KEY POINTS

  • Mark Vital has been doing his share of work in the Baylor Bears' stellar run
  • Vital's game resembles Dennis Rodman's style of play
  • Bears head coach lauds Vital's impact on the team

As the Baylor Bears continue their title chase this year, one player appears to be doing all the dirty work the same way Dennis Rodman did during his playing years in the NBA.

The Bears are coming off a second-round victory over Wisconsin Badgers to secure their spot in the Sweet 16. Ahead of the must-win game against No. 5-seeded Villanova Wildcats, Mark Vital is expected to bring in some physicality once again.

Davion Mitchell and Jared Butler were two of the most remarkable players in Scott Drew’s current squad. However, Vital’s game has also been acknowledged, even earning comparisons to the aforementioned Hall of Famer and Milwaukee Bucks's P.J. Tucker, per Baylor Bears’ official website.

Vital isn’t a lethal scorer, but at 250 pounds, he poses threat on the defensive end and in the rebounding department. The 6-foot-5 swingman fairly resembles the game of Rodman, whose contributions usually don’t stand out in the boxscore.

Commenting on the comparisons to Rodman, Vital even boasted that he’s the “2.0” version of the former Chicago Bulls star.

"They listed [Rodman] him at 6-7, but when I watched a lot of videos and documentaries, they say he's more like 6-5, 6-6," Vital said of Rodman. "Rodman's always been one of my favorite players since I was a kid. He rebounds, plays defense, he runs the floor. When I actually watch Dennis Rodman play, that's me. That's literally me, I'm like the 2.0 of him."

Dennis Rodman Former NBA star Dennis Rodman is planning to launch a topless women's basketball team. Photo: REUTERS

Bears head coach Drew is well aware of what Vital has been bringing to the table.

"He might go hard and take two guys out and block you out. And now, someone else gets the rebound," coach Drew said of Vital. "It doesn't show as Mark Vital's rebound, but it affects the team.”

“That's why he's such a valuable player for us is he does a lot of things that might not show up in the stat box,” he added. “They call them 'glue guys' and other things like that, but basically he's a winner."

Vital is averaging five points and eight rebounds per game heading into the Sweet 16. As the Bears become favorites to win the NCAA men’s basketball title this year, one of the things the media is looking forward to is the young bruiser's “aggressive approach that typifies the team's style.”