Big 12 M5: 04.12.13 Edition
Posted by KoryCarpenter on April 12th, 2013
- The coaching carousel has been as busy as ever this offseason, and ESPN‘s Jason King takes a deeper look into the resulting coaching changes. Texas Tech made headlines recently when it hired former Minnesota head coach Tubby Smith to replace interim head coach Chris Walker. I had advocated for keeping Walker on past this season, but when you have a chance to hire a coach like Smith, you have to do it. The ex-Gophers coach won a national title at Kentucky in 1998, and he instantly gives the Red Raiders one of the five best coaching staffs in the Big 12.
- Here is another way-too-early 2013-14 preseason Top 25, this time from Seth Davis at Sports Illustrated. Not surprisingly, only Kansas makes the list right now. The Jayhawks come in at #13 on Davis’ ballot and here is a big reason for it: “I put them here because of the names on the front of the jersey, not the ones on the back.” The Jayhawks have the roster of a Top 25 team, no question, but Davis is right that his ranking has more to do with Bill Self’s reputation of taking teams with obvious issues and turning them into #1 seeds. You will also notice that there are no other Big 12 teams on the list. If (when) the Jayhawks win their 10th consecutive Big 12 championship next season, they could send thank you cards to the other nine schools in the conference. I’m not saying that next year’s Kansas team couldn’t win a more competitive Big 12, but they won’t have to wonder if they could because the conference on paper appears down.
- Another Kansas State player has decided to transfer. Sophomore forward Adrian Diaz follows freshman guard Michael Orris on the way out of Manhattan after both players saw spot minutes last season. While neither player’s career started the way they probably imagined, there seems to be plenty of opportunities next season for Kansas State. The team’s best player, Rodney McGruder, is gone, as are Martavious Irving and Jordan Henriquez-Roberts. But as Joel Wagler points out, the losses of Diaz and Orris won’t have much of an effect on next year’s team.
- It’s always nice to hear an NBA scout mirror what you’ve been saying about a player for the last few months, because it doesn’t happen very often (if ever). “McLemore is a better version of Ray Allen,” an anonymous NBA scout told the Lawrence Journal-World‘s Gary Bedore, obviously speaking of Kansas freshman guard Ben McLemore. “He will play shooting guard the way it is supposed to be played.” McLemore can definitely be timid at times, which isn’t a great characteristic in a league filled with assassins like Lebron and Kobe. But I would bet it’s easier to change a quiet demeanor than to give someone McLemore’s outstanding athleticism and shooting ability.
- Because news is slow this time of year and most news in Big 12 country has already turned to spring football anyway, I leave you with this: Baylor women’s star Brittney Griner should head to the WNBA and skip any publicity stunts associated with joining an NBA team. We don’t need to waste any time discussing the obvious reasons, like how Griner couldn’t survive in the men’s college game much less an NBA practice. But getting embarrassed by someone like Bernard James on the first day of a Mavericks training camp would only hurt Griner’s and the WNBA’s overall image, not help it. And if the WNBA has any hope of surviving and becoming profitable in the long term, having its best prospect ever looking silly against fringe NBA players in a glorified scrimmage is not the best plan.