Big 12 Morning Five: 12.22.11 Edition
Posted by dnspewak on December 22nd, 2011
- Congratulations to five Big 12 players for earning spots on the watch list for the Bob Cousy Award, an honor for the nation’s best point guard. In no particular order, here are the candidates from the league: Michael Dixon (Missouri), Pierre Jackson (Baylor), Myck Kabongo (Texas), Dash Harris (Texas A&M) and Tyshawn Taylor (Kansas). All are fine point guards. Except there’s a problem here. Where’s Phil Pressey? You know, the Missouri’s starting point guard? The guy averaging six assists per game during a breakout sophomore season? We are not saying Pressey is definitively the nation’s best point guard, but he’s got to at least be in the conversation at this point. Most basketball analysts would agree with that statement, and it’s not that much to ask. The fact that the Cousy Award listed 65 other candidates on this list in front of Pressey raises some questions about their credibility.
- Pressey isn’t the only player having a breakout year. Steven Pledger is a new man at Oklahoma, and he says it’s due to a certain summer activity back home. His hard work is paying off, that’s for sure. He’s shooting more than 50% from three-point range, and he’s been the catalyst for a much-improved Sooners team. With a better point guard in Sam Grooms and an improved frontcourt, don’t expect Pledger’s hot start to fade once Big 12 play begins. He’s the kind of player Lon Kruger can build around in Norman.
- Kansas State begins play in the Diamond Head Classic this afternoon against Southern Illinois, and the Wildcats are hoping to get back to their roots: defense. Traditionally, that’s what SIU hangs its hat on, too, though the Salukis are hardly the power they were several years ago. Bruce Weber and Matt Painter started the tradition of tough-nosed, chip-on-your-shoulder defense, and current coach Chris Lowery continued that with a run to the Sweet 16 several years ago. During the past few seasons, however, external factors such as massive transfers and roster turnover has kept Lowery’s program in the cellar of the Missouri Valley. This is a game Kansas State should expect to win, but it will need to grind against this group.
- Bill Self got a some good news this week by landing a commitment from Brannen Greene, a 2013 prospect from Georgia. Greene, a 6’8” wing, is ranked in the top-50 of Rivals.com’s 2013 list and could have played at just about any school in America. Although we’re sure he’s a heck of a basketball player, it’s also nice to see that Greene is a 4.0 student who had an offer to play for Tommy Amaker at Harvard. Yes, the sappy “student-athlete” stories are overdone by the media, and they can seem a little forced, but let’s at least try to recognize a good student when we see one. Brannen, keep up the good work when you get to Kansas.
- Speaking of Kansas recruiting, here’s a look at how Self’s philosophy has shifted in that department lately. It seems his staff has gotten more aggressive in the recruiting game, hoping to keep up with this cutthroat world. There had been a little talk in the blogosphere (a reliable source, of course) that Self’s recruiting had slipped. Obviously, it hadn’t really slipped, but compared to Kansas standards, Self wasn’t making waves nationally like he used to. With pickups like Greene, though, he’s getting back into the game in a big way.