Pac-12 Team Preview: Arizona Wildcats

Posted by AMurawa on November 6th, 2013

We continue unveiling our team-by-team breakdowns, in roughly the reverse order of where we expect these teams to finish in the conference standings. 

Arizona Wildcats

Strengths. Arizona has the most pure talent in the Pac-12. The roster is littered with McDonald’s All-Americans and five-star recruits and future pros. And for the first time in Sean Miller’s tenure in Tucson, he’s got a true point guard in Duquesne transfer T.J. McConnell. But the one spot where this team really has a chance to be elite is on the defensive end, as McConnell’s defense has been raved about in the weeks of practice leading up to the season. Nick Johnson is already among the best perimeter defenders in the conference, if not the country. Throw in freshmen Aaron Gordon and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson as elite athletes who can guard multiple positions, Brandon Ashley who is long and athletic up front, and a big pounder like Kaleb Tarczewski in the middle, and this Wildcat team could be good enough to ride its defense if the offense struggles out of the gate.

T.J. McConnell Is The Type Of Scrappy, Pass-First Point Guard That Has Been Missing At Arizona (Arizona Athletics)

T.J. McConnell Is The Type Of Scrappy, Pass-First Point Guard That Has Been Missing At Arizona (Arizona Athletics)

Weaknesses. The most common complaint when people look for areas to pick this team apart is its questionable outside shooting. It’s a fair enough point, in that guys like Gordon and Hollis-Jefferson, in particular, still have jumpers that are most kindly described as “works in progress.” Still, Johnson shot 39.3 percent from three last season, McConnell hit 43.2 percent from deep in 2011-12 at Duquesne, and guys like Gabe York and Jordin Mayes off the pine are quality three-point shooters as well. Having a handful of guys who can stroke the three doesn’t necessarily mean that this team’s ability to shoot the ball isn’t up for debate. For instance, while Gordon and Hollis-Jefferson won’t take many threes, they do have to be able to knock down 12-footers with regularity, lest their opponents pack it in and clog up the lane for the two freshmen plus Tarczewski and Ashley.

Non-Conference Tests. Miller has put together a solid non-conference schedule with several chances at solid resume wins. The highlight of their early season slate is the NIT Season Tip-Off, which could provide an Arizona/Duke match-up in the final round, provided both teams can take care of early round action. And honestly, the Cats should get to the final game: They’ll open with Fairleigh Dickinson, then likely get Rhode Island before possibly facing Rutgers in the semifinals. The other big highlight on the schedule is a mid-December trip to Michigan for a national televised game in Ann Arbor. The other two prime games on the schedule are a mid-week trip to San Diego State during the second week of the season, and a visit from UNLV in early December.

