Five members of the Baylor Bears basketball team achieved the" ultimate win" this year, professing Christ and receiving baptism.
Coach Scott Drew believes this season has been a tremendous success, calling it "extraordinary." "We may not win another game this year, and I may be a horrible coach," he told FoxSports reporter David Ubben, "But if any of these guys leave without knowing Christ, that will be the real loss."
One of the team's chaplains, Mark Wible, baptized the players -- Kenny Chery, Taurean Prince, Gary Franklin, Royce O'Neale and Ish Wainright -- at Highland Baptist Church in Waco, where he serves as the associate pastor.
According to Wible, this is the first time in his 11 years as chaplain he has seen significant spiritual effects. "This year, it just kind of took off," Wible stated. He believes Drew's unapologetic Christian worldview has influenced the players in a significant way.
"I've been with [Drew] for 11 years, and the concentration has been the same every year to expose people to the Gospel and be able to present the Gospel," said Wible. "There have been a lot of seeds sown over the years, and we're seeing it come to fruition this year."
Drew believes his primary responsibility as a coach is to positively influence his player's lives. "Winning the game of life is a lot more rewarding than a 40-minute basketball game that's so temporary," Drew said. "To have an opportunity to help be a part of an impact on a young person's life is the best feeling."
In addition to their coach, Wible says he views the teammates as some of each other's strongest supporters. He credits former player and recent graduate Jacob Neubert with being crucial in bringing Baylor guard Brady Heslip to Christ in 2011.
"Brady has been instrumental in bringing other guys to faith in Christ or just to have a deeper walk with the Lord and being more conscious of God in their everyday lives."
One of five players baptized was Baylor's starting point guard Kenny Chery. After talking in a hotel lobby to Heslip, Chery says his life was changed.
"I felt like it was the time for me to believe in Christ and let him rule my life," Chery said. "That conversation was one I'll remember the rest of my life. I'd said those words before, but that was the first time I really meant it, without my mom being around or my brothers being around. It was my personal decision."
Wible says Heslip has matured in his spiritual life in the years following his conversion, and his growth is an inspiration to the other players.
"Brady has been one who has been continuing to grow in his depth of following the Lord," Wible said. "This year, he's really begun to see the need to impart that to others. I think that's why he and Kenny have such a bond."
In mid-February, Baylor won 10 of 11 games before losing to Iowa State in the Big 12 tournament title game. Ranked seventh in the NCAA tournament, Baylor defeated Nebraska and Creighton to advance to the Sweet 16, where they lost to Wisconsin.
Wible credits God for the season's tremendous success.
"Scripture says one plants, one waters and God gives the increase," he said. "This has been the year that God has given the increase, and we rejoice in that."