Big 12 Weekly Five: 07.26.2012 EditionPosted by dnspewak on July 26th, 2012
- Rejoice! New Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said this week it’s unlikely the league will expand in the near future. Of course, in these testy times of the Realignment Apocalypse, words don’t mean a whole lot. For all we know, Notre Dame and Louisville have already signed contracts to join the league. These things change swiftly and without notice. But for now, we’ll take Bowlsby at his word. The Big 12 is a league with, uh, 10 teams, and it’s not changing any time soon. For basketball purposes, that at least preserves balanced scheduling and a true regular season champion, since every team will play home-and-homes with all other nine teams in the conference.
- Darrell Williams was never a household name during his short stint at Oklahoma State, but he is now after a jury convicted him of rape and sexual battery earlier this week. The conviction ends after more than a year of the legal process. Back in February 2011, head coach Travis Ford suspended Williams in light of allegations from two women that Williams had groped and violated them at a party (the incident in question happened in December 2010). The defense argued the two women could have misidentified Williams because there were several other players at the party wearing the same warmup gear, and it called the prosecution out for a lack of physical evidence. That didn’t convince the jury, though, and sentencing is now set for August. As the legal process dragged on, Williams seemed to become further and further detached from the Oklahoma State basketball program, but do not underestimate the effect of this conviction on the team. Consider this: Ford actually had to testify in this trial, and he testified in support of his former player. Several teammates were there when the jury read the verdict, too. This has to be a traumatizing outcome to some extent.
- In better news, Kansas learned freshman Milton Doyle will be eligible for the 2012-13 season. The 6’4” guard out of Chicago originally committed to play for native Chicagoan Isiah Thomas at Florida International, but Doyle opted for Bill Self’s program when Thomas was fired. According to ESPN, Thomas actually recommended Doyle to Self. Doyle was a bit under the radar as a recruit because he missed his entire junior year of high school with an injury, but he could eventually grow into a contributor given time. Thomas said Doyle’s so good, in fact, that he could have transformed FIU had he played there.
- Basketball season must be fairly close, because ESPN’s rolling out its Summer Shootaround series this month. On Tuesday, it unveiled a look at the Big 12 by breaking down each team’s best and worst-case scenario, ranking the top five storylines of the summer and previewing each team’s most important player. Wait a few months and we’ll do the exact same thing (in even more depth!), or follow our very own Summer Update series to keep up with the off-season nuggets. Still, ESPN provides an organized, this-is-what-you-need-to-know series of quick-hitters for you to get all caught up in the Big 12 Conference.
- As a part of that Big 12 coverage, Andy Katz spoke with Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg about his recruiting strategy and the state of his program. Hoiberg, who garnered a lot of attention after bringing in an unprecedented four Division I transfers a year ago, will once again welcome transfers Korie Lucious (Michigan State) and Will Clyburn (Utah) in their first seasons of eligibility. Unlike last year, though, Hoiberg will mix a few impressive freshmen with his veteran transfers. Hoiberg spoke highly of hyper-athletic forward Georges Niang, for example. But the most interesting comment came at the end of Katz’ article: “We had great chemistry together and it showed later in the year. That being said, we want freshmen in this program. We have an enthusiastic group and we’ve got great kids and players in this program for the next four years.” So there you have it. Fred Hoiberg’s a traditional recruiter who saw an opportunity to take transfers and went for it. Nothing wrong with that, we supposed. It worked, after all.