KU AD: KU vs Mizzou pregame notes
5. Thomas Robinson now has 15 double-doubles in 22 games. Is there anybody in the game who plays harder night in, night out?
DeCourcy: With the contagion of soft play among college big men — it’s spreading so quickly, Steven Soderberg should make his next movie about the epidemic — Robinson gives hope for all mankind.
Kansas at Missouri. It’s a rivalry that started in 1907 and has brewed hatred ever since. Now, with the Tigers off to the Southeastern Conference, this game holds another meaning. It may be the final Border Showdown played in Columbia, Mo.
…Obscenities will fly through the air. Students clad in black and gold will boom with noise. Two teams, both fast, athletic, and hungry for a Big 12 title, will dance in Columbia one last time.
“There’s nothing more fun, in my opinion,” Self said, “than beating Missouri.”
So, did the Antlers, the maniacal Missouri students famous for unearthing the guarded phone numbers of Kansas University basketball players, get their hands on Thomas Robinson’s digits?
“No,” Robinson said. “I gave ‘em Merv’s number, so I’m pretty good.”
That would be Merv Lindsay, the seldom-used freshman forward. Presumably, Robinson was joking.
Efforts to rattle Robinson won’t stop at students trying to wake him up. The Mizzou Arena crowd will send a relentless stream of verbal bullets his way to see if they can throw him off his game. He plans to let them bounce off his chest.
“I know going to Mizzou is going to be the most testing situation I’ll have, probably in my career,” Robinson said. “Those fans are pretty rough on us. I mean, we’re the opposing team. All the odds are against us, but I want to get this ‘W,’ so I’m not letting anybody in that gym, stadium state, anything, start me. It is what it is. They can say what they want. We’ve got to get this ‘W.’”
Robinson has dealt with more than verbal darts from opponents looking to derail his focus. He repeatedly takes karate chops to the arm, shoves in the back, endless searches to spark the fuse that lights his temper. It used to work. He’s done a terrific job of not letting foes see him sweat from all the shots. Robinson did get tagged with a technical against Ohio State and another at Texas, but his composure definitely has come a long way.
…He’s not naive about what awaits him in Columbia.
“I’m on Twitter, so I see it all,” Robinson said.
And hears nothing.
“In the gym, as crazy as it sounds, you really don’t hear it because you’re in the game, man,” he said. “You’re not listening to the crowd, listening to what they’re saying. If you do, you won’t be any good, trust me. The only person I saw who did that was Sherron (Collins).”
Robinson doesn’t need to hear that garbage. He just needs the ball delivered on target, on time.
“To me it’s disappointing and sad you have a great rivalry like this that could basically be ended,” Self said. “It’s no one’s fault. We are not blaming Missouri. They chose to be somewhere else. They felt it was best for their school to be in another league. Nebraska did the same thing last year. Colorado did the same thing. Texas A&M did the same thing.
“What is a little unfortunate, those schools (MU, A&M) made moves this year when our league is on the most solid footing it’s ever been on. They chose to think the grass is greener somewhere else and it may be. That’s their prerogative. When you make certain decisions like that, there are certain things that happen behind those decisions that’s affected. This (fact it likely is last game in Columbia) certainly adds adrenaline to an already very competitive situation because kids on both teams are prideful. Fans are prideful. There’s more talk about it that translates and falls down to the players’ level as well.”
Self, by the way, is 17-3 all-time against Missouri — 14-3 as KU coach. Frank Haith has yet to coach a game versus the Jayhawks.
“I think it’s definitely more important than other games. Kansas-Missouri ... that alone makes it more important,” said KU senior Tyshawn Taylor. “It’s probably the last time we’re going to play against them (at MU). They are going in a different conference.”
Taylor cut a joke when asked what the Jayhawks think when the team bus crosses the border and sees the “Welcome to Missouri” sign.
“We do the thumbs-down sign,” he said.. “No ... it’s not that serious. This rivalry goes back before we even know. We take on that role of not really liking those guys. In a competitive sport we play in it’s going to be like that. We’re going to take this ride to Missouri and enjoy every minute of it. We are going to embrace their crowd, embrace the fans. We are going to go there and just play.”
“We Are Mizzou” — a music video about… well, I’m still not quite sure — is full of moronic frat-boy buffoonery and terrible lyrics, the intelligible ones mostly being about Kansas’ inferiority.
