With the season now rapidly approaching, the CBSSports.com guys have moved away from interviewing anonymous coaches about their perceptions on cheating and whatnot to doing some bona fide analysis. On Monday, the group released its four All-America teams and two All-Freshman teams for the 2012-13 season, with UCLA and Ohio State the big winners. The Bruins and Buckeyes each placed two players among the list of 20, as UCLA’s Baby Bruins (Shabazz Muhammad – first team; Kyle Anderson – fourth team) and OSU’s Junior League (DeShaun Thomas and Aaron Craft – both third team) were selected. The first team other than Muhammad includes Indiana’s Cody Zeller (also their NPOY), Creighton’s Doug McDermott, Murray State’s Isaiah Canaan, and Missouri’s Phil Pressey. A good list, yes, but we probably would have gone with Michigan’s Trey Burke at the point guard slot, even as much as we love the spectacular dime-master Pressey.
The same guys were certainly busy Sunday night, as CBSSports.com on Monday also released its top 100 players in college basketball for the coming season. We’ve mentioned before just how much of an exercise in futility it is to distinguish between, for example, the 37th best and 38th best players in America, but the list is always a fun jumping-off point to spur discussion. Some of the stratifications of their list are interesting, with only 12 players entering as incoming freshmen while a total of 56 of the chosen players are upperclassmen (juniors and seniors). Additionally, over a quarter of their selections (28) were from non-power conferences while the Big Ten and Big 12 tied for the most players from a single conference, each with 14. For what it’s worth, their top five players closely mirrors their AA team (with one difference), but take a look at it and see who you think is vastly over- or under-rated or who they left off the list.
Speaking of rolling your eyes, Bob Knight is building a cottage industry with his multitude of enemies within college basketball, which wouldn’t be a problem if he weren’t acting as an ESPN analyst/personality who is paid handsomely to give his blustery opinions on a regular basis. Everyone knows the story about his tacit refusal to acknowledge #1 Kentucky last season, and apparently he’s moving on to this year’s likely preseason #1 with an equal amount of tenacity. According to WDRB.com‘s Rick Bozich and Eric Crawford, here’s a recent answer Knight gave in an interview where Indiana was mentioned as a possible title contender: “I have no idea [about Indiana]. I can’t even begin to talk to you about teams because I haven’t seen anybody play yet. Next question.” Ever the charmer, Knight.
John Calipari has spent nearly as much time improving the overall marketability and cool factor of his program as he has working on the x’s and o’s on the practice court. World famous rappers such as Jay-Z and Drake have becomes friends of the program, occasionally stopping by the locker room and attending games, with the obvious outcome that young studs around the country who idolize those artists will notice. On Monday a video by a Massacusetts-based artist named Henry Ogirri went viral within the Big Blue Nation (and by proxy, the college basketball universe) with his new release about the Wildcat basketball team called “Drive for 9.” As many others have already noted yesterday, every team can use a catchy anthem to rally the players and fans throughout the season, and this one appears to have already taken hold among the UK faithful. Have a look and listen…