Big 12 M5: 12.14.12 Edition
Posted by KoryCarpenter on November 14th, 2012
- The annual 50-player Naismith Award watch list was unveiled by the Atlanta Tipoff Club Tuesday Morning, led by Creighton guard Doug McDermott. Five Big 12 players spanning four teams made the list. They are: Baylor G Pierre Jackson, Kansas State G Rodney McGruder, Oklahoma State G Marcus Smart, Kansas G Ben McLemore, and Kansas C Jeff Withey. Jackson has looked the best so far this season, finishing with 25 points and seven assists in Sunday’s victory over Jackson State. The Naismith Award winner will be announced on April 7 in Atlanta.
- Bill Self didn’t seem too upset after his team’s 67-64 loss to Michigan State last night in the Champions Classic, but he told KUSports.com that it will be a while before the Jayhawks are mentally tough and “learn to compete.” He’s right. This wasn’t a 34-point loss like what West Virginia suffered at Gonzaga late Monday night. There weren’t any demoralizing aspects to last night’s game. Kansas is young. “Green and naive,” Self called his freshmen. And there will be a few more of these close losses throughout the non-conference season as Kansas preps for another Big 12 championship run. A bright spot in the loss was the solid game from redshirt freshman Ben McLemore, who had 14 points on 5-7 shooting. His athleticism and three-point shooting will be key for the Jayhawks’ development this year.
- Former Iowa State forward Royce White has the talent to make a nice living in the NBA, but his battle with anxiety might be derailing that career before he signs another contract. White’s fear of flying has been well noted by now. He missed parts of the Rockets training camp this season after missing flights, eventually figuring out a travel plan with the team that would allow him to bus to away games when practical. Monday, White skipped his team’s game against the Miami Heat and was absent from Tuesday’s practice as well after the team planned to send him down to the D-League. Today, White released a statement. Part of it reads, “As a rookie, I want to settle into a team and make progress; but since preseason the Rockets have been inconsistent with their agreement to proactively create a healthy and successful relationship. He later added this on twitter. Pardon me for not feeling bad for Royce White and his anxiety. Nobody forced him to sign a contract requiring him to travel across the country for seven months out of the year. If his fear of flying is as detrimental to his health as he says, he should have no problem giving back his NBA money and working at Sears instead. Otherwise, he should do his job.
- Kansas State finalized its trip to New York City for the Preseason NIT after dismantling Alabama-Huntsville Tuesday in Bramlage Coliseum, 87-26. The Wildcats will play next Wednesday in New York against Delaware, following the Blue Hens’ upset at Virginia last night. A win would put Kansas State in the championship game Friday night against what will be Pittsburgh or Michigan. The two-game trip could be a great experience for a Wildcat team still learning to play in Bruce Weber’s new system. With talented upperclassmen like Jordan Henriquez and Rodney McGruder back on board, getting acclimated with Weber is the only obstacle to another NCAA Tournament appearance for K-State.
- Jeff Goodman of CBSSports talked about ranked teams with point guard issues this season, and Kansas and its senior guard Elijah Johnson made the list. Johnson has played off the ball in his first three years with the Jayhawks as Tyshawn Taylor ran the show. Now there’s no one else but Johnson to fill that role. He struggled in KU’s opener against Southeast Missouri State, going 1-5 from the field with just four points and one assist. In Tuesday’s 67-64 loss to Michigan State he was much improved, finishing with 16 points along with a solid floor game (four rebounds, three steals). He added just two assists, though, and it’s clear he’s not a stereotypical point guard. With so many freshman on the roster, that might not be the best thing for this year’s team. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Goodman recognized a handful of other teams with solid point guard play and didn’t take long to mention Baylor’s Pierre Jackson, who is averaging 19.5 PPG and 9.5 APG through two games.
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