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Pac-12 M5: 11.06.13 Edition

Posted by Connor Pelton (@ConnorPelton28) on November 6th, 2013


  1. Arizona received a big boost Tuesday when sophomore stretch forward Zach Peters was cleared by medical personnel to begin practicing with the Wildcats. Peters transferred from Kansas last November before playing a game with the Jayhawks but was sill waiting on clearance after suffering multiple concussions while in Lawrence. The addition is an important one for head coach Sean Miller. Peters is a big body that has the ability to shoot the ball from the outside, and he’ll likely be called upon to fill the absence left by Grant Jerrett. Arizona is losing its top four three-point shooters from the 2012-13 campaign, so there is certainly more than enough room for another shooter on the roster. Peters will open the season behind Kaleb Tarczewski, Brandon Ashley, and Aaron Gordon on the depth chart, but expect him to play solid minutes once he gets a couple weeks of practice in with the Cats. They open the season Friday night at home against Cal Poly in a game to be televised by the Pac-12 Networks.
  2. The guys over at Building the Dam met in roundtable form last weekend to discuss what excites them, worries them, and their expectations heading into Craig Robinson‘s sixth season at Oregon State. The return of senior center Angus Brandt is definitely high on the list for excitement in Corvallis after the Aussie missed the majority of last season with a torn ACL suffered against Purdue. As RVM points out, however, there are plenty of question marks with this team, beginning with the fact that there is no proven point guard on the roster.
  3. Andy Enfield takes over at USC after the Trojans finished last year with a 14-18 record, its second straight losing season. Conquest Chronicles previews the 2013-14 team in this piece, focusing on the biggest offensive threats and the keys to getting back to relevance out west. All signs from preseason camp seem to point to the Trojans adjusting well to Enfield’s up tempo, high-flying system, but producing results early on against a challenging non-conference schedule will be difficult. They open the season Friday night at Utah State, and before the month ends they will face Villanova, and possibly, #5 Kansas, in the Bahamas. Keying the offense will be senior guard J.T. Terrell, whose ability to take, and make, tough shots will be of great value for Enfield and company. Expectations are small for this team, but I wouldn’t count a coach like Enfield out at any time.
  4. UCLA put a bow on its exhibition season Monday with a 109-79 win over Cal State San Marcos. Everything went through a slimmer and quicker forward/center Tony Parker as the sophomore finished with 17 points and 16 rebounds. Parker dropped about 20 pounds over the summer and is playing with more confidence, and if the early signs prove to hold true throughout the season, he is a legit post threat in the Pac-12. The Cougars held tough with UCLA for about 12 minutes, and actually only trailed by two just over halfway through the first half. A quick scoring burst later in the half put any thoughts of an upset to bed, and Steve Alford‘s team ended up cruising to the 30-point win. Next up for them is a visit from Drexel late Friday night to start the regular season.
  5. Sophomore Jahii Carson and Penn State transfer Jermaine Marshall will be the leaders of Arizona State‘s deep backcourt unit this season. That much you probably know. But there are four other guards on the roster that will don the maroon and gold this season, and House of Sparky breaks down that depth in this preview. Redshirt freshman Calean Robinson will run the offense when Carson leaves the court, and he may be the most intriguing Sun Devil behind Carson. Arizona State meets Maryland Baltimore County to open the season Sunday evening at Wells Fargo Arena.
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Pac-12 M5: 10.16.13 Edition

Posted by Andrew Murawa on October 16th, 2013


  1. After a stretch of several months where most of the news coming out of Westwood was of the bad variety, UCLA finally found some good news waiting for them on Tuesday when forward Wanaah Bail was granted eligibility to play immediately for the Bruins after transferring out of the Texas Tech program. While Bail is still recovering from offseason knee surgery, if and when he is healthy enough to go, he’ll be expected to provide much-needed depth in the frontcourt behind the senior Wear twins and sophomore center Tony Parker. Still, despite the good news, some Bruin followers have chosen to paint this as, somehow, another strike against new head coach Steve Alford before the guy has even gotten to the plate. Seriously though, Alford had the temerity to answer a question about comparing John Wooden to his former college head coach, Bobby Knight. I mean, get a rope, right?
  2. Turning back to UCLA’s biggest rival in the conference, Arizona is considered the prohibitive favorite by most prognosticators, but the one weakness most people look to nitpick is the team’s possible lack of outside shooting. The team loses four of their top five three-point shooters from last season and their most ballyhooed newcomers, namely freshmen Aaron Gordon and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, are known for just about anything on the basketball court except long-range shooting. Nevertheless, newly eligible transfer T.J. McConnell is a 41.6% three-point shooter for his career, junior guard Nick Johnson improved to a 39.3% three-point shooter last season, and guys like sophomore Gabe York (despite his one-for-nine shooting in the Red-Blue game) and Kansas transfer Zach Peters are expected to chip in from range. Meanwhile, even sophomore Brandon Ashley has worked to expand his range out toward the three-point line.
  3. Speaking of T.J. McConnell, while anyone who never saw him play in his first two seasons of collegiate eligibility at Duquesne can look at the numbers and see a guy who can knock down the three as well as drop a dime (KenPom, paywall) with the best of them, Arizona head coach Sean Miller has been talking up McConnell’s ability to get after it on defense. The Wildcats’ defensive efficiency has improved every season under Miller (again, KenPom, paywall), but if McConnell can live up to Miller’s hype, he’s definitely got a versatile enough frontcourt to match up with just about any opponent, what with Kaleb Tarczewski’s ability to out-physical true posts, Ashley’s length and athleticism advantage over  most fours, Gordon’s ability to guard any number of positions, and Jefferson’s toughness and length. Throw in the already established Nick Johnson, whose ability to annoy the heck out of opposing ball-handlers far away from the hoop can be disruptive enough on its own, and this Wildcat squad is a good bet to improve on the team’s defensive numbers from a year ago.
  4. For some reason, we haven’t talked a lot about Colorado so far these past couple of weeks (something we will remedy soon enough), but the Buffaloes are one of the handful of teams who can legitimately challenge Arizona for conference supremacy. Things will be a bit easier for the Buffs this season, especially around Boulder, as season tickets for the Coors Event Center have sold out for the first time in CU history. With a student section that has evolved into one of the best in the conference, and now the full Boulder community also committed to supporting the team, expect the Rocky Mountain swing to be one of the least welcoming road trips on the Pac-12 schedule.
  5. We’ll wrap up the morning by pointing you to a thorough rundown on the Washington basketball roster by Ben Knibbe (follow him now) at the UW Dawg Pound. Yesterday he took you through the high post players Jernard Jarreau and Desmond Simmons (and offered the saddest of lines for a Husky fan: “Aaron Gordon would have been…”). Last week he broke down wings C.J. Wilcox, Hikeem Stewart, Darin Johnson and Mike Anderson. And the week before that he filled you in on point guard options Andrew Andrews, Nigel Williams-Goss and Jahmel Taylor. Certainly, we’ll get the breakdown on low posts Perris Blackwell and Shawn Kemp in the near future, but you’ll need to keep up with Ben (seriously, follow him now) in order to get the best position-by-position rundown you’ll find around the Pac-12 team blogs.
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Pac-12 M5: 10.15.13 Edition

