NEW ORLEANS -- Name the Baylor player who ranks as the career leader in victories (77) and field-goal percentage (66.3), is second in games played and is having the best season of his career. Tweety Carter? LaceDarius Dunn?
Try Josh Lomers.
The 7-foot, 280-pound senior has seen the Baylor program rise first-hand and has been a part of it every step of the way. The No. 3 Bears' first-round NCAA tournament game Thursday morning against No. 14 Sam Houston State will be Lomers' 33rd consecutive start this season and the 73rd of his career. It will be his 126th career game, two shy of Carter, the current career leader.
Hulking, lumbering and just a little bit goofy, Lomers might not possess the name recognition of some of his teammates, but there's no way you can miss him.
"I don’t really deny that big, white guy stereotype. I just try to work with it in my game and excel at being a big white guy --get rebounds, set screens and do my job," Lomers said. 'I’m not worried about how people see me. If they see me as a big white guy, that’s OK, I’m all right with that."
Lomers is averaging career highs in points (6.6), rebounds (3.6) and minutes (17.3) His 50 offensive rebounds rank third on the team. His seven double-figure scoring games is one shy of his total in the three previous seasons. His mammoth frame provides Baylor a defensive anchor in the middle in the 2-3 zone. And lately he's been a blocking machine with nine over the last four games, while 15 of his 34 blocks on the season have come in the last 10 games.
Donning thick sideburns, a scruffy beard and mostly looking like he just woke up, Lomers also has a dry, keen sense of humor. Asked who the least-known Baylor starter is, Lomers looked up as if to twirl the question around in his mind before saying, "Hmm, I don’t know, probably either me or Ant [Anthony Jones].
Then he continued: "Probably me. I don’t know because obviously the Big Three (Carter, Dunn and Ekpe Udoh) are the Big Three and everybody knows about them, so me and Ant, we do our jobs, we play our roles and I think we do good things. Nothing down about us, but we’re just not as big as personalities as those guys."
A three-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team selection (2008, 2009, 2010), Lomers is double-majoring in human resource management and finance. He's on pace to graduate in May, but hopes he won't be taking a desk job any time soon. After all, somewhere in this great, big basketball world, someone could use a team-oriented 7-foot center who knows who he is and isn't afraid to say it.
"I hope to get a job plyaing basketball somewhere," Lomers said. "If I can get paid for doing something I love I guess I’ll never have to work a day in my life. But after that, hopefully go into management somewhere and run with it."