Big 12 M5: 11.20.12 Edition

Posted by dnspewak on November 20th, 2012

  1. Josh Gray might be one of the more important players in this league (to his team, we mean). It seems odd, but Texas Tech‘s point guard situation was so awful a year ago that Gray seemed almost like a savior of sorts entering his freshman season. A coveted recruit from Louisiana, Gray has played well in a limited two-game window and aready has drawn praise from his head coach. Chris Walker likes the way he’s progressed since the beginning of the summer, and it’s hard to disagree. In two games, Gray scored in double figures and dished out four assists both times, tallied a combined six steals and even grabbed seven rebounds against Nebraska-Omaha. The competition stiffens when Texas Tech lines up against Arizona on December 1, but that’s not a terrible way to start a college career.
  2. I have absolutely no idea where I’ll be in two years or what I’ll be doing, but Kansas State does. Exactly two years from today, it’ll play in the 2014 Maui Invitational, along with Arizona, Pittsburgh, San Diego State, Missouri, BYU, and, of course, Chaminade. That seems like a stacked field right now. But for all we know, in two years, Arizona will be a cellar-dwellar in the Pac-12, BYU will have joined the America East and Chaminade, fresh off that win against Texas last night, will have transitioned to Division I. Point is, congratulations to Kansas State for entering this prestigious tournament. Even if it’s not for 24 more months.
  3. In yet another addition of Take Away the Practice Gear, Bob Huggins decided to do just that after West Virginia’s embarrassing defeat to Gonzaga last week. College coaches have engaged in this practice since the caveman days, and we’re still trying to put our finger on the exact psychology behind it. As Keaton Miles puts it, “he was saying we played as individuals and he is trying to get us to earn the WVU on our chest and that we represent a state that takes pride in its basketball.” We’ll go with that.
  4. Believe it or not, Travis Ford’s Oklahoma State program had not cracked the Top 25 until this week, just a day after slamming North Carolina State and winning the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. That’s fairly surprising considering the early success and NCAA Tournament appearances Ford enjoyed with the Cowboys. The polls don’t mean much at this point, but it has to be refreshing for Ford to see his team ascend to #20 after that landmark victory over the Wolfpack. For a coach supposedly on the “hot seat,” this is a big deal.
  5. You may have noticed that Kansas beat Washington State by, like, 150 points last night. Three players scored in double figures: Perry Ellis, Travis Releford and Ben McLemore. Notice that last name on the list. McLemore, a redshirt freshman fresh off a 25-point performance against Chattanooga, scored 11 points and probably has the potential to do a whole lot more damage. If you’re bored and want to break down exactly how McLemore scored those 25 points this weekend, here’s a good look at his offensive output so far this season.
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Big 12 Summer Update: West Virginia Mountaineers

Posted by dnspewak on August 1st, 2012

In an effort to remind you that college basketball does in fact exist during the summer, Big 12 microsite writer Danny Spewak (@dspewak) will roll out three summer updates per week during the next month. The goal is to compile every bit of news and information from the summer months for each team and package it into neat, easy-to-read capsules for your convenience. Next on the list — Big 12 newcomer West Virginia. 

2011-12 Record: 19-14, 9-9 Big East

It’s been four months since Gonzaga beat the pulp out of West Virginia in the NCAA Tournament, a debacle which prompted Bob Huggins to admonish his team as the “worst defensive team I’ve ever had in 30 years.” Much has changed since that fateful Thursday in March, however. For starters, the Mountaineers don’t even play in the same conference after making the official transition from the Big East to the Big 12 last month. More importantly, Huggins’ roster has changed significantly. Leading scorers Kevin Jones and Truck Bryant graduated, three other players transferred, and his top Class of 2012 recruit had to reclassify and enroll in prep school. After losing nine of its final 13 games a year ago, it’s a season of transition for Huggins and his Mountaineers. Headlined by three Division I transfers — a class which rivals Iowa State’s Korie Lucious and Will Clyburn as the best group of transfers in the Big 12 — Huggins must use this critical summer period to establish roles for not only his newcomers, but also a giant sophomore class ready to bear more responsibility on this team in 2012-13.

Huggins Was a Little Ticked Off After a Poor Finish Last Year

Summer Orientation: Let’s start with the most recent addition to West Virginia’s basketball program: Matt Humphrey. He’s not the most celebrated transfer on this squad (see below), but he joined the Mountaineers’ squad this summer after graduating from Boston College and using the graduate school loophole. Humphrey, who actually began his career by spending two years at Oregon, is somewhat of an enigma. Unlike Huggins’ other highly-coveted transfers, Humphrey brings a few question marks. Despite averaging double figures in scoring as a junior at Boston College, he was not an efficient offensive player, shooting 35 percent from the field and just 31 percent from three. Playing on a horrid team for a coach (Steve Donahue) who emphasizes the three-ball, Humphrey averaged more shot attempts than any other Eagle and did not appear to fit well with the offense. However, there’s a reason an established coach like Huggins saw something in Humphrey, and a closer look at his skill set reveals he may actually be a major coup for the Mountaineers as a late addition. That’s because he will not play the same role as he did at Boston College. He won’t need to lead the team in shot attempts — Huggins has plenty of other scoring options to lean on. All he needs to do is add depth and veteran savvy to a rather young group, and Huggins has already praised his ability to defend on the perimeter and disrupt opponents with his 6’5” frame. Matt Humphrey won’t need to be a savior, so all things considered, it’s a good pickup for Huggins.

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Recruiting Rumor Mill: 10.25.10 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on October 25th, 2010

Now that most recruits have made their oral commitments we should start to see the news of commitments start to die down at least in terms of the sheer volume, but that doesn’t mean that a big name won’t commit to a school (still a handful of top 25 guys available) or someone won’t decommit/commit to another school.

  • Quincy Miller, widely consider the last of the superstars in this class, and Deuce Bello, widely considered the most athletic player in this class, both committed to play at Baylor. If Scott Drew can get his players to stay a few years (and the looming NBA lockout could help), he could have a team that features Perry Jones, Miller, Bello, and Isaiah Austin in a few years, which would be one of the most feared line-ups in the nation.

    Miller is the last big chip in this year's class

  • While Miller and Bello stole the headlines for biggest coup of the weekend, LeBryan Nash certainly takes the prize for most effective use of a prop (see below) when he committed to play for Oklahoma State.
  • Fans of Arizona State are starting to worry about Jahii Carson, who previously committed to play for Oregon State, as he is already starting to waver in his commitment to the Sun Devils even citing a freshman wearing his favorite number.
  • Speaking of decommitments. . .Tony Wroten, everybody’s favorite Tweeter, started a minor Internet firestorm when he tweeted asking whether Kentucky commit Kyle Wiltjer had decommited. Wiltjer has not responded, but we haven’t heard any reports to suggest he has not remained committed to the Wildcats.
  • Shane Larkin, son of Cincinnati Reds all-star Barry Larkin and a crosstown rival of Austin Rivers, committed to play for Oliver Purnell at DePaul. Read the rest of this entry »
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