Posted by Andrew Murawa on October 15th, 2013


  1. We talked about the Arizona Red-Blue game yesterday, but while some exciting newcomers made their Wildcat debut at that event, one piece in particular still awaits his clearance. Zach Peters did not play in the intrasquad scrimmage, still sidelined as a matter of safety as the Kansas transfer works through the aftermath of five concussions over a 15-month period. While Sean Miller and the Wildcat program remain hopeful that Peters can turn into an impact player as a stretch-four on the potentially outside-shooting-starved squad, they’re making sure to bring him along in small steps, meaning that they won’t rush him back. Thus far, while Peters is practicing with the team in certain drills, he has not yet been cleared for actual contact.
  2. Speaking of contact, we’re going to step outside the strict bounds of the Pac-12 to check in with Colorado State head coach Larry Eustachy, who is prematurely complaining about an officiating point of emphasis for this season, the attempt to penalize defenders for using their hands. This point of emphasis came down from the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel, asking officials to call more fouls when a defender keeps a hand on an opponent, when a defender puts both hands on an opponent, or when the defender uses the arm bar. In the Pac-12, a conference that will share officiating oversight with Eustachy’s Mountain West this season, expect this new emphasis to have the biggest impact on programs like Washington, Oregon and Cal, three teams known for their aggressive, physical defense.
  3. Down in Los Angeles, there are a couple of new coaches in the city. Steve Alford replaces Ben Howland in the hot seat at UCLA, and there will be immediate expectations for a team that returns all but two contributors from last season. Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports has five big questions for Alford to answer in his first season, but for my money the biggest question is related to his first one regarding Kyle Anderson. Rothstein asks if Anderson can guard small forwards, and while that is certainly a big part of the question marks surrounding Anderson, it is not the full story. Thus far, it appears Anderson is leading the competition to man the point on offense for the Bruins and, after playing off of the ball for most of his freshman campaign, it remains to be seen just how well the UCLA offense can click with the deliberate (the nickname Slo-Mo is not meant to be sarcastic) but talented sophomore manning the helm.
  4. Across town, new USC head coach Andy Enfield is continuing his hot start. He’s already lured in some transfers and beaten those hated Bruins in the battle for Jordan McLaughlin’s commitment, and he shows no signs of slowing down by notching another commitment this weekend. This time it was 6’10″ center Jabari Craig, an athletic center who, while raw offensively, could contribute immediately next season on the glass, in transition, and challenging shots in the middle.
  5. Lastly, we’ll head out to Utah where senior Renan Lenz has apparently jumped to the head of the class in the battle to replace Jason Washburn in the middle. After a disappointing first year in Salt Lake City in which the JuCo transfer earned only 8.6 minutes per game, Lenz has cut 20 pounds, tightened up his body, and improved his athleticism and speed. While guys like Jordan Loveridge and Brandon Taylor are expected to take on the biggest roles in scoring the ball for the Utes, Lenz could turn into a solid contributor by running the floor and doing much of the dirty work in the halfcourt.
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Welcome Back: Pac-12 Team-By-Team Offseason Wrap

