Tag Archives: Sam Duren

Projecting the Big 12

19 Oct

By Sam Duren
National Hoops Report

The Big 12 enters into the first season of 10 basketball teams, a strange place to be for one of the most successful and entertaining leagues of hoop over the last decade. How will the league play out? The National Hoops Report gives a swing at predicting the league. Continue reading

Inside the Big 12: Oct. 7

7 Oct

By Sam Duren
National Hoops Report

Big 12 conference realignment continues to play out like a bad day time television soap opera. The twist and turns are as rampant as the wild speculation that follows it.
Just when things appeared to be settling down for the Big 12 a few weeks ago – Oklahoma and Texas pledged their allegiance to the conference – Missouri decided to stretch their legs.  The news of the Tigers’ discontent has lead to constant questions of “Will they or won’t they leave for the SEC”?

Today though, amidst all the speculation and posturing by universities, there was tangible news: Texas Christian University was extended an invitation to the Big 12.

Now all signs point that the Horned Frogs will accept the bid and join the Big 12.   After nearly eighteen months of defections and squabbling, the Big 12 has actually took a step forward with the addition of a new school to the conference.

The addition of TCU is a good move for the overall Big 12 but it also continues to drive home a solemn point for hoops fans: football is driving this train and basketball is simply along for the ride.

The Horned Frogs are fresh off a season that included a fourteen game in-conference losing streak.  They haven’t been to the NCAA tournament since 1998 and only have seven NCAA tournament appearances total.  Their arena (Daniel-Meyer Coliseum) will also hold 3,000 less people (7,201) than the next smallest arena in the Big 12.

TCU basketball has struggled to be competitive in the Mountain West versus the likes of UNLV, BYU, etc.  Now they will be trading those games for trips to Lawrence, Kansas and Austin, Texas.  At this point it looks like they only thing they will be adding to the conference is automatic wins for the top tier teams.

There is a silver lining in this cloud though for TCU.  Now that they’re in a high major conference and have access to the prestige that comes with it, they have a chance to follow the model of two of their rivals to the south.

When the 2000s began Baylor and Texas A&M were consistently found at the bottom of the Big 12 standings in basketball.  Both programs were on proverbial life support.

For the 2005-06 season Baylor was banned from playing all non-conference games following the violations of the Dave Bliss era.  Four seasons later and Scott Drew had Baylor in the Elite Eight, complete with NBA lottery pick Ekpe Udoh.   Drew has also brought in three consecutive top ten national players (Perry Jones 2010, Quincy Miller 2011 & Isiah Austin 2012).

A&M has had a similar rise after also bottoming out.  Their 2003-2004 season has the distinction of being the only Big 12 team to ever go winless in conference, with an 0-16 mark.  Since then they have won no less that twenty games with five consecutive NCAA tournament appearances.

A&M and Baylor both rose from the ashes and have reached the top half of the Big 12 pecking order in recent years.  One of the biggest keys in the revival of both programs has been the development of top basketball talent in the state of Texas in recent years.  Despite their programs’ history they were able to get instate talent to buy in and were able to rebuild their programs.

By becoming a Big 12 school TCU will now have more access to the rich recruiting ground that is the state of Texas.  With the right man at the helm, it’s not inconceivable to see them changing the culture of TCU and becoming competitive in the Big 12.

Preseason Conference Awards

On the heels of the conference expansion news, the Big 12 also released their preseason honors on Thursday.

The Big 12 is coming off a year in which only five of the seventeen players that were named to the 2010-11 All Big 12 teams return.  With the high turnover of players the conference is in need of new star power.

The preseason awards have placed the part of the star power responsibility onto Baylor sophomore Perry Jones.   Jones was named the Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year after being a member of the All Big 12 second team last year.  The 6 foot 10 forward’s freshman numbers do compare favorable to another recent Big 12 post player who skipped out on being a likely lottery choice to return to school: Blake Griffin of Oklahoma.

As a freshman Jones averaged 13.9 points, 7.2 rebounds, while shooting 54.9% from the field in 33.9 minutes a night. Those numbers are similar to Griffin’s 14.7 points, 9.1 rebounds, 56.8% field goal percentage and 28.4 minutes a game from his freshman year.  Griffin of course followed up his freshman campaign with an outstanding sophomore season in which he was the consensus National Player of the Year

By being awarded the Big 12 Preseason Newcomer of the Year, Royce White saw his legend continue to grow.  White was a five star recruit in the class of 2009 and signed with Minnesota.  After legal troubles forced him out of Minnesota, before ever playing a game, the 6-foot-8 big man transferred to Iowa State and sat out the 2010-11 season.

This summer the hype around White grew as he averaged a triple double in YMCA Capital City League, a Des Moines-area summer league.  His summer league performances caused one Iowa State family to gain national attention by proclaiming that White will be the best player in school history.

The sophomore forward has yet to play a game of collegiate basketball but he already has a mystic about him in Iowa: as he is the key to a possible Cyclone basketball resurgence.

