Pac-12 M5: 11.07.12 EditionPosted by AMurawa on November 7th, 2012
- In an election night shocker, word came out of Los Angeles last night that Shabazz Muhammad could be available to play in UCLA’s opener on Friday night against Indiana State. No Bruins fans, this breaking news doesn’t have anything to do with the NCAA clearing the heralded freshman but rather more to do with the fact that he may be ahead of schedule in his return from a right shoulder strain. You see, NCAA rules allow for a 45-day window during which players who are under NCAA investigation may play with their teams. And Muhammad didn’t get the clock started on that window until about a month ago. So, as long as his shoulder cooperates, Muhammad may have a chance to play in games against Indiana State, UC Irvine and James Madison, possibly even the Georgetown and Indiana games of the Legends Classic (although, really, don’t get too greedy, Bruins). As for his longer-term prognosis, there is still no timetable for an NCAA decision, although at least NCAA investigators did finally get around to talking to Muhammad’s parents last week.
- Just yesterday we ran off a list of Huskies pressuring Desmond Simmons for the starting four-spot for Washington. Well, news broke yesterday afternoon that one of those guys – Shawn Kemp Jr. – is out of the running for now, as he’ll be laid up for the next six to eight weeks as the result of a torn patellar tendon. As Lorenzo Romar put it, this injury “doesn’t impact the rotation, but it impacts a guy that was turning the corner.” In other words, the Huskies were planning on rotating four guys at the two big man spots. With Kemp’s injury, Desmond Simmons, Jernard Jarreau and Martin Breunig are all locked into significant roles alongside starting center Aziz N’Diaye. Unfortunately, now Kemp, who was by all accounts starting to display a solid offensive game, will lose out on not only a couple months worth of practice, but will also miss out on the invaluable game experience and chemistry-building that occurs in the non-conference schedule. Still, he should be back in time for the conference slate, and unless Simmons, Jarreau or Breunig really impress, Kemp should have the opportunity to earn playing time once he returns.
- Another guy we talked about yesterday was Kaleb Tarczewski, the Arizona freshman center who had an impressive game in the ‘Cats first exhibition game against Humboldt State. Well, last night Zeus didn’t have quite as much success against Chico State, struggling to get any rhythm going, scoring just seven points, failing to grab a rebound, and fouling out midway through the second half. While he’s clearly got lots of upside, he’s going to be a work in progress throughout the year, while fellow freshmen Grant Jerrett and Brandon Ashley may be more apt to be serious contributors early. The other big question for the Wildcats is how well Mark Lyons will fit in at the point, a question that may linger for some time. While Lyons did score 20 on seven-of-nine shooting last night, he only handed out three assists.
- Oregon wrapped up its exhibition season on Monday night with a 17-point win over Southwestern Oklahoma State that was largely unexceptional except for one point that is becoming clear: Dominic Artis is gonna be the man for the Ducks. Sure, E.J. Singler is a veteran who will do plenty of dirty work and make key plays for Dana Altman’s squad, but Artis led the Ducks in scoring in both exhibition games and had the ball in his hands all the time. So long as he can keep from turning it over, it appears that he’s going to get a long leash this season.
- For some reason, it seems like Mike Montgomery has been at California a lot longer than four years. But, in fact, his first year in Berkeley was Jorge Gutierrez’s freshman season. So, for the first time in his tenure there, the Golden Bears begin a season without their fiery guard on the roster. No matter though – Montgomery has a pair of veteran guards who are more than capable of filling in for the departed Gutierrez in juniors Allen Crabbe and Justin Cobbs. Both are good scorers, and Cobbs in particular is relishing the chance to take over Gutierrez’s role as the team’s best perimeter defender, but Montgomery points out that they’ll also need to act as playmakers by getting other guys on the team involved in the offense. Case in point was last night in an exhibition against San Francisco State, as Crabbe, Cobbs and fellow veteran guard Brandon Smith combined to score 31 of Cal’s first 34 points. On one hand, that’s great production out of the starting backcourt; on the other hand, at some point you’ll need to get some kind of help out of your big guys.