Posted by AMurawa on October 7th, 2013

After a long offseason away from college basketball, we’re back. With practice underway across the country, with “Midnight Madness” events looming and with the start of the season on the not-too-distant horizon, it is time to end our hiatus and dig back into hoops. In a year where the Pac-12 seems to sport one legitimate national title contender and a healthy pack of NCAA Tournament contenders, we can finally say that the conference is back from the recent depths and ready to be a consistent contender on the national stage again. But, in taking an offseason sabbatical, we’ve missed some key storylines. So, in order to get you back in the swing of things, we’ll go team-by-team around the conference and quickly catch you up on some key offseason happenings. Later in the week we’ll break down some of these stories in a little more detail. Next week we’ll be back with our daily Morning Fives, and over the course of the next month, we’ll catch you up on everything you need to know going into the 2013-14 Pac-12 season. Without further ado, here’s what you need to know if you’ve been away from the conference for a few months.

Why Is This Man Smiling? Maybe Because He Has the Best Team in the League.

Why Is This Man Smiling? Maybe Because He Has the Best Team in the League.

Arizona – The conference’s clear preseason favorite got some good news over the offseason when 6’10″ sophomore forward Zach Peters was granted his waiver request by the NCAA for immediate eligibility after transferring from Kansas. A quality recruit in the 2012 class, Peters career never got off the ground in Lawrence largely due to injuries, including multiple concussions. If he can stay healthy, he’s a stretch-four who can provide another offensive threat for the Wildcats. Elsewhere, Sean Miller continued his hot streak on the recruiting trail, landing 2014 four-star power forward Craig Victor, while continuing his pursuit of additional heavy hitters in next year’s class.

Arizona State – It was an offseason roller coaster for the Sun Devils, with Evan Gordon opting to spend his senior season closer to home at Indiana, only to have Penn State transfer Jermaine Marshall decide that he’d spend his final season of eligibility in Tempe. Marshall, who averaged 15.3 points per game for a depleted Penn State squad last season, will likely slide right into the spot vacated by Gordon’s departure. It’s not all sunshine and roses for Herb Sendek’s team, however, as Jahii Carson is dealing with a stress reaction in his right leg that will limit him in practice during the early going.

