WACO, Texas -- Baylor leading scorer LaceDarius Dunn is returning for his senior season with the Bears.
Dunn made his announcement Thursday, ending any speculation that the 6-foot-4 guard would bypass his final year and declare for the NBA draft like 6-foot-10 power forward Ekpe Udoh did two days earlier.
"I knew everybody was holding their breath wondering what I was going to do," Dunn said. "I think I made the right decision."
The Bears (28-8) set a school record for victories this season and got within one win of making their first NCAA Final Four appearance in 60 years. Dunn was a second-team All-Big 12 pick while averaging 19.6 points and 4.8 rebounds and setting school records for points (704), 3-pointers (116) and free throw shooting percentage (85.7 on 126 of 147 free throws).
"I knew that I wanted to be back here with this team and this coaching staff. This is part of the Baylor tradition. We got close this year so one of my goals is to come back next year and go further," Dunn said. "I also wanted to come back and get my degree. If I can do both of those, that would be great."
In 106 games over three seasons for Baylor, Dunn has averaged 16.4 points and already has the school record with 299 career 3-pointers, 91 shy of the Big 12 record.
"He has improved every year that he has been here. This is a tremendous lift for our team. I know that several people have us picked in the top 10 [next season], but we don't put much stock in predictions," coach Scott Drew said. "I do know that we have a better chance to reach our full potential with a guy like LaceDarius Dunn."
With the early departure of Udoh, who is projected to be a potential lottery pick in the June draft, the Bears are losing three starters from the team that lost to eventual national champion Duke in the South Regional final. Point guard Tweety Carter, the second-leading scorer at 15 points a game, and 7-foot center Josh Lomers were both seniors.
Dunn will enter his senior season fourth in school history with 1,739 career points. He needs 451 points to surpass Terry Teagle as Baylor's career scoring leader, and 518 to pass Texas Tech's Andre Emmett for the Big 12 record.