Posted by Deepak Jayanti on October 17th, 2012
- Good freshman classes are usually not dominated by only one player. Indiana freshman Yogi Ferrell may just end up starting at the point guard position for most of the upcoming season but his classmate Hanner Mosquera-Perea has also been very impressive in practice so far. Tom Crean spoke recently about his early impressions of Mosquera-Perea and views his game as bringing a different angle to the Hoosiers. The freshman forward is recovering well from a foot injury he suffered over the summer and hopes to play an integral role on the front line off the bench. Derek Elston (2.4 RPG) will be the complementary big man to Cody Zeller (6.6 RPG) but Perea can earn some minutes if he commits to crashing the boards and playing solid defense in the paint.
- Michigan State needs a primary scoring option this season after the graduation of All-American Draymond Green. Tom Izzo will look to returning guard Keith Appling and the junior guard does not want to disappoint his team. Appling has been working on his jumper after shooting only 25% from beyond the arc as a sophomore. Making 500 shots a day will certainly help his shooting form and he hopes to become more efficient with it as the Spartans look to give Indiana a run at the Big Ten title. Appling averaged 11.4 PPG last year and will undoubtedly be the primary scoring threat especially during the non-conference season until freshman Gary Harris gets used to the speed of the college game.
- Minnesota head coach Tubby Smith can only hope that his star forward Trevor Mbakwe will stay out of trouble during the season. A healthy Mbakwe is key, but Smith more importantly needs him to stay disciplined and focused on the court. Mbakwe has consistently been in some sort of trouble the past several years and has one final chance to help the Gophers make the NCAA Tournament again. He averaged 10.5 RPG before injuring himself last season and he can be a formidable presence in the paint if he can play consistently. After the departure of Ralph Sampson III (4.6 RPG), the Gophers need his rebounding if they hope to compete for the top half of the conference standings.
- Speaking of big guys and the need for rebounding, Michigan’s Mitch McGary will flex his muscle this season in Ann Arbor. McGary is 6’10” and weighs 250 lbs., which should help John Beilein with regards to rebounding as Jordan Morgan desperately needs help in the paint. Morgan averaged 5.6 RPG last season but the Wolverines struggled when he got into foul trouble and couldn’t stay on the floor during key stretches of the game. McGary has impressed the coaches and his teammates with his energy and personality during preseason practice. Having a good personality is a huge positive for McGary, especially if he hopes to mesh efficiently with a star-studded Wolverines squad that features explosive fellow freshman Glenn Robinson III and returning wing Tim Hardaway, Jr.
- Former Indiana head coach Bobby Knight continues to remain in the headlines. Knight, who has acted as a regular commentator on Big 12 games for ESPN, has been assigned to the SEC for the 2012-13 season and is scheduled to call two Kentucky games. Why is this a big deal? It is because Knight has been vocal about Kentucky’s approach to recruiting, specifically voicing his issues with John Calipari’s strategies. Knight called the “one-and-done” player a “disgrace” to college hoops and is clearly not a fan of the current state of Kentucky basketball. Regardless of Knight’s views about Kentucky, he makes for an interesting watch anytime he calls a game for ESPN.