Don’t sleep on us: Big 12 sleepers

28 Oct

By Sam Duren
National Hoops Report

Who are the players that are lying under the radar to start the season? We know. Take heed of this quintet of players from the Big 12.

Michael Cobbins, 6’8 PF, Oklahoma St

Cobbins is one of only three scholarship posts for Travis Ford this year.  With bigger wings, junior J.P. Olukemi and freshman LeBryan Nash, expected to log minutes down low, the Cowboys are likely to run more.  Of the three true posts, Cobbins is the one most equipped to run.

The 6-foot-8 redshirt freshman was a consensus four-star recruit out of the class of 2010, even ranked as high as 40th nationally by  He sat out last year to add mass to his thin frame and is now up 225 pounds according Oklahoma State’s official site.

Cobbins has a long and athletic body and with a proper motor could flourish in transition play and overall as OSU’s primary rebounder.  As a high schooler, he also flashed the ability to hit mid range jumpers and could be unitized as a weapon even in the half court.

The West Texas forward entered Stillwater as a ballyhooed recruit and now as a redshirt freshman will have the chance to leave a mark on the smaller Cowboys’ roster.

Jaye Crockett, 6’7 SF, Texas Tech

Crockett is one of only three players in Lubbock with Big 12 experience and with thirteen new faces, is expected to be one of the scoring leaders for the Red Raiders.  At 6-foot-7, he has great size for a Big 12 wing and could also be one of their better rebounders to go along with his scoring punch.

He only averaged 4.8 points last year as a reserve, but the big body wing showed flashes as a redshirt freshman last year.  Crockett is also an explosive athlete and will need to use that his advantage as he becomes a primary scorer for the Red Raiders.   He needs to build on his average of only one free throw a game from last year, but with more playing time, that number should rise.

Tech is in need of a scoring leader and Crockett is one of the more experienced and talented players on the roster.  The opportunity is there for the sophomore wing and he has the talent to emerge as a leader in Lubbock.

Sam Grooms, 6’0 PG, Oklahoma
The Sooners are coming off back to back eighteen loss season and return the majority of the roster from  last year’s campaign.  One possible change for them is at the point guard spot, as JUCO transfer Sam Grooms is likely to be a starter.

The Chipola College (FL) product is a fast and bulldog like guard that fits into the up tempo style that new coach Lon Kruger wants to play in Norman.  As a sophomore at Chipola he averaged 11.9 points while handing 5.9 assists a game.

To get the most out their roster, the Sooners desperately need a playmaker at point.  With his speed floor vision and pass first nature, Grooms has the qualities of a playmaker.

He is a new face to Big 12 country and if OU is making noise come conference play, he’ll likely be the catalyst for it.

Brady Heslip, 6’2 SG, Baylor

Baylor’s front court gets most of the hype when discussing the Bears due to their collection of talented bigs.  Even when the talk turns to the back court it tends to fall on returning starter A.J. Walton, a junior, or JUCO All American, Pierre Jackson.   But neither are deadeye shooters, nor is athletic freshman Deuce Bello.

Without sharpshooting guards to spread the floor, all the size and talent Baylor has in their front court could be for nought.  This is where Heslip comes in.

Heslip transferred out of Boston College following a redshirt year as a freshman and landed in Waco.  Now after sitting out a year due to transfer rules, he is ready to make his debut as a Bear.

The 6-foot-2 Canadian native has a reputation as a three point specialist and it showed during the Bear’s August exhibition tour in Canada.  During the four games, Heslip averaged 16.7 points and blistered the nets with an average of 41.7 percent from behind the arc.

The hype for Baylor is surrounding former 5-star recruits, JUCO All Americans and experienced upperclassmen but this little Boston College transfer’s three point shooting ability could steal the show.

Kevin Young, 6’8 PF Kansas

When Young suits up for the Jayhawks in November, he will be nineteen months removed from the last time he played a competitive basketball game.  The 6-foot-8 post spent two productive season at Loyola Marymount where he racked up 62 starts, averaged 30 minutes or more each season while hauling in 405 rebounds for a career average of 6.2 a game.

The issue at Loyola Marymount is that even though he was producing on the court his production off the court slipped. His grades suffered and he eventually transferred San Bernardino Community College.

At San Bernardino he served as a student manager on their team as he sorted out his grades.  Before June of last year he was set to head to San Diego State, before having a change of heart and headed east to Lawrence.

Now Kansas fans are hoping the string bean – he’s only listed at 185 pounds on Kansas’ site – is of the jumping bean variety.  With a thin roster and a thinner front line, Young brings valuable experience and height to the Jayhawks.

Young is an unknown to many outside of Lawrence but the athletic forward is likely to change that when he starts gobbling up rebounds.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: