Big 12 Morning Five: 12.15.11 EditionPosted by dnspewak on December 15th, 2011
- With a slow basketball week thanks to final exams, this nugget of news from Tuesday still warrants a selection in our Morning Five links. The U.S. Basketball Writers Association named Thomas Robinson the National Player of the Week, further validating his breakout season for Kansas. With Tyshawn Taylor sidelined with a knee injury for the next few weeks, Robinson is the unquestioned leader on this team right now. During his award-winning week, Robinson missed just six shots (17-23) and scored 21 points in a win over second-ranked Ohio State.
- You’re probably sick of the endless Frank Haith articles right now after Missouri‘s undefeated start, but there’s no denying the man deserves every bit of these early-season compliments. Considered one of the most peculiar hires of the college basketball off-season, it seemed that the experienced Tigers would have to win despite Haith. Instead, it appears Mike Anderson‘s former players have instead rallied around Haith, adopting his new style of play with enthusiasm. Missouri has looked terrific at home and neutral sites so far, but it won just one Big 12 road game a year ago. If the Tigers show some road toughness of the next few months, you’re going to hear even more about Haith’s impact.
- After the announcement of Calvin Newell‘s transfer from Oklahoma, it was unclear who would step into his role as one of the Sooners’ primary scorers. So far, however, Tyler Neal looks like he is up to the task. Neal has elevated his game lately with Newell’s absence, even scoring a career-high 18 points against Arkansas. Before the transfer, Neal played about 14 minutes per game; now, that number has skyrocketed to about 22 minutes. He looks like a different player this season according to coaches and teammates– Steven Pledger even complimented his vastly improved ball-handling. If Neal continues to produce, Lon Kruger could have even more reason for optimism, considering his team has already overachieved.
- It sounds too good to be true: admission to Oklahoma State‘s December 31 game against Virginia Tech is completely free, according to Travis Ford. You would think fans would want to flock to Gallagher-Iba on New Year’s Eve– especially since OSU’s fan base is normally fairly rabid– but the school’s winter break may have something to do with the promotion. Either way, free basketball is always a great bargain. And that’s especially true when the opponent is as formidable as Virginia Tech.
- If you thought Frank Haith was getting a lot of attention, Perry Jones may actually beat him in that category. Since returning from the NCAA’s suspension, all eyes have been on Jones, a projected lottery pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. One blog sat down with him for some general discussion on life, basketball and Baylor University, and the sophomore had some interesting answers. Jones addressed why he chose Baylor in the first place, defending his decision to attend a non-traditional basketball school. Plus, he admitted he’s a big fan of paintball, even though at 6’11” he is an enormous target.