Big 12 Morning Five: 12.16.11 Edition

Posted by dnspewak on December 16th, 2011

  1. For the first time this season, Kansas State allowed its freshmen to talk to the media, and we uncovered a few interesting facts about Thomas Gipson and Angel Rodriguez in the process. One of the more intriguing comments made by coach Frank Martin regarded Rodriguez and a comparison to former Wildcat Denis Clemente. Clemente, the catalyst for an Elite Eight team under Martin, isn’t much like Rodriguez, according to Martin. But that’s also not a bad thing. Martin said Rodriguez lacks the speed of Clemente — but then again, he’s so fast that everybody is slow compared to him– but he also said he makes up for that by being more “crafty.”
  2. When we heard Missouri players allude to the fact that Mike Anderson did not watch video of other teams as MU’s head coach, we laughed off the accusations. That’s crazy talk. Right? Well, maybe not entirely. According to this article in the Columbia Tribune, Anderson’s teams did in fact watch game tape, but they did not engage in the activity nearly to the extent that Frank Haith‘s staff does. Now, Anderson has done just fine as a head coach by qualifying for six NCAA Tournaments at both UAB and Missouri, so this is no knock on his style of coaching. But it is very eye-opening to get an inside look at Haith’s techniques as a head coach.
  3. It’s not necessarily news, but here’s an interesting thought we hadn’t considered yet: Of the four new coaches in the Big 12, all of them have previously coached in the league before as head coaches or assistants. Again, this isn’t groundbreaking, and Missouri’s Frank Haith and Texas A&M’s Billy Kennedy will both be gone to the SEC next year anyway. Still, maybe this explains why the coaches have enjoyed modest success in their first seasons.
  4. Like we mentioned yesterday, Oklahoma is off to a solid 7-1 start under new coach Lon Kruger. And more people are starting to take notice. Oklahoma will need to prove itself in Big 12 play, but this just simply looks like a different team. It’s more mature, more disciplined and more understanding of how to win at the Division I level. An NCAA Tournament bid could be right around the corner, and that would have sounded crazy just a few months ago.
  5. In another part of the state, Oklahoma State’s LeBryan Nash has had to deal with all sorts of expectations thanks to his status as a highly-recruited freshman. The promising wing is finally learning how to win at this level, and it’s no surprise that it’s taken him a little while to get a hang of things. In the end, Nash will be OSU’s best player, by far. But like most freshmen, it’s hard for Nash to play at the college level because the game doesn’t come as easy as it it did in high school. Once that the adjustment period is over, though, we can’t wait to watch Nash in the Big 12.
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Learning Curve Begins for Kansas State

Posted by dnspewak on December 1st, 2011

After losing star guard Jacob Pullen to graduation, Kansas State was one of the more difficult teams to peg during this preseason. Frank Martin has recovered just fine from past departures from Michael Beasley, Bill Walker, and Dennis Clemente, but there’s no question this 2011-12 team is vastly different than the squad that earned a five-seed in the NCAA Tournament a year ago.

And through three games, Kansas State still hasn’t answered any questions: it overcame sluggish first halves defeat Charleston Southern, Loyola Chicago, and Maryland Eastern Shore. None of the Wildcats’ wins were particularly troublesome, but they weren’t exactly convincing either. They trailed by 14 at halftime to Charleston Southern and led by single digits at the break in its two following wins. What do we make of these Kansas State Wildcats?

Frank Martin Is About to Learn A Lot About His Team

We’ll find out starting tonight, when they host a decent George Washington program at 7 PM. This isn’t the same Colonials team that once ran the table in the A-10 during the middle of the decade, but first-year head coach Mike Lonergan has his team off to an impressive 4-1 start. With a veteran squad returning from a 4th-place team in 2010-11, GW has already knocked off Detroit and Austin Peay, both considered favorites to win their respective conferences.

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