Naturally, the fine students at the University of Kansas offered a rebuttal on Tuesday afternoon. Their parody video, fittingly entitled “We Are KU,” tears apart the original in convincing (and hilarious) fashion. The basketball jersey-clad undergrads take several digs at Mizzou, including a laissez-faire mention of the two schools’ Final Four appearance ratio (13-0, Kansas).
Examples of bad blood are evident on both campuses. The "Jayhawk Roast" is a biannual tradition at Mizzou dining halls before games against Kansas in football and basketball. Students at Kansas sing the lyrics, "Got a bill that's strong enough / to twist a Tiger's tail," in the school's fight song during every game, not just ones against Missouri.
Needless to say, the MU-KU rivalry runs deeper than the gridiron or the hardwood. And it’s too bad it’s coming to a close.
…When I visited MU during my senior year of high school, I heard more about why Kansas fails as an institution than why Missouri succeeds, never mind whether the conversation was focused on academics or club hockey.
A systematized style of play has gotten Missouri to a prime-time tussle with the top standing of the Big 12 on the line. In the way of the Tigers’ continued chase of program history stands their nemesis, Kansas, led by player of the year headliner Thomas Robinson, whom Haith likens to “a warrior.”
Robinson’s 6-foot-10-inch, 237-pound frame will appear mammoth compared to that of senior guard Kim English, whose year-long transition to the forward position will be under full display against the country’s third-best rebounder averaging a double-double.
“Preparation is huge,” English said after practice, wearing a sweat-drenched grey sleeveless shirt with black and gold letters spelling "WHATEVER IT TAKES" on his chest. “I won’t fail to prepare.”
English said the outside anticipation had the feel of a football week on campus. But from inside the program, he said it was just another preparation week.
He sounds like he's taken his coach's words to heart: it's a big game, but only because it's the next game.
“I don't want to sound like (I’m saying) it’s just another game,” Haith said of the rivalry bout. “I mean, I know it’s not just another game… It’s a big game for top teams in the country and you have a chance on the national spotlight to represent.”
To freshman Nate Smith, however, the importance of the game was enough to bring him to living with a couple friends outside the event doors on Thursday. Their tents were up by 1:30 p.m.
The last time Missouri beat Kansas was in 2009, and Smith was watching the game at his grandmother’s house when Zaire Taylor shot-faked, dribbled right and shot with two seconds on the clock to lift his team 62-60.
“It was one of the best moments ever,” Smith said. “It didn’t matter what the atmosphere was. We beat Kansas.”
And here he was, waiting for it to happen again.
Missouri coach Frank Haith warmed to the task of explaining how 6-foot-6 senior Kim English has been able to hold his own as an undersized small forward.
“He’s prepared himself each game in terms of who he has to guard, what he has to do to be successful in that particular game,” Haith said. “He has been unbelievable in allowing himself to have success going against bigger
So far, English has:
• Grabbed eight rebounds and scored eight points against an Illinois team that featured 7-1 Meyers Leonard.
• Pulled down six rebounds and scored eight points against a Texas team that featured 6-10 Clint Chapman.
• Scored 23 points and got a season-high nine rebounds against an Oklahoma team that featured two 6-8 forwards that came closer to English’s size.
But on Saturday night at Mizzou Arena, English will face his toughest task of No. 4-ranked Mizzou’s 20-2 season.
How English fares in playing against Kansas’ 6-10 Thomas Robinson and 7-foot Jeff Withey may be what decides which side wins this penultimate basketball Border War.
“You’re talking about two guys that are much taller, much bigger and stronger,” Haith said. “He will have to do a terrific job.”
That said, Haith noted on Thursday that English will provide matchup problems for Robinson and Withey as well.
“Those guys have got to guard him on the other end too,” Haith said.
That will mean guarding English out on the wings, in the corners, at the top of the key.
“We have some stuff that we do,” Haith said, “when we think he’s being guarded by a much bigger guy that may not be used to guarding him on the perimeter in terms of some sets.”
…“We play the way we play,” Haith said of the game plan against KU. “I don’t think we do anything differently.”
It’s the first time Kansas and Missouri will meet with first place on the line since 2009.
“We’re looking at it like we’re playing on the road and we need to get a road win,” Taylor said. “In that respect, it’s another conference game that we need to win.”
The matchup at Mizzou Arena will be the 14th time the schools have played when both are ranked in the top 10, and if not for the Jayhawks’ loss at Iowa State over the weekend, it would be the third time that they’ve played as top five foes; the Tigers won both of those meetings.
Kansas coach Bill Self has been around for enough of the games to know how important the outcome is to both schools, especially with the Tigers headed for the SEC after this season.
