2009-2010 Big 12 Preview

Posted on 24. Sep, 2009 by Nolan Shulman in Conference Previews, NCAA

While many of the other BCS conferences lost a lot of their star power to the NBA draft, the Big Twelve was able to keep most of their talent around for another year. Cole Aldrich and Sherron Collins decided to return to Kansas. Willie Warren decided to skip his shot at the lottery and take over as the face of the Sooners. Craig Brakins decided to return and help continue the building process at Iowa St. Add to that 6 of the top 25 freshman in America and it should be a tremendously competitive season of basketball in the Big Twelve Conference. Kansas is the cream of the crop with senior leadership and freshman star power. Oklahoma and Texas have a chance to cut down the nets as well. They could match the Big East and put 3 teams on the top line of the bracket come March.

2008-2009 Big 12 Standings

1. Kansas 14-2
2. Oklahoma 13-3
3. Missouri 12-4
4. Texas A&M 9-7
5. Oklahoma St. 9-7
6. Texas 9-7
7. Kansas St. 9-7
8. Nebraska 8-8
9. Baylor 5-11
10. Iowa St. 4-12
11. Texas Tech 3-13
12. Colorodo 1-15

2009-2010 Projected Standings

1. Texas 13-3
2. Kansas 12-4
3. Kansas St 11-5
4. Oklahoma 11-5
5. Oklhaoma St. 9-7
6. Texas A&M 9-7
7. Missouri 7-9
8. Baylor 6-10
9. Iowa St. 4-12
10. Texas Tech 4-12
11. Colorodo 2-14
12. Nebraska 1-15

PRE-SEASON All-CONFERENCE TEAMS

Player of the Year: Willie Warren, Oklahoma:

With Blake Griffin gone, the pressure is on Warren to carry the load down at Oklahoma. I had the chance to sit down with Warren and now understand why he put the draft on hold. He’s cocky, he’s hungry, and he’s determined to prove that he can be the face of an organization. He doesn’t just want the spotlight in Norman, he wants to be the face of the entire Big Twelve Conference.

First Team
G- Sherron Collins, Kansas: Sherron was a major contributor to the championship team 2 years ago and returns his senior year looking to improve on a junior season that saw him average 19 points and 5 assists. He makes big shots, has been through the wars, plays extra special in big games, and has just flat out got it done so far in Lawrence. There have been questions about his off-season conditioning that have some people scratching their heads, but I think he’ll be fine.

G- Willie Warren, Oklahoma: Sharp Shooting, combo guard will get more opportunities this season, but will also get more defensive attention. It doesn’t matter, he’s about to take this league by storm. Most talented player in the Big 12.

F- Damion James, Texas: Like they say in football, this kid has a nose for the ball. At just 6-6, James avergaed 9.2 rebounds per game last season. With Avery Bradley and Jordan Hamilton coming to town to provide the finesse, James can continue to do what he does best. The dirty work !!!

F- Craig Brackins, Iowa St.: Another Big 12 star who put the NBA on hold. Brackins averaged over 20 points and just less than 10 rebounds last year. That’s production at it’s finest. If he can get some sort of help around him, Iowa St. could have a solid year.

C- Cole Aldrich, Kansas: It was a very difficult decision picking Warren over Aldrich as the player of the year. Like Hansbrough did last year for the heels, Cole has come back one more year so that his Jayhawks can win cut down the nets. He’s not just the most polished post player in the Big Twelve, he’s the baddest big man in the entire land.

Second Team
G- James Anderson, Oklahoma St.: This versatile guard does a little bit of everything. He scored over 18 a game while connecting on more than 40% of his 3’s, and pulling down over 5 rebounds per game. As a guard he also is capable of blocking some shots, and does a nice job in the passing lanes. One of my favorite players in the country.

G- Avery Bradley, Texas: After leading Findlay Prep to the ESPN Rise National Championship last season, Bradley has come to Texas to do the same. The Horns won’t miss AJ Abrams one bit, as Bradley is going to have no problem matching his scoring output. He should have the best mid range game in the country on day 1.

F- Mike Singletary, Texas Tech:
Although he averaged just 23 minutes per game last season, Singletary was very efficient and got better down the stretch. He scored 43 points on Texas A&M last year; 29 in a row at one point. Tech is going to need Singletary to do more of that if they are going to even try to compete in a very tough Big 12. He’s going to get plenty of opportunities as Tech is going to be terrible this season.

F- Bryan Davis, Texas A&M: Davis averaged 11 and almost 7 a game in just 26 minutes. With Chinemelu Elonu gone and Josh Carter gone, Bryan’s role should increase. With more minutes and more touches, Davis could become a guy who averages 16 and 9. It’s a bit of a reach but I’m excited to say told you so at the end of the season.

C- Tiny Gallon, Oklahoma: Replacing Griffin is going to be impossible, but plugging Gallon in should help. He’s a very big man, but has soft hands and surprisingly quick feet. He played at Oak Hill Academy last year with a very talented team that included Roscoe Smith and Doron Lamb. He should have no problem adjusting to Warren being the go-to guy.

