Saturday, October 11, 2014

My 2014-15 Pre-Season All-Big 12 Basketball Team

I'd like to get this out before the official team gets released but missed it this year.  The Big 12 looks to have a lot of individual talent again this year, returning 15 of the 27 players listed on the year-end All-Big 12 teams.  Iowa State, Texas, Kansas State, Oklahoma and West Virginia all bring back talented freshman.  Only 3 of the 10 listed on the official teams are seniors, so the conference looks to have plenty of talent next year, too.

Here are my teams, based on last years' stats.

My top 10 matched 8 players on the official teams.  The differences were Anderson (this is the last year you'll have to hear about him from me!) and Monte, with Foster and Nash replacing them.  

My feelings on Anderson are well known.  If there's a player I feel bad for, it's him.  He's in the same vein of do-everything Big 12 guards like Staten and Kane last year.  Trent Johnson is a good coach and unlike other teams that are out-matched every game, TCU keeps playing hard.  They picked up a good player in Karviar Sheppard before last year and would seem to have the same built-in recruiting advantages that Baylor has - proximity to the DFW market and a Christian school.  A couple things going against it are a terrible basketball arena and really, really poor fan support.  It wouldn't surprise me to see TCU build something within the Big 12 but if they can't make the first step (8th or better finish) this year before Anderson leaves, they could be really bad for a while.

Monte was undervalued last year in the postseason awards.  He was 5th in assists and 7th in steals while playing the 9th most minutes in conference play.  This year, I'd expect his assists to improve since he should handle the ball more with the change of Kane to BDJ in the backcourt.  His steals may improve too.  If the backcourt provides the rim protection as advertised, it will allow more defensive gambling around the perimeter.

Foster was a good freshman last year, scoring a bunch of points.  He'll have to add more to his game to make the first team post-season.  LeBryan Nash is my pick this year for player most likely to underwhelm.  Last year was preseason first team pick Eron Harris.  If there's a second guy I might feel bad for it would be Nash.  He's shown no progress to this point in college, if anything maybe some regression.  As a top 10 overall recruit, he should have been in the NBA a couple years ago, and is now looking like a second round pick.  Most other coaches would be able to take advantage of his physical gifts but not Travis Ford.  

I'm surprised neither of the big recruits made the list, Cliff Alexander or Myles Turner.  Every year since I've been following, there's been a freshman make the first team.  Both these guys were top 10 recruits.  I expect both of them to make at least third team (and then go pro). 

All three of the new ISU players have a shot at post season honors.  I was glad to see BDJ make newcomer of the year.  It's about time people start recognizing what Hoiberg is doing with transfers.  Post-season, I'd expect BDJ to be second team, at least, with McKay and Nader having a shot at honorable mention.  

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