R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Houston Isn’t Very Good, But TaShawn Thomas Sure Is

Posted by mlemaire on November 26th, 2013

Last night’s 10-point loss to Stanford may have exposed Houston’s fast start as a byproduct of some soft scheduling, but those expecting last night’s game to expose junior forward TaShawn Thomas‘s gaudy statistics as a byproduct of the same scheduling received a rude surprise. Thomas entered last’s night game averaging 16.8 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 4.6 blocks per game. Those are impressive numbers no matter the competition, but because Houston’s schedule had thus far featured such college basketball luminaries as Howard and UT-Pan American, most expected Thomas to regress against some improved competition.

It's About Time People Start Paying More Attention To TaShawn Thomas (Photo: Kathy Willens, AP)

It’s About Time People Start Paying More Attention To TaShawn Thomas (Photo: Kathy Willens, AP)

Then the Cougars squared off with a Cardinal team that featured a lot of size and athleticism on Monday and all Thomas did was shoot better than 57 percent from the floor on his way to 22 points, 14 rebounds, five steals, and three blocks in losing effort. Stanford’s strength is its frontcourt and between Stefan Nastic, Dwight Powell, and Josh Huestis, the Cardinal seemingly had more than enough size and talent to control the paint and the glass. Instead it was Thomas who controlled the paint and the glass all by himself. The Cardinal frontcourt got its buckets, but Thomas almost kept the Cougars in the game on his own by grabbing seven offensive rebounds and repeatedly getting to the free throw line in the second half. He was so obviously the best interior player in the game that when Nastic went to the bench with four fouls in the middle of the second half, ESPN’s announcers openly wondered how the Cardinal would get rebounds even though it still had two players on the floor — Powell and Grant Verhoeven — larger than Thomas.

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The Big 12’s New Faces: Oklahoma’s Lon Kruger

Posted by dnspewak on October 26th, 2011

Lon Kruger: The Essentials

  • Previous coaching stop: UNLV
  • Career overview: Texas Pan-American (1982-86), Kansas State (1986-1990), Florida (1990-96), Illinois (1996-2000), Atlanta Hawks (2000-2003), UNLV (2004-11)
  • Playing experience: Kansas State (1971-74)
  • Accolades: Mountain West Coach of the Year (2008), SEC Coach of the Year (1992, 1994), 479 career victories, Big Eight Player of the Year (1973, 1974)

The Breakdown

With a coaching career spanning seven states over a period of 35 years, Lon Kruger has seen it all. He turned around an independent in Texas-Pan American in the ’80s; he’s made a Final Four at Florida and led Kansas State, Illinois and UNLV to multiple NCAA Tournaments. He coached the Atlanta Hawks in the NBA and served as an assistant for the New York Knicks, and he’s also a former two-time Big Eight Player of the Year with K-State.

Kruger is Back in Big 12 Country with Oklahoma

Talk about a good-looking resume. That’s why Oklahoma may have hit the jackpot with Kruger. With 479 victories to his name, Kruger brings his defensive-oriented style to Norman with the expectation of a quick turnaround. He won’t have an all-star roster to work with in his first season, but he’s got a decent core in Andrew Fitzgerald, Carl Blair and Cameron Clark. It’ll take a little time for the group to adjust to his rather unorthodox style of basketball, but don’t expect these Sooners to fall flat after the departure of Jeff Capel.

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Morning Five: 09.16.11 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on September 16th, 2011

  1. St. John’s was dealt a major blow yesterday when the NCAA ruled that three of its prized freshman recruits–Amir Garrett, Jakarr Sampson, and Norvel Pelle–were ruled ineligible by the NCAA for the fall semester. This will be a huge blow for Steve Lavin, who was looking to build on his success last season with one of the top freshman classes in the country. St. John’s is planning on appealing to get the trio eligible for the spring semester, but the earliest that they could join the team would be for a practice on December 19 and see their first game-time action against Texas Pan-American on December 21. Of course, rumors have already started spreading about all three players exploring their other options while they await that decision. Until then, Lavin will have to try to make it through challenging non-conference schedule that includes a game against Arizona in the 2K Sports Classic in Madison Square Garden and a game at Kentucky with a young, but talented group of players.
  2. It took almost a month, but Frank Haith has finally come out to (sort of) defend himself against the reports of wrongdoing while he was at Miami. In an interview with a local reporter, Haith denies any wrongdoing on his part, but states that he cannot explain much more including his relationship with Nevin Shapiro, the Ponzi scheme artist at the center of the controversy. Haith also claims that it has not affected his recruiting, but we will believe that when we see what kind of recruits he is able to lure to Missouri. Outside of potential NCAA sanctions against him (we still can’t believe the NCAA acted so swiftly against the players, but has not made any indication that it will punish the coaches involved) there is the looming concern about Haith’s job security at Missouri and that’s before they even evaluate his on-court performance, which left a lot to be desired at Miami.
  3. As usual Dana O’Neil has come up with another outstanding profile piece. This time it is on new Princeton coach Mitch Henderson, who was the iconic image from Princeton’s shocking upset of defending champion UCLA in the 1996 NCAA Tournament. Henderson took the job after his former teammate Sydney Johnson (in the background of the image with Henderson leaping) left Princeton to take the same job at Fairfield. Fortunately, Johnson left his former teammate with a program that was in good shape, but Henderson will have to find a way to replace the contributions of departed seniors Kareem Maddox and Dan Mavraides.
  4. Former Arizona coach Lute Olson filed a lawsuit earlier this month claiming that he lost a little over $1 million in the David Salinas investment scam. Olson was among the approximately 100 investors who lost a combined $39 million to Salinas and his partner Brian Bjork, but to our knowledge Olson lost the second biggest amount of any investor as only Billy Gillispie‘s reported $2.3 million loss exceeds Olson’s $1 million. According to the lawsuit, this loss has taken away a significant amount of the money that Olson had planned to use in retirement. Olson, like many others, was reportedly lured in by promises of low-risk corporate bonds with 9% yields, which any investor with even minimal experience would tell you is too good to be true. It is unclear how much if any of the $39 million will every be returned to the investors.
  5. This year’s ESPN Tip-Off Classic had to be altered after Hawaii had cancel its Rainbow Classic after one of the participants pulled out leading the other two schools to follow suit. As a result Hawaii had to quickly schedule a game against Cal State Northridge to be played at 11 PM local Hawaii time. For Cal State Northridge, it is a huge break as the program is ineligible for postseason play due to its low APR score, but now they get to play on national television in one of the premier events of the regular season.
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