“How many times we played there? Eight? And we’ve won how many? 5-3?” Self asked. “I’ve got five favorite games and three that are very, very unpopular in my historical memory.”
That’s a pretty good illustration of the passion that courses through the rivalry.
…Even though Mizzou Arena will be packed to capacity with more than 15,000 fans — courtside seats were fetching more than $500 on the secondary market Thursday — the volume of noise actually can make it easier for an opposing team to operate. Individual comments are drowned by the wall of sound, which Self believes can allow a team to focus better in the heat of competition.
“If it’s loud, you don’t hear anything. Seriously,” he said. “I don’t think what people say or those sorts of things will have any bearing on the game.”
In fact, Taylor said he wants the environment to be hostile.
“I’m thinking it’s going to be pretty rough down there, and it should be. They’re a top five team, a rival,” he said. “I’d be disappointed if there wasn’t a good crowd in there."
Even though Baylor was taller at every position, Missouri beat the then-No. 3 Bears in Waco, Texas on Jan. 21.
The Tigers face that same problem this weekend against a tall Kansas team. In those types of games, senior forward Ricardo Ratliffe has shown his toughness by hustling down court to get position on offense and by making sure his opponents don't get rebounds.
"Sometimes you might have to keep driving them out and not try to get the rebound," Ratliffe said. "Just make sure they don't get the rebound. That's probably gonna be my game plan for a player like (Kansas forward) Thomas Robinson."
What Missouri lacks in size, its guards make up for in speed. The Tigers force 9.3 steals per game, ninth in the country, and their 1.5 assist-turnover ratio ranks second.
Their quickness and in-your-face defense makes them not only a tough team, but also an exciting team to watch.
“I don’t see it as a matchup problem, because I think I have the ability to contain (English), at least stay in front of him,” Robinson said. “He has to check me on the other end.”
KU does have the option to go small, though it could mean sacrificing some offense. Kevin Young provides more versatility as a combo forward, and the Jayhawks could play a four-guard lineup with Conner Teahan off the bench.
With KU’s limited depth, though, there aren’t many other choices.
“This year, we don’t have as many options,” Self said.
The tactical question for Missouri’s Frank Haith is how to counteract KU’s size. Self expects the Tigers to try a variety of tactics, including some zone.
“One way they can combat some things is to make sure their big, Ratliffe, is able to stay in the middle of the zone so he’s always playing between the post man and the basket,” Self said. “That’s one thing they can do, but I don’t know if that’s what they want to do the entire game.”
Pressure, however, is on the Tigers. When games are big beyond proportion, which this one will be for Missouri, the result doesn’t always favor the team that needs it most. And, at home, a game behind the Jayhawks in the Big 12 race, the Tigers need it most.
"Can they overcome a lack of size and lack of depth?" Bilas asked. "I think they can. If this was a team in the Missouri Valley Conference, we'd be celebrating them as to how incredible they are because they're so small and have little depth. I want to tell you that this is a fabulous team. I'm lucky that I don't have to pay to watch teams play, but I would pay to watch this team play."
OK, Jay, but can we get back to their weaknesses?
"I like that they're unbelievably fast, they get up and down the floor and play at different paces," he said. "They have done a really good job of getting odd matchups in their favor. If they have a size disadvantage, to them it's not a size disadvantage, it's a quickness advantage, it's a spacing advantage. Because they can shoot so well and drive it, they can run (different offensive sets) ... there's not a spot on the floor that you don't need to guard. As good as (fifth-ranked) North Carolina is — one of the best five or six teams in the country — there are guys on Carolina you don't have to guard. You don't have to guard Kendall Marshall because he can't hurt you from the 3-point line. There are five guys for Mizzou that can kill you from any spot on the floor."
OK, Jay, but they're short. Really short. And they play only seven guys. And did I mention how short they are?
"I know," said Bilas. "But they're very unselfish. Like I said, they give up the good shot for the great shot and because of that, I think all of those guys seem to know instinctively that if they give it up, they'll get it back."
But they're short. They have no depth. And they're short.
"I think they can win the whole thing," Bilas said. "I don't think there's a team out there that they can't beat. Now they're subject to the same things that every other team is this time of the year. You run into a night when you're missing open shots and you're subject to get beat, but I like their chances."
Yeah, yeah, yeah, but they're ...
Oh, never mind.
