, where he’s compiled a 344-213 overall record and led them to eight NCAA tournaments. They earned the No. 1 ranking during two of the last five seasons under his watch, and finished last year at No. 5. Baylor would have been heavy favorites to make a deep NCAA tournament run last season, though that was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Bears are set to take on No. 18 Arizona State on Wednesday night in their season opener as part of the Empire Classic tournament at the Mohegan Sun resort in Connecticut. They are among dozens of teams traveling to the bubble set up at the resort for more than 40 scheduled games over an 11-day span.
Arizona State, according to Stadium’s Jeff Goodman, withdrew from the tournament later on Sunday night over coronavirus concerns related to Drew and Baylor.
Arizona State is withdrawing from the Empire Classic due to medical concerns involving Baylor, per source. Sun Devils were slated to open with Bears. Still a chance ASU plays at Mohegan Sun with different matchups.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) November 23, 2020
Scott Drew latest coach to test positive
Drew is just the latest major college basketball coach to test positive for the coronavirus ahead of the start of the season.
Ole Miss head coach Kermit Davis tested positive on Tuesday, joining Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, 65, and Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim — both of whom tested positive earlier this month. Izzo was experiencing mild symptoms, while Boeheim, 76, said he was asymptomatic.
At least 20 programs across the country had suspended practices due to outbreaks within their respective teams. Florida paused all activities for at least a week on Sunday due to positive tests, too, and won’t be at the Mohegan Sun tournament, either.
There have been more than 2.2 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States as of Sunday afternoon, according to The New York Times, and more than 256,000 deaths attributed to it. The country repeatedly set single-day case records last week — there were more than 198,500 new cases on Friday, an all-time high — and is now averaging more than 168,000 new cases a day over the past week.
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