The Big 12 Preseason Freshman of the Year was awarded Oklahoma State’s Lebryan Nash.  Nash was a top ten national player out of high school and is the headliner recruit of Travis Ford’s tenure in Stillwater.  After missing out of the NCAA tournament last year, much of the Cowboys’ tournament hopes rely on the young freshman to have a similar impact as previous Big 12 freshmen Kevin Durant (2006-07) and Michael Beasley (Kansas St 2007-2008).

Bowers lost for the year

The Missouri Tigers suffered a setback as senior forward Laurence Bowers will miss the 2011-12 season with a torn ACL.  Bowers was coming off a junior season in which in he was honorable mention All Big 12 and was picked to the All Big 12 defensive team.

The Tigers were already thin up front with only four scholarship bigs on the roster before the injury.  Now they will have to lean more on senior Steve Moore, a career reserve, and redshirt freshman Kadeem Green.   Another option for new coach Frank Haith will be to go with a four guard lineup with 6 foot 6 senior Kim English playing minutes at the four spot.

Missouri returned one of the most experienced teams in the Big 12 in a young Big 12 and were expected to be among the Big 12 title contenders.  The loss of Bowers cast some doubt on that but they do still posses one of the elite backcourts of the Big 12, anchored by preseason All American candidate Marcus Denmon.

The Big 12’s future in hoops

22 Sep

By Sam Duren
National Hoops Report

Just a few days ago, the Big 12’s future was bleak. Texas A&M was officially out the door to the SEC, Missouri seemed likely to follow. Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech looked ready to help form a mega conference, the PAC 16.

Late Tuesday night that all changed, as the PAC 12 announced there would be no expansion for the time being. Also, it was found out that the rumors that Missouri’s held an offer from the SEC were just that, rumors.

A&M is still out the door but the nine remaining Big 12 teams look ready to give it ready one more go and stay together. The two most important pillars, Oklahoma and Texas, are now committed to the Big 12 after being rejected by the PAC 12.

With the league at nine teams now, following back to back years of defections, the conference is now looking to expand. The Big East looks vulnerable after already losing two teams to the ACC (Pittsburgh and Syracuse) with the possibility of more to leave as well. There are also a few mid majors that look ready for the jump to a major conference. Continue reading

GASO: Get Smart

12 Jul

Marcus Smart was a hot prospect at the Great American Shoot Out last week.

By Sam Duren
National Hoops Report

Marcus Smart is a player who “gets it” on the court.  He plays with an intensity that few players in the nation match and is the type of player who will do whatever it takes for his team to succeed.

Now college coaches are all trying to get Smart’s signature on a letter of intent.  During this past weekend’s Great American Shooutout, the 6-foot-4 guard drew some of the largest crowds of not only spectators but of college coaches as well.   Continue reading

Summer school: Texas A&M

12 Jul

By Sam Duren
National Hoops Report

With the July recruiting period right around the corner, college coaches are shifting their focus to recruiting. The July period marks the first time coaches can see high school players in person against equal level competition. What’s going on in the Big 12? The National Hoops Report will take a look at the recruiting landscape of all of the teams in the conference. Today, we look at Texas A&M. Continue reading

Summer school: Texas

7 Jul

By Sam Duren
National Hoops Report

With the July recruiting period right around the corner, college coaches are shifting their focus to recruiting. The July period marks the first time coaches can see high school players in person against equal level competition. What’s going on in the Big 12? The National Hoops Report will take a look at the recruiting landscape of all of the teams in the conference. Today, we look at Texas. Continue reading

Summer school: Oklahoma State

6 Jul

By Sam Duren
National Hoops Report

With the July recruiting period right around the corner, college coaches are shifting their focus to recruiting. The July period marks the first time coaches can see high school players in person against equal level competition. What’s going on in the Big 12? The National Hoops Report will take a look at the recruiting landscape of all of the teams in the conference. Today, we look at Oklahoma State. Continue reading

Summer School: Missouri

30 Jun

By Sam Duren
National Hoops Report

With the July recruiting period right around the corner, college coaches are shifting their focus to recruiting. The July period marks the first time coaches can see high school players in person against equal level competition. What’s going on in the Big 12? The National Hoops Report will take a look at the recruiting landscape of all of the teams in the conference. Today, we look at Missouri. Continue reading

Summer school: Kansas State

22 Jun

By Sam Duren
National Hoops Report

With the July recruiting period right around the corner, college coaches are shifting their focus to recruiting. The July period marks the first time coaches can see high school players in person against equal level competition. What’s going on in the Big 12? The National Hoops Report will take a look at the recruiting landscape of all of the teams in the conference. Today, we look at Kansas State.  Continue reading

Summer school: Baylor

22 Jun

By Sam Duren
National Hoops Report

With the July recruiting period right around the corner, college coaches are shifting their focus to recruiting. The July period marks the first time coaches can see high school players in person against equal level competition. What’s going on in the Big 12? The National Hoops Report will take a look at the recruiting landscape of all of the teams in the conference. We start with Baylor. Continue reading