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Big 12 M5: 11.27.12 Edition

Posted by Nate Kotisso on November 27th, 2012

  1. There was a lot that went wrong in the Big 12 last week. There was that one school that lost to a Division II school (Texas), another team that scored 31 points in a 40 minute basketball game (TCU), and two others that lost two times each (Iowa State and West Virginia). But what was the league office to do, not release their weekly awards? Well they did. Kansas senior guard Travis Releford was named Player of the Week after averaging 20 PPG while killing it from everywhere there was hardwood (65% FG and 60% 3FG). Meanwhile, Oklahoma high-flying transfer Amath M’Baye won Rookie of the Week honors and I’ve got a feeling it won’t be his last. Let’s hope for a better overall week from our Big 12 teams.
  2. There are two teams currently undefeated in the Big 12: The first of course is Oklahoma State with its 6-0 mark and flashy Top 20 ranking. But can you name the other? Oh it’s… no, that can’t be right. Can it? That’s right, the Texas Tech Red Raiders are standing tall at 4-0. How can this be explained? This team averaged a paltry 59 points per game last season and now they’re putting up 90 on the regular. Yes they’ve dominated SWAC competition so far this year but if you told me a month ago they’d be one of two teams with a spotless record in the Big 12, I would have commended your positive attitude and kindly told you to get real. Indeed it is I who needs to get real. I’m rooting big time for Chris Walker to get a contract extension because to me, he earned one at Big 12 Media Day. He and his Red Raiders have a great litmus test coming up Saturday in Lubbock vs #9 Arizona.
  3. The injury saga with Kansas freshman Zach Peters has come to an unfortunate end. After battling through four concussions in the last two years and a rotator cuff injury suffered early this offseason, Peters has decided to leave the KU basketball team effective at the end of the fall semester. But according to coach Bill Self, Peters will not be leaving the school; he just won’t be competing anywhere else “at least for a while,” which is even sadder news. Peters had his first two concussions while playing football during his senior season in Plano, Texas, and suffered the other two within the last four months at Kansas. All the best to you, Zach.
  4. As we mentioned above, Iowa State had a rough couple days in Las Vegas. They face two ranked teams in Cincinnati and UNLV, and they had chances to win both games before faltering late, so Fred Hoiberg will have his team working hard at practice this week. One problem mentioned in this Des Moines Register article is the ineffective play of transfer Korie Lucious, whose 1:1 assist-to-turnover ratio isn’t exactly ideal from your starting point guard. Once the Cyclones can take better care of the basketball (they’re currently averaging 16 turnovers per game), only then will we see this team reach its full potential.
  5. Some breaking news to pass along: Jeff Withey plays basketball and he plays it well. The senior had himself quite a night against San Jose State, tallying 16 points, 12 rebounds and 12 blocked shots in KU’s win against San Jose State. Last night’s triple-double is only the second recorded in the history of Kansas basketball; Cole Aldrich had the other one back in 2009. But it wasn’t all easy for the Jayhawks. They held a 60-36 lead halfway through the second half before the Spartans made a run to cut their lead to seven with 2:39 to play. Kansas then scored the game’s last six points, shutting the door for good. But seriously, how did KU in the 1950s not count how many blocked shots per game Wilt Chamberlain had? That is very much a ridiculous thing to not do.
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Big 12 M5: Opening Day Edition

Posted by Nate Kotisso on November 9th, 2012

  1. On the eve of the college basketball season, the Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 list was released. As you know, Kentucky and UCLA pulled off sparkling recruiting classes and yet none of them are on this list. Want to hear something even more shocking? The Big 12 has only five players on the Top 50 list. That’s only one more than the Pac-12 (four total) and the league finds themselves ranked below the Big Ten, Big East, ACC, and SEC in that department. I guess we can take solace in the fact that this list is comprised by the Los Angeles Athletic Club.
  2. Some new developments in the Myck Kabongo saga: The Texas guard will not play in today’s season opener against Fresno State. The NCAA investigation into Kabongo’s relationship with Rich Paul, the agent for former Texas players Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph, continues, so the university isn’t taking any chances with a player who could be deemed ineligible by the NCAA. There is also some injury news for the Horns as big man Jaylen Bond will be out Friday with an ankle injury he suffered during practice Tuesday. The Longhorns will be short-handed but still should be able to win their home opener with relative ease.
  3. Oklahoma returned to their old stomping grounds for an exhibition game this week. Oklahoma basketball used to hoop it up at McCasland Field House from 1928 to 1975 and on Wednesday night, the 84-year-old structure witnessed the Sooners hammer Central Oklahoma, 94-66. This won’t be the last time Oklahoma will play at McCasland this season as they plan to play a non-conference game there against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on New Year’s Eve. Lon Kruger has even expressed interest in hosting other games in the future there. College basketball games in more obscure settings? Sign me up.
  4. Bill Self is making his last-second decisions on whom to redshirt this season. While it’s not set in stone. Self told The Kansas City Star that Zach Peters and Landen Lucas were strong candidates to be redshirted. Peters has been plagued with a rotator cuff injury over the past month and while his status is better, Self has no idea when the Dallas-area forward will play this season. According to Self, Lucas seems more likely to be redshirted after talking with his family about it, but still leaves the door open about him playing “two weeks from now.” It’s a classic coaching strategy: closing the door on something by not really closing it all the way. It keeps opposing coaches off-balance.
  5. The 2014 Final Four will be played under the big top that is JerryWorld. On Thursday, the Big 12 Conference, the Dallas Cowboys, the NCAA and the North Texas Local Organizing Committee unveiled the Tournament’s logo. Final Four Saturday will take place on April 5, 2014 with the National Championship game happening on Monday, April 7. The Metroplex hasn’t hosted a Final Four since 1986 when “Never Nervous” Pervis Ellison led the Louisville Cardinals to their second national title of the 1980s with a win over the Duke Blue Devils. So from 2004 to 2016, the state of Texas will have hosted five Final Fours with events in San Antonio (2), Houston (2), and now North Texas (1).
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Big 12 M5: 10.15.12 Edition