St Louis PD
Which makes this Border War a battle of wills. Kansas likes its run-out opportunities, but its bread-and-butter is playing inside out in the half-court set, with the ball going through its big men.
The Tigers also have relished its transition opportunities and may be the nation’s best passing and most unselfish team. The ball always seems to find an open shooter.
“They’ve been fun to watch offensively,” Self said.
Matchups are one of a myriad of factors to consider. The Tigers’ occasional zone defense was effective Monday at Texas, especially on the Longhorns’ final possession, and Kansas has been average at best against zone defenses lately.
Neither team is deep, but the Tigers bring off the bench Mike Dixon, who had 21 at Texas. With foul trouble as a threat, especially for Kansas, does that give Mizzou more incentive to attack?
Then there’s the atmosphere in Mizzou Arena, which figures to reach frenzied heights with ESPN’s GameDay in the house, and with this as the Jayhawks’ last Columbia appearance as a conference brother.
Robinson says he’s knows what to expect. “I’m on Twitter,” he said.
Guard Tyshawn Taylor believes the Jayhawks will relish the moment.
“We’re going to take this ride to Missouri and enjoy every minute of it,” Taylor said. “We’re going to embrace the crowd and their fans. This is why we came to Kansas, to play in games like this.”
Sixty years ago Jan. 12, Shelbyville High's Norm Stewart went to his first major-college basketball game as part of a trip to see the University of Missouri.
Top-ranked Kansas was MU's opponent at Brewer Fieldhouse, where Stewart later got his perpetual-motion coaching style dodging pigeon droppings.
The game remains vivid to Stewart, who recalled MU leading KU 59-58 late with the ball but losing after a traveling call.
"Dean Kelley hit a jump shot from the right-hand side, on the Moberly end of Brewer Fieldhouse," said Stewart, speaking from his winter home in Palm Springs, Calif. "I can still see the ball hit the left rim, hit the backboard and come back through, and Kansas won 60-59, I believe."
It did, en route to a national championship.
That was the beginning of Stewart's nearly five decades immersed in MU basketball, appropriately enough entwined from the start with Kansas — Mizzou's principal adversary since long before even the 77-year-old Stewart's time.
"Unfortunately, it's based on (Civil War) history," he said.
Stewart chuckled when asked about his own emphasis on the rivalry during his 32-year tenure, which began in 1967.
"Well, I saw that if you could beat Kansas in football, you could keep your job. And if you didn't, you couldn't keep your job," he said. "It wasn't quite that much in basketball, but it was considered beneficial if you could beat them once in a while."
But perhaps surprisingly to those who followed the career of Stormin' Norman, there was a distinct absence of malice as he reflected on the series that will be played out for the 266th time overall — and last scheduled in Columbia — on Saturday when the fourth-ranked Tigers play host to No. 8 Kansas amid the hoopla of ESPN's "College GameDay.''
In fact, his tone was downright conciliatory as he considered that the future of the series is in jeopardy as Mizzou prepares to leave the Big 12 for the SEC.
Not that he wasn't conscious of some bad blood over the years, going back even to the year before Stewart arrived when Kansas' Clyde Lovellette was thought to have stomped on MU's Win Wilfong.
Never mind that Wilfong later was reported to say he didn't think Lovelette meant to step on him and added, "He's a swell fellow. I'm sorry it happened."
That episode still lurked, and Stewart suggested the Kansas football forfeit in 1960 after beating then-No. 1 Missouri "riled up everything again" and led to a basketball brawl at Brewer in 1961.
Yet those were just "two black eyes" over several generations to Stewart, who seems to treasure the game and acknowledge that he perhaps added some theater to the cause.
For instance, the notion he never spent any money in Lawrence was a myth, albeit one he played up.
The legend sprouted early in his head coaching career, shortly after he'd had occasion to visit with then-Missouri Lt. Gov. William Morris.
"We were talking about bids from the university going out of state, and he said if a person is manufacturing in the state of Missouri, he should get first consideration, and if it's close, he ought to get the bid," he said. "We were just visiting about that, and I really wasn't very interested at that time.
"I was 32-33 years old, I was just trying to win a damn ballgame, and I wasn't interested in who was getting the bids except for my tennis shoes: My tennis shoes were going to some damned place in Illinois. And I wanted a local guy to have that."
With a laugh, he added: "Now a game comes up, and I'm over at Kansas, and the reporter says, `I noticed you didn't stay in Lawrence, you stayed over in Kansas City.' Well, it popped in my mind what the Lieutenant Governor had told me, and so I said,`Why, hell no, I'm not staying in Lawrence. I'm not spending a damn dime over here. This is Missouri money.'
"You know, hell, it wasn't really true, but it was something you could play on. And if you guys really asked a good question, then I could avoid it."
Former Kansas coach Ted Owens, against whom Stewart had plenty of dustups, was among the first to call when Stewart's granddaughter died in a car accident in 2009. And Stewart says he still has the rocking chair KU presented him in a ceremony at Allen Fieldhouse a year after he retired.
"The idea was instead of going to every school, well, my association started at Kansas, and Roy (Williams, KU's coach) said, 'You ought to come over here,'" said Stewart, recalling standing with Williams before the event. "It turned out a lot of people on each side did not like (the idea). I told Roy before the game, 'Let's don't stand too close together.'
"He said, `Why not?'
"So, they can't get us with one shot."
As it happens — brace yourselves, MU fans — Stewart even took a recruiting trip to Lawrence, Kan.
In a parallel universe somewhere, perhaps Stewart even became a Jayhawk.
After all, someone in Shelbyville had a nephew who was a student at Kansas, and somehow word got to basketball coach Phog Allen that they should bring him in for a look.
"So they did, and I drove to Lawrence, Kansas, for my trip, and that's how my association started with them," Stewart said.
...As a player, assistant coach and head coach, Stewart directly was involved in 1,127 of the 2,151 games in MU history when he retired in 1999.
Eight-eight of those were against Kansas, nearly a third of the games played in the MU-KU series, with Mizzou winning 37 of them.
Stewart was 30-34 in regular-season games against Kansas as Missouri's head coach and 5-1 as a player, making him 35-35 in those roles (not counting a 1-9 record in tournament games against KU as a player and head coach).
"So I can talk to you about winning, and I can also talk to you about losing, equally, and I'll try to be unbiased," he said, laughing.
With so many games and moments to choose from, Stewart was a scan button of memories over the years going back to his playing days, when he scored 133 points in eight games against KU, and to his first game as a head coach playing at KU.
KU went ahead 66-65 on free throws with 2 seconds left only to foul Mizzou's Tom Johnson on the inbound pass.
"No time on the clock, he made two, and we won," Stewart said.
As the clock apparently is running out on the series, Stewart is less emotionally invested than he was when it was his livelihood.
…"I'm watching the negotiations, and when you let three things come into play, you don't get good negotiations," he said. "Fear, anger and panic, and that's the order they come in, when you let that enter in, you don't get good negotiations. ...
"I really understand why Kansas would not want to play Missouri if we're not in the conference. I really would understand that. I hope Missouri people do, too, because if you don't, then you're never going to play.
"And you've got to see why they don't want to play, and then try to just present a case where it is a great rivalry."]
St Louis PD
KC Star photos: Border War Hoops
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Good read on the legacy of the Dougherty family in Leavenworth, KS
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Big 12/College News
Big 12 Schedule & Results
No. 8 Kansas, No. 9 Michigan State Call these the good coaching picks. I'm a big believer that when Bill Self has a decent team and time to prepare for an opponent, he's one of the hardest coaches in the country to beat. My theory is going to be put to a severe test in the coming days, as the Jayhawks take on Missouri and Baylor on the road in consecutive games, but I believe this is the best team in the Big 12.
…No. 4 Missouri Definitely not the fourth-best team in the country, but the Tigers have proven themselves recently with road wins at Baylor and Texas. I sense a loss on Saturday against the Jayhawks, but they should be able to fight their way through the rest of the Big 12 schedule without much blood loss.
No. 6 Baylor The Bears are a quintessential all-talent-no-system team. When the undefeated season ended with back-to-back losses against Kansas and Missouri, I thought the collapse was on. Three straight wins ensued instead, but the last two were narrow escapes against unranked teams. Baylor cannot protect the glass, in part because of its zone defense, and when guards Pierre Jackson and Brady Heslip are contained, the three great big men become hapless and vulnerable. With a trap game against Oklahoma State this Saturday, and then another Kansas-Missouri double, three straight losses could send Baylor far out of the top 10 and into a spiral.
Grantland: Which ranked teams are poised to collapse?
Jason King: The Big 12 race intrigues me most. It’s a three-team affair, and I honestly can’t decide which is better between Baylor, Missouri and Kansas. I thought it was the Tigers, but then they lost to a dreadful Oklahoma State team. Then I switched to the Jayhawks, but then they were upset by Iowa State. Baylor has already lost to both schools, but there’s no shame in falling at Allen Fieldhouse, and the Bears have bounced back nicely from the Mizzou defeat by winning three straight. Baylor is clearly the most talented team, but I’m not sure that even matters. I expect there to be a three-way tie for first when Kansas visits Waco on Feb. 8.
