Big 12 M5: 04.12.13 Edition

Posted by KoryCarpenter on April 12th, 2013


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
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Big 12 Team Preview #4: Kansas State Wildcats

Posted by Nate Kotisso on November 9th, 2012

This week, we’re bringing you the obligatory team preview here at the Big 12 microsite. Kansas State at the #4 position is next on our list. 

The Skinny

  • 2011-12 record: 22-11, 10-8
  • Key contributors lost: Jamar Samuels
  • Head coach: Bruce Weber, 1st season
  • Projected finish: 4th

Bruce Weber is an amazing example of a coach falling up. (AP)

Let’s remind ourselves how we got to this point.

March 8: Illinois loses its final game of the season, a 64-61 loss to Iowa in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament. The Illini finished the year 17-15 after starting off 15-3. By this time, Bruce Weber’s postgame press conferences were depressing to watch and listen to. He put everything in his job and even his opponents knew that, but you could sense his time in Champaign was coming to a close. The next day, Weber was relieved of his duties as head basketball coach of the University of Illinois. Fast forward to the 17th, amidst the madness of March, Kansas State lost in the third round to one-seeded Syracuse 75-59. They were without Jamar Samuels that day because he accepted an inpermissible benefit. Because their season was over, they were down but since they had a lot coming back next season, it wasn’t that bad.

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Insider’s Practice Report: Kansas State

Posted by dnspewak on March 7th, 2012

Danny Spewak is a Big 12 microsite writer and will provide wall-to-wall coverage from the Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City. You can follow him on Twitter @dspewak.

Known for his fiery demeanor and sideline tirades, a subdued Frank Martin seemed fairly relaxed just a day before his team’s quarterfinal matchup with Baylor. “We’re playing as well as we have all year,” Martin said at practice. “They’ve been sharp, they’ve been enthusiastic. Now, you’ve gotta go play.” Martin, who called the Bears a potential Final Four team despite a few hiccups during the Big 12 season, used his 40-minute practice window to shore up a few areas from a technical standpoint. For about five minutes, his assistants worked on defending a play that burned his team on the first possession of the game in Waco on February 18. They warned the players to “watch Quincy Miller!” after he sets the screen that allows for a wide-open layup for Pierre Jackson. Apparently, Miller is the key  to this entire play. To get a better idea of what they were working on in practice, take a look at the play in question:

First, Jackson has the ball out top with Miller in the post.

Now, notice Miller, who’s about to set a screen near the free throw line. This is the what Martin and his assistants stressed to their team today– make sure you fight through him. Here, Miller’s making his move to set the screen and free up Jackson to drive to the rim.

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The Fallout From Jordan Henriquez’s Suspension

Posted by dnspewak on January 20th, 2012

After earning a spot in Frank Martin‘s starting five earlier this month, Jordan Henriquez learned Thursday that his coach has indefinitely suspended him. The situation does not seem all that serious, especially since Martin used the mysterious “conduct detrimental to the team” excuse to suspend his 7’0” junior center. Martin said Henriquez, who will not practice during the suspension, has “lost sense of what’s expected of him on a daily basis.” In his past two outings, Henriquez scored a total of three points in 16 minutes against Oklahoma and Texas. Before that, though, Henriquez actually looked like a breakout candidate. He dominated his team’s win over Missouri on the defensive end and scored 12 points in a loss to Baylor last week. No longer did Henriquez look like a project. He looked like an elite big man in the making.

Frank Martin Wants Jordan Henriquez To Take Some Time Off (Credit: Jeff Moffett/Icon SMI)

Something must have changed with Henriquez’s approach. And it happened rather quickly. But judging by Martin’s encouraging language, don’t expect him to sit out for too long. It doesn’t sound like Henriquez broke any laws or even violated any rules off-the-court. Perhaps a few games off will get his head right.

