Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Comparison of My All-Big 12 Teams to the Official Ones and Some Predicitions Too

While anxiously awaiting the start of Iowa State's second season, I'm going to pass the time by seeing how my All-Big 12 team stacked up against the official list.

So I wasn't too far off.  Melvin Ejim won the Big 12 POY award, which is great for him and great for ISU, as well as being one of two unanimous All-Big 12 picks.  As seen in my previous projections, I would have selected DeAndre Kane for the honor.  Working for Ejim were 4 years of starting and production along with All-Academic honors.  Kane leveled off in the second half of the conference season (albeit at a very high level) and being a transfer didn't help.  Both were in my top three with Andrew Wiggins so I'll allow that the coaches made the right call.

Of the top 5, I had 4 on my list, with Marcus Smart being the only omission.  I still don't believe a player who was suspended for three games should be rewarded by making the first team, even if his numbers in the other 15 games were worthy.

Of the top 10, I had 8.  Again, pretty good in my opinion.  The two UT guys were pretty close, but I only had Marcus Foster in my honorable mention list.  After watching ISU play KSU in the tournament, he's got a ton of skill and is the best player on Kansas State.

Thirteen of our players matched on the top three teams.  Clark and Crockett got on by their names.  They're good players but I think others were more deserving.

Twenty seven players in all were honored.  My top 27 matched 23 of the coaches'.  And when you get to the end of the top 30 players, the differences are very small.

Biggest Snubs:  Kyan Anderson - I should be president (and one of few members) of this guy's fan club.  Too bad he had to go play for an historically bad Big 12 team in TCU.  That he was as successful individually as he was, on that team, is a testament to how good of a player he is.  TCU has a good coach and has shown the ability to bring in top talent with Karviar Shepherd so he might have a chance to win some games next year.

Monte Morris - He's going to set a NATIONAL record (even if a short-lived one) in assist to turnover ratio.  As a freshman.  Against a legit schedule.  Starting every game during conference play.  He wasn't one of the more heralded freshmen to enter this year.  And no he wasn't the "lead" guard for ISU, which at 6 foot makes his contributions more impressive.  His assists and steals numbers should improve, but I don't see him being in the top 20 in points (about 13 per game) so my prediction is All-Big 12 third team for him next year.

Dustin Hogue - Again, a transfer, in his case from JUCO, It was too much to ask for all 5 cyclones starters to be on this list out of only 27 players, but his case is there too.  He reminds all of us of Ejim last year, but Ejim led the league in rebounding.  Hogue can do that next year.  He'll still be the 4th or 5th scoring option for the Cyclones (behind Niang, Nader and I think Morris) which will make him more aggressive at rebounding.  Hogue leads the Big 12 in rebounding next year, and makes the All-Big 12 third team.

So at each level, I matched 80% or better.  85% or better without Smart.  I think that's pretty good!  No need to tweak my formula as I thought might be necessary earlier in the year.  

I got it right.  Or the coaches got it right.  Or we just happened to agree.  I've said this before, but the Big 12 is LOADED with talent.  From one and done freshman to multi-year transfers to JUCO transfers to graduate transfers and all the 4 year guys in between, I'd put this conference up against any in terms of talent.

And think about this, while Kansas was led by two one and done freshmen, they failed to get an impact from their transfer Talik Black.  OSU couldn't get it done with a four year guy (Brown) and a lottery pick in Smart.  Baylor the same way (Jefferson and Austin).  Fred won the Big 12 tournament championship with development (4 year player Ejim), graduate transfer Kane, JUCO transfer Hogue, recruitment in Niang and an impact freshman Monte Morris - all in the starting five.  In this one year, Hoiberg has exploited all five avenues for success for a college team.  He's managed to not only have all these players coexist, but thrive and be happy doing it. A coach with his skill set and the whole universe of college eligible players available means there is no limit to what Iowa State can achieve in the future.  They've got a pretty good opportunity in the present too :) 

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