Big 12 Weekly Five: 06.21.12 EditionPosted by dnspewak on June 21st, 2012
- With the NBA Finals in full swing, the folks over at Grantland have dissected Kevin Durant’s role as a college player at Texas. Bryan Curtis wonders about Durant’s full impact with the Longhorns, claiming his stay seemed to last about “five minutes” as he struggled to recall defining moments from that 2006-07 season. Curtis admits it was a year full of highlights, but he seems to argue with himself over just how much of a legacy Durant left. If you ask us, Durant’s one magical season was enough to cement his legacy forever as one of the best players to ever set foot in the college game. The longevity may not be there, but rarely do players dominate from start to finish like Durant did that year. His team was extremely young–essentially all freshmen and sophomores– and if there were more experience, he could have cut down the nets. And by the end of his article, Curtis seems to come around to this line of thinking.
- Marcus Smart probably won’t have a freshman season like Durant, but his coach seems to think he will be pretty special. Travis Ford said Smart is the “ultimate competitor” who will “rip your heart out.” That’s partly why Smart is considered one of the top signees in the Class of 2012 in the Big 12. Of course, Le’Bryan Nash entered the 2011-12 season with similar expectations and struggled to live up to the hype, though he did eventually wind up playing very well for the Cowboys. With Nash and Smart in the mix, Ford will certainly have more depth to work with after playing with a razor-thin roster last year.
- Bruce Weber needs to learn about his team, so he is taking them to Brazil. Kansas State will spend more than a week in South America this August to acclimate themselves to its new coach, and these sorts of trips always seem to have positive effects on college basketball teams. The Wildcats have a good nucleus of returning players, but these experiences can strengthen bonds even between players that have been around the block– not just newcomers.
- Bob Huggins will return to the Big 12 with West Virginia this year, marking his second trip to the league after coaching Kansas State for a season in 2006-07. He said he is looking forward to the move from the Big East, and he thinks his team may be able to increase tempo on the offensive end and get out and run a little bit. The styles in the Big 12 and Big East may contrast a bit, but Huggins and the Mountaineers shouldn’t have many issues getting used to a new league. They learned plenty from playing in the rough-and-tough Big East.
- TCU has a different perspective, though. The Horned Frogs, the other new program in the Big 12 this year, hail from the Mountain West. That league was no slouch when TCU played there, but Trent Johnson‘s program is not as Big 12-ready as West Virginia. Johnson, who takes the reigns after resigning his post at LSU, senses a cautious approach from his team’s fans so far. It’s hard to blame them. TCU’s basketball history is not stellar, and it has not experienced much recent success either. Luckily, the basketball program is expected to see facility upgrades and renovations to its arena, so it appears the Horned Frogs are at least trying to keep up with the rest of the conference.