Posted by Nate Kotisso on October 15th, 2012

  1. It’s October so it must be time for… bracketology?’s Jerry Palm takes a swing at how the 68-team tournament will look on Selection Sunday 2013. Like in 2012, Palm has six Big 12 teams making the field. Take his opinion for what you will but this is the same guy who continued to keep Northwestern in his bracket even after it went out of style (and right on cue, the Wildcats are one of his “first four out”). As for the bracket itself, it looks pretty balanced among the power conferences and for non-AQ schools, the Atlantic 10 and Mountain West are projected to once again be the best basketball leagues for mid-majors. Something interesting of note is that the five teams from last year’s actual bracket that are the exact same seed in Palm’s 2013 projections (not counting #1 or #16 seeds): Missouri (#2), Notre Dame (#7), Kansas State (#8), Davidson (#13) and Ohio (#13). And there you have a useless fact. You’re welcome.
  2. Here is the latest on the trial of former Oklahoma State player Darrell Williams. On Friday, district judge Phillip Corley denied Williams a retrial on his two counts of rape by instrumentation and was sentenced to a one-year suspended sentence. Since Williams had already been in custody since July 2011, he was able to walk away a free man, with a catch: Williams must register in the state of Oklahoma as a Level 1 sex offender, which the state considers to be someone who probably won’t commit such a crime again. The defense believed they had enough evidence in Williams’ favor for a possible retrial. Now he, his family and friends are left with a bitter taste in their mouths as Williams adjusts back to society.
  3. Bob Huggins may not have been crazy about being ranked sixth in the preseason Big 12 coaches poll but methinks he’ll be feeling a lot better soon. West Virginia AD Oliver Luck revealed that the university was in the process of giving Huggy Bear a contract extension and raise. In 2008, WVU and Higgins signed an 11-year contract worth $27.5 million, with a $2.3 million salary slotted for 2012-13. Luck said the deal would be done by the end of the year. This makes all the sense in the world: He’s 59 years old, coaching at his alma mater, and winning. A lot. I’m glad the Mountaineers joined the league because now there’s room for a mini-rivalry to develop between the Mountaineers and the Kansas State Wildcats. It’s just good to have Huggins back in the league.
  4. ESPN made a change to its Big Monday announcing teamBob Knight, everyone’s favorite… something, is being replaced on Big 12 games by Fran Fraschilla paired with Brent Musburger. This move seems to be popular with everyone who cares about it, but I’ll miss Musburger-Knight for two reasons: 1) Any announcer who does a game with Knight other than Musburger seemed to be intimidated by his presence on broadcasts; and 2) Brent and Bob had kind of a Verne Lundquist-Bill Raftery thing going on. They’ve both seen tons of college hoops in their days and played well off of each other on the air. On the other hand, it’s good to have Fraschilla doing Big Monday games after being paired with Ron Franklin a few years ago.
  5. It’s no secret: Kansas is deep. And some of that depth will miss some time with an injuryZach Peters will be out for a month while he rests a rotator cuff injury. Surgery isn’t necessary in his case but he won’t be able to practice until the regular season gets underway. Again, this shouldn’t be that big of a deal considering the Jayhawks’ talent at the forward position but it’ll be crucial time missed for a freshman who may eventually become a big part of the team in the future.
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Big 12 Summer Update: Kansas Jayhawks

Posted by dnspewak on July 12th, 2012

In an effort to remind you that college basketball does in fact exist during the summer, Big 12 microsite writers Danny Spewak (@dspewak) and Jeremy Pfingsten (@jeremylp21) 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– Danny’s update on Kansas. 