Martin needs his center back as soon as possible. Henriquez is not a star, but he is Kansas State’s best shot-blocker and the only player capable of controlling a game defensively in the paint. Fortunately, Martin has assembled a deep team this season with a lot of bodies, especially at forward. Still, Nino Williams, another reserve forward, is also hurt, which means Martin may need to use freshman Adrian Diaz in his rotation more. Diaz, another seven-footer out of Florida, played eight minutes and scored two points against Texas.

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Big 12 Team Previews: Kansas State Wildcats

Posted by cwilliams on November 8th, 2011

Projected finish:6th

2010-2011 record: 23-11, 10-6 (3rd, Big 12)

Head coach: Frank Martin, 5th season

Key losses: Jacob Pullen (20.2 PPG), Curtis Kelly (10.5 PPG)

The 2010-11 campaign started off with extremely high expectations for the Kansas State Wildcats. Many pundits chose them to win the Big 12, and I personally had them going to the Final Four. Unfortunately, K-State began the season with more of a thud than a bang. They recovered somewhat and turned their season into a decent one, but ultimately fell in the Second Round of the NCAA tournament. This year the Wildcats will see what life is like without the spotlight, as they are not high on anybody’s list for anything. Gone is superstar Jacob Pullen and reliable inside force Curtis Kelly. But if the right players step into their proper roles, I wouldn’t write the fiery Frank Martin’s squad off just yet.

Rodney McGruder Moves Into a Starring Role at K-State This Season

The Stars: Last season, Rodney McGruder was a third team all-Big 12 choice after averaging 11.1 PPG. All eyes will be on McGruder during his junior season, as he is expected to led this Wildcats team into the fray. Luckily for him, he will have the help of Jamar Samuels back for his senior season. Samuels has been deemed one of the more frustrating basketball players to watch by Wildcat fans. He has had games where he looks like he’s NBA-bound, and he’s had games where he looks just confused. He gets one more shot to live up to his potential this season, and I think he’ll take full advantage of that opportunity.

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Conference Report Card: Big 12

Posted by Brian Goodman on April 25th, 2011



Brian Goodman is an RTC editor and contributor.

Year In Review

Before the start of the season, pollsters bought into Kansas State as the sexy pick to take the Big 12 in 2011 on the heels of an Elite Eight appearance in 2010. The Big 12 was not overly impressive in non-conference play, as the Wildcats fell hard to Duke in a de facto home game in Kansas City, and Missouri did the same against Georgetown in one of the more thrilling matchups of the early season.

As league play began, the preseason #3 Wildcats disappointed, starting 2-5, and the usual stalwarts of the Big 12, Kansas and Texas, rose to the top. After topping the Jayhawks at Allen Fieldhouse in January, the Longhorns looked to be in the driver’s seat, especially after Kansas was blindsided at Bramlage Coliseum to give Texas a two-game lead. However, Rick Barnes‘ team suffered another late-season collapse, going 2-3 to finish the regular season while the Jayhawks dusted off the competition to pull ahead to take their seventh straight conference crown.

Elsewhere in the conference, the Wildcats bounced back to end the season in third place. The middle of the conference wasn’t settled until the latter stages of the season with Missouri falling lat and Texas A&MColorado and Nebraska treading water. Baylor underachieved, given the talented personnel in Waco, and Oklahoma State never really looked in sync. OklahomaTexas Tech and Iowa State all had awful seasons to finish at the bottom of the standings.

In the conference tournament final, Kansas played its best basketball of the season, topping Texas to gain some revenge entering the Big Dance. Colorado was snubbed on Selection Sunday despite beating Kansas State three times, but the Big 12 still managed to get five teams into the NCAA Tournament. However, only the Jayhawks made it out of opening weekend alive, and they fell short of expectations as they lost to Shaka Smart and the Rams’ reign of BCS destruction.

KU's front line of Thomas Robinson (left) and the Morris twins evolved into a strength, and the Jayhawks struggled most when they weren't utilized on offense. (AP/Jamie Squire)

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Recruiting Rumor Mill: 08.09.10 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on August 9th, 2010

So apparently Anthony Davis has been in the news. . . Outside of that fiasco there was also a bit of other news on the recruiting circuit.

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