Big 12 Weekly Five: 07.18.12 EditionPosted by dnspewak on July 18th, 2012
- With his team taking a trip to Brazil in August, Kansas State head coach Bruce Weber isn’t wasting any time using the 10 additional practices the NCAA allows his program as a special exhibition exemption. As he attempts to replace the intensity of former coach Frank Martin, Weber’s players are getting after one another and learning how to deal with Weber and his staff. Dozens of teams in college basketball take international trips during the summer and gain extra practice time, but for a program with not a single member of the coaching staff returning from a year ago, it’s an essential way for Weber to indoctrinate himself as a Wildcat. And it can’t hurt that freshmen Darrell Johnson and Michael Orris get to learn the ropes of Division I basketball before ever stepping foot in a classroom for the fall semester, either.
- You’ve heard the jokes and the criticism. TCU? Playing Big 12 basketball? Surely, that won’t end well, right? That’s why new coach Trent Johnson is making it his personal mission to rebuild the Horned Frogs and take advantage of the program’s step-up in competition. Johnson has a long road ahead of him at a school with little basketball tradition and almost no recent success, but previous head coach Jim Christian did actually make strides by leading his team to the postseason in 2011-12 and acting as a pesky spoiler in the Mountain West Conference.
- The other newcomer to the Big 12 has a little less of an uphill climb. Hailing from the mighty Big East, West Virginia is no stranger to big-time college basketball (that’s not to say TCU isn’t after leaving the Mountain West– it’s just that the Big East is, well, the Big East). But while coach Bob Huggins is mostly excited about his program’s transition, he’s also a little wary about a few things. The travel, of course, could take a toll on his team, since it’ll need to make long flights to the Midwest for every road game. And Huggins is also disappointed to lose the New York City connection he had with the Big East. All in all, though, given a few years we’re sure Huggins will get over it.
- A grand jury indicted Samuel Villeareal III last week (among others), which is important because he is accused of supplying some unnamed members of the 2010-11 Kansas basketball squad with marijuana. In all, 35 people were indicted in a major scandal that spanned seven years and involved more than 1,000 kilograms of pot. The state is using text messages from his iPhone to try to prove Villeareal’s connection to KU basketball. This mess might take a long time to sort out, but it’ll subtly loom over the Jayhawks until it concludes.
- Jeff Withey is such an important part of this Kansas team next year that he’s even considering skipping a prestigious Adidas camp to instead compete with his teammates in a European exhibition tour. The Jayhawks will visit Switzerland and France this summer. Considering Withey has already played at both LeBron James’ and Amare’ Stoudamire’s camps this summer, we figure it’ll probably turn out OK if he’d rather ball with his teammates in Europe.