Kansas Jayhawks

2011-12 Record: 32-7, 16-2 (1st place)

Fresh off a Final Four appearance and an eighth-straight season with a shared or outright Big 12 title, life is good for Bill Self. In June, he watched the Sacramento Kings draft his star forward Thomas Robinson with the fourth overall pick, and he saw Tyshawn Taylor selected in the second round. It was a banner night for his program. Plus, to help reload after the loss of those two stars and others, he made a few late additions to his 2012 freshman class by signing Milton Doyle and Anrio Adams. So all is great in Lawrence, Kansas — for the most part. There is a small developing scandal right now after prosecutors claimed an alleged drug deal gave pot to some members of the 2010-11 squad. Nobody’s talking yet, but this is a story that could drag out for awhile and may not have any immediate (or significant) effects. Still, it’s probably not the kind of thing Self envisioned himself talking about in the summer months after nearly winning a National Championship.

Jeff Withey Is Prepared To Wow People During His Senior Year

Summer Orientation: Self’s freshman class grew in numbers this summer after the signing of Doyle, a 6’4″ combo guard out of Chicago, and Adams, a 6’3″ guard from Seattle, Washington. They’re both solid additions to this six-man class, but everybody’s waiting to see how five-star stud Perry Ellis fares as a freshman. Ellis arrived in Lawrence in early June, and he’s already acclimating himself on campus by attending children’s camps and rooming with walk-on Evan Manning (Danny’s son, of course). Power forward Zach Peters is also getting used to life as a Jayhawk. He and Elijah Johnson attended a camp at nearby Washburn, and he was quoted as saying he’s already indoctrinated into the culture of Kansas basketball. The other guy in this class to keep an eye on is Andrew White, a big-time wing from Virginia. He accompanied teammates, too, at a camp for kids. If you haven’t noticed, camps are a theme for KU this summer. The fullest summer scouting report available belongs to another player in this freshman class– big man Landen Lucas. According to Jeff Withey, Lucas has already impressed him in workouts with his ability to run the floor and rebound. Also, stuck in that gray area between “newcomer” and “returnee” are two players: Jamari Traylor and Ben McLemore, who both sat out last year because of eligibility issues. McLemore has already made an impression on Bill Self this summer, whereas one writer says it’s “conceivable Traylor could have the biggest impact” of any KU newcomer. As he points out, though, closed practices haven’t allowed us to get a great glimpse just yet.

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Who’s Got Next? Jarnell Stokes Thinking College, Andrew White To Kansas & More…

Posted by Josh Paunil on December 8th, 2011

Who’s Got Next? is a weekly column by Josh Paunil, the RTC recruiting guru. We encourage you to check out his website dedicated solely to college basketball recruiting, National Recruiting Spotlight, for more detailed recruiting information. Once a week he will bring you an overview of what’s going on in the complex world of recruiting, from who is signing where among the seniors to who the hot prospects are at the lower levels of the sport. If you have any suggestions as to areas we’re missing or different things you’d like to see, please let us know at

Lead Story: Jarnell Stokes Going To College In January ‘Definitely An Option’

Jarnell Stokes Has A Lot On His Mind. (Nation of Blue)

Stokes Exploring His Options. Class of 2012 power forward Jarnell Stokes saw his chances of playing high school basketball for Southwind High School (TN) disappear last week, and this week he’s strongly considering graduating high school early and enrolling in college in January. Remember, Stokes has yet to commit and has a top six of Kentucky, Memphis, Tennessee, Arkansas, Florida and Connecticut so he’d have to commit very soon. The 6’8″, 250-pounder says he’s been preparing to attend college next semester and that he has other options available to him that he doesn’t want to reveal just yet. Four of the schools Stokes is considering — Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida and Tennessee — have athletic scholarships available for Stokes if he were to enroll in January and he could also qualify for an academic scholarship at Memphis, leaving Kentucky as the only school that he’d have to pay for. Stokes says he has no timetable right now and doesn’t know when he’s going to commit, but he’s going to have to make a decision in the next few weeks regardless of what he wants to do.

What They’re Saying

  • Senior Andrew White on committing to Kansas: “I think it was a huge opportunity there to play. I have a great relationship with the staff. They’ve been good to me.”

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