Big 12 M5: 10.23.12 Edition
Posted by KoryCarpenter on October 23rd, 2012
- On Monday, the guys over at CBSSports.com gave us their top 50 point guards heading into the season and five Big 12 players made the list. A surprise to myself and probably many fans across the Big 12 was seeing Marcus Smart at No. 5, ahead of preseason player of the year Pierre Jackson of Baylor (#7). Jeff Borzello had this to say of Smart’s game: “Is he a natural point guard? Probably not, but Smart is a born winner, is willing to do anything to help his team win, and is a top-notch leader. Sounds enough like a point guard to qualify.” That’s a whole lot of intangibles to describe a top-five point guard, especially a freshman at that. I’ll take Jackson over Smart right now and not look back. Other Big 12 point guards on the list: Elijah Johnson of Kansas (#14), Myck Kabongo of Texas (#16), and Iowa State’s Korie Lucious (#40).
- Kansas State is unveiling its brand new practice facility Friday night with a free public viewing of the 50,000 square foot building. The facility includes new locker rooms, player lounges, offices, a strength center, and a viewing deck overlooking the practice court. Not surprisingly, head coach Bruce Weber believes the practice gym will help his team’s free throw shooting this season as they won’t have to worry about finding an open bucket. The Wildcats shot 67.1% from the free-throw stripe last season.
- Many of next year’s recruiting classes are complete, but there’s still a handful of five-star recruits in the 2013 class who are undecided. Texas, Kansas, and Oklahoma were all listed as finalists for power forward and No. 1 overall recruit Julius Randle, who won’t be declaring until the spring. The Jayhawks are also in on No. 5 recruit Aaron Gordon, a forward from San Jose. Gordon visited Kansas for its annual Late Night in the Phog earlier this month and seemed to enjoy himself. The Oklahoma Sooners found themselves on the short list of schools still vying for No. 11 ranked Jarrell Martin, but it might be hard to lure the Baton Rouge native away from LSU next season. Baylor and head coach Scott Drew are also still in the mix for a five-star recruit, as Los Angeles guard Isaac Hamilton lists the Bears in his top five along with Washington, UNLV, San Diego State, and UTEP.
- Speaking of Julius Randle, this recent article revealed that Texas is one of the two favorites for the No. 1 overall recruit. Apparently, Longhorns coach Rick Barnes is selling Randle on being able to play on the perimeter despite his 6’9″ stature, something that appeals to the multi-faceted big man. If Texas signs him and sophomore point guard Myck Kabongo stays one more year in Austin — both big ‘ifs’ at this point — the 2013-14 Texas squad would be one of the best in the country. Randle and Kabongo would form the best 1-2 duo in college basketball and the rest of this year’s freshman class — sophomores at that point — would fill in nicely around the pair. Again, a lot would have to happen between now and next fall, but the thought of what might be has to be exciting for Longhorns fans.
- Myron Medcalf of ESPN is excited about Kansas center Jeff Withey this season. And with the jump to stardom so many KU big men have made recently when given their chance, from Cole Aldrich to the Morris twins to Thomas Robinson, it’s hard not to agree with Medcalf. Withey averaged 9.0 PPG, 6.3 RPG and 3.6 BPG last season, including a record-setting 31 blocks in last season’s NCAA Tournament. Head coach Bill Self has said Withey has improved his mid-range game but needs to learn to score over both shoulders. If he makes the jump in production seen by so many Kansas big men in the Self era, the Jayhawks could be poised for another Final Four run.
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