Big 12 Morning Five: Halloween Edition

Posted by dnspewak on October 31st, 2012

  1. Happy Halloween, college basketball fans! Want to hear a story you can use as your “trick” tonight as you’re gathering candy? How about this: According to an article in the Stillwater NewsPress, J.P. Olukemi had no idea he might be ineligible for the second semester until some kid at the student union told him about it earlier this year (you’ll need to scroll to the end of the article for this excerpt). If you’re not familiar with the situation, Olukemi has recovered from the ACL injury that stole his junior year and will suit up this month, but the NCAA has not yet ruled whether he can play an additional semester in 2013. After already losing Brian Williams to a season-ending injury, the  Cowboys cannot afford to also lose Olukemi after December. It’s too bad he had to find out the harsh news from some random dude on campus.
  2. There may not be a more intriguing story in the Big 12 this year than Amath M’Baye. The Wyoming transfer could add a new element to Oklahoma this season, and he also has quite the life story. M’Baye originally hails from France, but he’s also played in California and, of course, the state of Wyoming during his early college days. His mother will fly in from France to watch Oklahoma’s exhibition game on Friday, and she’ll get to finally see the culmination of her son’s long road to Norman. If you need proof of M’Baye’s immediate impact, look no further than the fact his teammates already voted him a team captain.
  3. Bruce Weber has to feel like a lucky man after inheriting such a solid and experienced Kansas State roster. After all, Illinois canned this guy, and he landed on his feet with arguably a better job. It’s interesting to observe how Wildcats’ players and fans are welcoming their new coach and reacting to his style. He’s always been considered a fiery personality, but he’s no Frank Martin, that’s for sure. As Will Spradling puts it: ”Last year it was, if we made a mistake, we were on the line. We were running… This year it’s, ‘If you make a mistake, we’re going to do it right. We’re going to get it right. We’re going to do it as many times as we need to get it right.’” At least Weber won’t need to worry about toughening his guys up. Martin took care of all that — and then some.
  4. Myck Kabongo‘s eligibility at Texas is the storyline of fall practice so far, but coach Rick Barnes isn’t saying much about the situation. Nobody’s saying anything at all, really, just that they hope the NCAA doesn’t punish him for improper benefits and deem him ineligible to play this season. It’s almost as though nobody wants to consider that scenario, because it’s pretty nightmarish. Actually, it’s quite Halloween-like. Just how bad would it be? Well, after already losing J’Covan Brown to the pros, freshman Javan Felix would have to start. Leading returning scorer Sheldon McClellan and Julien Lewis would still be around, and Barnes loves freshman DeMarcus Holland, but you’d be talking about some serious inexperience at the point guard position in a hurry.
  5. Do you want to read another article about Marcus Smart‘s selflessness and maturity? Here you go. Our intention is not to dissuade you from believing Smart is the real deal. Quite the contrary, actually. We’re sure that Smart is a terrific basketball player and a terrific person, and we’re sure he has a heck of a future ahead of him. It can be funny to read article after article about his wise-beyond-his-years maturity, though. In this particular piece, Ford has more to say about Smart: “I have coached guys who have played extremely hard and have been as unselfish as Marcus is… But Marcus can go a whole practice without shooting and not care less. It’s easy to coach a guy like that.”
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