Big 12 M5: 03.29.13 EditionPosted by dnspewak on March 29th, 2013
- Texas Tech once hired Bob Knight. So why not Tubby Smith? Sources indicate the Red Raiders have met with Smith, a one-time national champion at Kentucky and the recently-fired head coach at Minnesota. The Red Raiders, who also netted Billy Gillispie two years ago after his promising coaching career fizzled at Kentucky, seem to have a knack for associating themselves with big names in the coaching business. Smith is clearly the best candidate on the list for Texas Tech at this point. It still remains to be seen what sort of consideration interim coach Chris Walker will get, but Smith is a respected name, regardless of how his tenures at Kentucky and Minnesota ended. And they never even ended that badly, comparatively speaking.
- Smith might even be the perfect fit at Tech, according to one writer. He’s right about one thing– inking Smith to a deal would certainly create a “splash” in Lubbock, something this school could need. His six-year run with the Golden Gophers was not stellar, and he never finished above .500 in Big Ten play. He did make three NCAA Tournaments and slammed UCLA in the second round this year, but his team collapsed after a terrific start this year. Failing to reach the second weekend would have seemed unacceptable in December, but that’s how far the team fell within the span of a few months. Playing in a brutal Big Ten didn’t help, but point is, Smith wasn’t great at Minnesota. But he could be great in another situation, considering his success at Kentucky. Yes, yes, he won a title with Rick Pitino’s players and, sure, maybe it’s easier to win at a Kentucky, but you’re not going to find many available head coaches with Smith’s pedigree.
- Amath M’Baye‘s decision this week to declare for the NBA Draft was a bit shocking, especially for Lon Kruger and his Oklahoma teammates. But perhaps it’s not such a bad decision after all. M’Baye has a life to live, and he has a family to help overseas and a professional career to pursue. As the article points out, he’d be almost 25 by the end of next season. He will graduate in fewer than two months. If he feels as though waiting a year to turn pro would slow his progress, then maybe it’s the best thing for him to move on. It’ll hurt, but it won’t cripple Oklahoma’s roster, and it will keep M’Baye moving forward in his own life. Win-win all around.
- This story made waves in August, but it’s still a fun one: Kansas’ Justin Wesley will play Wilt Chamberlain in an upcoming film called “Jayhawkers.” How’s that for having big shoes to fill? Funny thing is, Wesley had never acted before starting this project. The film’s creator just needed somebody to fill the giant role and asked Bill Self for advice. They almost settled on Thomas Robinson, but Wesley’s body type was a little more conducive to the role. So Wesley it was, and the rest is history. Get your popcorn ready.
- Marcus Foster turned down an in-state offer from SMU (plus Oklahoma and other nearby schools) to play at Kansas State next year. That has to hurt more after Foster earned Player of the Year honors in Texas’ Class 3A division. Even with Martavious Irving and Rodney McGruder graduating, he’ll still have to fight with Will Spradling, Angel Rodriguez, Shane Southwell and others for playing time as a freshman. But he’s good enough to do it. He can play a lot of different positions, and he also plays bigger and tougher than his 6’2” frame would suggest. The guy averaged 27 points per game in high school, too, hence the Player of the Year award. Bruce Weber will find a spot for him, and it’ll probably happen the second he steps in Manhattan.