Big 12 M5: 10.21.13 EditionPosted by Kory Carpenter on October 21st, 2013
- Gary Parrish over at CBSSports.com gave us his top 30 big men coming into the season, and the Big 12 was well represented with five players making the list. In order, they are: #8 Isaiah Austin (Baylor), #9 Joel Embiid (Kansas), #11 Cory Jefferson (Baylor), #22 Melvin Ejim (Iowa State), and #29 Georges Niang (Iowa State). Creighton’s Doug McDermott and Kentucky’s Julius Randle topped the list, both of whom are hard to argue against even though Randle is a true, untested freshman. As for Iowa State, if Ejim and Niang play as well as Parrish thinks they can play this season, the Cyclones could contend near the top of the Big 12 standings.
- It is surprising that a group of talented, young basketball players don’t want to get out and run in transition, but that appears to be what Bill Self is battling with his team so far this season. “I think this could be the quickest team we’ve had to get up and down the court,” Self told the Lawrence Journal-World‘s Gary Bedore Saturday. “But we’ve got to do it every possession.” Self is right, especially with the way he coaches defense. Kansas teams are known for their outstanding defense, and a team that wants to play fast can convert turnovers into points in a flash. The Jayhawks have as many athletes and as much depth as nearly anyone in the country this season, and with a young team that could take some time to master the offense, getting into transition on a regular basis for easy buckets could be exactly what they need early on.
- Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart isn’t shying away from his decision to return for his sophomore year, bypassing the NBA and the chance to be a top-5 pick last summer. “A lot of people say I turned (a big opportunity) down, but I didn’t turn down anything,” Smart told the Oklahoman‘s Gina Mizell on Friday. “I just pushed it to the side.” Smart spoke after Oklahoma State’s annual “Homecoming and Hoops” Midnight Madness event, highlighted in part by a video montage that was projected onto the Gallagher-Iba court. Smart said the Cowboys have a chance to make history this season in Stillwater, and he is right.
- Not only does Texas Athletic Director DeLoss Dodds know his school has a basketball team, he is actually concerned about the state of said basketball team. No, really. “I worry more about basketball,” Dodds told Sports Illustrated‘s Pete Thamel last week. “If I were going to pick one [program] to worry more about, I worry more about basketball.” Dodds has announced his retirement for next August, so it’s hard to see him firing head coach Rick Barnes and making a new hire on his way out the door, but with a new boss coming to town next fall, Barnes’ days in Austin could be numbered.
- Not unlike Bill Self’s wishes, West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins wants his team to start running. Huggins, however, wants his guys to run because they’ve been so busy teaching and learning this season that actually playing the game has been secondary at times. “It’s just that with all those new guys we’re doing so much teaching that we haven’t had a chance to run up and down,” Huggins said after Friday’s Midnight Madness, officially named the “Gold-Blue Debut.” The Mountaineers return only five players from last year and will have a steep learning curve this season regardless of how much running they do.