Kansas kicked off the exhibition portion of their schedule on Tuesday evening with a 97-57 win over MIAA opponent Pittsburg State in Allen Fieldhouse. Most notably, this game featured the much anticipated debut of Andrew Wiggins, who along with Perry Ellis lead the Jayhawks in scoring with 16 points. Wiggins appeared to be nervous and a little passive for a good chunk of the first half before settling into the flow of the game. It wasn’t until late in the first half that Kansas fans got their first taste of the athleticism of Wiggins that has been so widely discussed leading up to this season as he threw down an impressive alley-oop at the expense of a Pittsburg State player. It wouldn’t be surprising to see more highlights like this regularly throughout the course of the year.
Despite the flashy play from Andrew Wiggins and other Jayhawks, perhaps the biggest take away from the game was the impact the new “hand checking” rules had on the contest itself. As Rustin Dodd of the Wichita Eagle explains, during the first half Kansas and Pittsburg State combined for a total of 27 fouls and 39 free throw attempts. The intention of the new rule in college basketball is to prevent defenders from impeding the offensive player’s movement with this ball in his hands, but it appears in the eyes of officials this rule translates to a significantly tighter called game all over the floor. There will be many early season non-conference games that well exceed two hours in duration because of the number of stoppages in play.
We mentioned yesterday that Texas head coach Rick Barnes was among those entering the 2013-2014 season on the proverbial “hot seat” in college basketball. On Tuesday, the Dallas Morning News reported that according to multiple sources, West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck is the leading candidate to replace DeLoss Dodds as the Texas AD next season. If true, it would appear that Luck would be the one to decide Barnes’ fate with the Longhorn basketball program. If you feel like you’ve heard the name before, Oliver Luck is the father of Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck. It’s unclear as to when the timetable for a new head coach will be set, but perhaps you could consider this season a year-long job interview for Rick Barnes.
At the TCU media day, head coach Trent Johnson said the team has still yet to receive word from the NCAA if UTEP transfer Chris Washburn will be allowed to suit up for the Horned Frogs this season. Washburn figures to be an important piece for Johnson’s squad after forward Devonta Abron tore his achilles earlier this year as Washburn would provide TCU with a nice 1-2 punch alongside 6’10” big man Karviar Shepherd. This is yet another example of the NCAA struggling to make an eligibility decision in a timely manner like we have come accustomed to the last several seasons.
Andrew Murawa is the RTC correspondent for the Pac-12 and Mountain West conferences as well as a Pac-12 microsite staffer. You can find him on Twitter @AMurawa.
Reader’s Take I
With only two of the ten players named to last year’s All-Pac-10 team returning, the race for the conference player of the year is wide open.
Twelve Is The New Ten: After 33 seasons, college basketball fans on the west coast are getting used to calling their conference the Pac-12. With Colorado and Utah along for the ride (and currently taking their lumps in football), gone are the days of the home-and-away round-robin schedule on the basketball side of things. But lest the traditionalists complain too much, it could have been much different, as schools from Oklahoma and Texas (obviously the very definition of “Pacific” states) flirted with changing their allegiance for the second consecutive year before heading back to the Big 12.
Fresh Blood: As mentioned above in our poll question, the conference loses eight of the ten players on last year’s all-Pac-10 team, with just Jorge Gutierrez of Cal and UCLA’s ReevesNelson returning. In other words, it is time for a new set of players to step up and take the reins of the league. The most likely candidates are a talented group of freshman guards – names like Josiah Turner and Nick Johnson at Arizona, Tony Wroten, Jr. at Washington, JabariBrown at Oregon, NormanPowell at UCLA and ChassonRandle at Stanford.
Jorge Gutierrez Is A Lightning Rod Of A Guard For Mike Montgomery's Golden Bears, And Big Things Are Expected.
The Carson Show On Hold. A seventh highly-touted freshman guard, however, is stuck in limbo. Arizona State’s JahiiCarsonhas yet to be cleared for practice while an investigation continues into an online course the 5’10” point guard took this summer at Adams State in Colorado. That school has yet to release his course transcript, and until that happens, Carson is unable to practice with the Sun Devils, making an already difficult situation (being regarded as a savior for a team coming off a 12-19 campaign) even worse.
Hard Times for Kevin Parrom: Sometimes, just when everything is going well, life conspires to deal you a set of circumstances that just suck. It’s not bad enough that Parrom took a couple of bullets on September 24 during a home invasion, while in the Bronx visiting his sick mother. But on October 16, Parrom’s mom then passed away after a long battle with cancer. While both incidents will have lasting effects on Parrom, the bullet wounds are the biggest obstacle to him getting back on the court, with bullet fragments lodged in his right leg, a boot on his right foot, nerve damage and his left hand currently wrapped up to protect lacerations sustained in the attack. Parrom is rehabilitating his injuries and as of this writing, no hard timetable is set for his return. But if anybody is due for a good break or two, Parrom’s the guy. Get well soon, Kevin.