I received a few questions via twitter and e-mail yesterday from readers asking if there was any chance the Big 12 Conference will punish Kansas State basketball coach Frank Martin for the critical comments he made of the officiating crew following a 72-70 loss at Iowa State on Tuesday.
The answer: Maybe.
According to Rob Carolla, the Big 12′s Director of Communications who works closely with all the men’s basketball teams, interim commissioner Chuck Neinas is aware of the situation and will take a look Martin’s comments to decide if he violated the conference’s sportsmanship policy. If Neinas doesn’t think he did, there will be no penalty.
If Neinas thinks he did, his options include handing Martin a private reprimand, a public reprimand, a fine or a suspension.
Anything more severe than a private reprimand will be announced on the conference’s website.
With seven weeks to go before the 68-team NCAA men's basketball tournament tips off, the selection wheels are turning.
Coaches weigh in this week. Kansas' Bill Self, Villanova's Jay Wright and Washington's Lorenzo Romar are part of a 31-man advisory committee due to submit ballots Friday, ranking what each deems as the top 15 teams in his region.
The panel already has voted once, in early January, and will vote a final time in early March, lending coaching input into the NCAA's tournament selection committee's deliberations.
A few related items of interest as March draws closer:
There are better college basketball conferences than the Big 12 in 2011-12.
But there are none more entertaining.
The Big 12 has three of the nation’s top eight teams, and of the conference’s 10 teams, nine are capable of beating good teams.
The league title will likely come down to No. 8 Kansas, which is atop the conference standings at 7-1, No. 4 Missouri and No. 6 Baylor. The Tigers and Bears are half-game back of Kansas at 7-2 in the Big 12 standings. No conference has a trio of teams more fun to watch than Kansas, Missouri and Baylor.
Outside of North Carolina, Kansas has the best inside-outside duo in the country with Thomas Robinson, who is averaging 17.5 points and 11.8 rebounds per game and point guard Tyshawn Taylor, who scores 16.5 points and hands out 5.2 assists per night.
Missouri is arguably the best shooting team in the country. The Tigers shoot 49.8 percent from the field, including Ricardo Ratliffe’s nation-leading 75.1 percent, 37.7 percent from behind the 3-point arc and 77.7 percent from the foul line. Mizzou has four players who shoot very well from deep, including Kim English, who is shooting 49.5 from the 3-point line, and Marcus Denmon, who is fourth in the Big 12 at 17.2 points per game.
There’s not a team in the nation that can match Baylor’s athletic big men. Perry Jones III is a 6-11 forward who can run, jump, handle and shoot. Quincy Miller — a 6-9 freshman — is athletic and has a soft touch. Six-foot-10 forward Anthony Jones can light it up from the 3-point line, and 6-7 senior Quincy Acy is a dunking machine. Throw in junior college-transfer point guard Pierre Jackson and sharp-shooting Brady Heslip, and the Bears are among the most fun teams to watch in the country.
What sets the Big 12 apart, though, is that it has another six teams that can play spoilers. Iowa State, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Texas and Texas A&M will likely play as big a role as the Big 3 in determining the conference champion.
News & Tribune
Mary Persons junior Brannen Greene is the service’s pick for top junior in Georgia. The 6-foot-7 guard already has committed to Kansas. He’s ranked as the 35th best player in the country in his class by Rivals and 12th overall according to ESPN.com.
Jones County forward Jarquez Smith is right behind Greene as Rivals’ No. 2 player in Georgia. Smith, a 6--9 junior who is ranked 68th nationally, has offers from Florida State, Georgia and Georgia Tech, according to Rivals.
South Shore (NYC) High School guard Terrence Samuel is one of the most intriguing prospects in the Class of 2013 nationally. The powerfully built 6-foot-3, 195-pound guard began to make a name for himself nationally helping New Heights AAU to five impressive tournament titles on the spring and summer AAU circuit.
The attention in his talents has continued into his junior season with South Shore and his recruitment has expanded. Some of the new schools that have become involved has been the highlight of his season so far.
“Highlight [of the season is] picking up [recruiting interest from] Kansas and Memphis,” Samuel told NBE Basketball Report over the weekend.
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Check here for the NCAA Recruiting Calendar
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