Third Team
G- Cory Higgins, Colorodo: Although a lot of people outside of the Big 12 have yet to see Cory Higgins, he’s an extremely efficient scorer who also rebounds the basketball. He averaged over 17 and 5 last season while going relatively unnoticed. Unfortunately for Higgins, when you win just one conference game all year it’s hard to get noticed. I got em winning two this year, so look out world.

G- Denis Clemente, Kansas State:
This kid is oozing with talent. He averaged 15 points per game last season while shooting just over 40%. He’s worked hard on his jumper in the off-season so we should see an increase in his efficiency. His 3.5 assists need to improve as well if Kansas St. is going to compete with Texas and Kansas.

F- Xavier Henry, Kansas:
The dynamic freshman would be on the second team if he wasn’t surrounded by so much talent. With Aldrich and Collins still in town, it’s going to be hard for Xavier to put up big numbers. That being said, he’s got more talent than anyone else on the roster and will find a way to make a big time contribution. Expect to see this young man on TNT really soon.

F- Curtis Kelly, Kansas State: After starring at Rice High School, Kelly never lived up to the hype while playing at UConn. Now at Kansas St., he’s bulked up and ready to prove to his critics he can still be a star. K-State has loads of talent in the backcourt with Wally Judge and Clemente but will be leaning on Kelly and counting on his production.

C- Dexter Pittman, Texas: Although Pittman produced just 10 and 5 last season, I expect 09-10 to be a big year for the 6-10, 300 pounder. He shot 61% from the field last season which means if he’s given more touches, he should have more production. Averaging less than 1 block per game is going to need to be addressed. Protect the rim young man.

PRE-SEASON ALL-FRESHMAN TEAMS

Freshman of the Year: Avery Bradley, Texas:

Bradley is a born winner who has one of the best mid range games I’ve ever seen. He’s a relentless defender who takes pride on both ends of the floor. He won the High School National Championship last season and his leadership was one of the biggest reasons Findlay was able to get it done. He’ll be the best player Texas has had since Durant was in town, and just like KD is likely one and done. It should be a heck of a show this year though.

First Team
G- Tommy Mason-Griffin, Oklahoma: This kid has a body built to play linebacker. He should form a tremendous backcourt with Willie Warren. Lat year Oklahom’a strength was the Griffin brothers. This year, it’s all about the guards. Look for them to run more of the Villanova style offense and Mason-Griffin should help keep everyone happy.

G- Avery Bradley, Texas: Aside from John Wall down at Kentucky, no freshman guard in the country is more ready to make an impact than Bradley. See above for details.

F- Xavier Henry, Kansas: His recruitment was like a hollywood drama but Henry is a Jayhawk now. He’s got an NBA body and can shoot, drive, and finish. If he can find some touches on a very experienced Jayhawks team, he should have an excellent season.

F- Wally Judge, Kansas State: The DC Assault product has an excellent face-up game and can run the floor. He’s excellent in transition and should give K-State lots of production in the frontcourt. With Judge and Curtis Kelly it should be a new look frontcourt and he best since Michael Beasley was in town.

C- Tiny Gallon, Oklahoma: The big man from Mouth of Wilson has enormous shoes to fill. Although he won’t be able to match the production of Blake Griffin, he should have a tremendous freshman campaign. He should be a fan favorite in Norman right away.

Second Team

G- Raymond Penn, Oklahoma St.: Penn is a score first point guard who should have a green light next season. His primary job will be getting James Anderson the ball. After he’s accomplished that, he’ll be told to do what he does best. Score the basketball.

G- Nolan Dennis, Baylor: Origionally committed to Coach Cal at Memphis but was given his release when Calipari accepted the Kentucky job. He’s not a great shooter but is excellent taking the ball to the tin and should give Baylor quality minutes in his freshman season.

F- Jordan Hamilton, Texas: One of the most gifted scorer’s in the country last season should bolster an already potent Texas squad. He can shoot it and score off the dribble equally effective. There isn’t much on the offensive end Hamilton can’t do. His defense is another story all together.

F- Shawn Williams, Texas: It may be hard for Williams to get alot of opportunities on a very talented Texas team, however, he’s a gifted scorer who should be able to provide instant offense off the bench. If he’s given a defined role, which I believe he will be, look out.

C- Andrew Fitzgerald, Oklahoma: Another freshman who’s expected to help pick up the slack for the Griffin’s. Fitgerald might not start, but he will get quality minutes and provide energy off the bench. He’s got good foot work, and works his tail off to establish deep position. He’s going to be a really good one.

COACH ON THE HOT SEAT

Pat Knight, Texas Tech: After winning just 3 conference games last season and finishing with a losing record overall (14-19) it’s time for coach Knight to deliver. Unfortunately he doesn’t have a lot of talent and will be hard pressed to improve on last seasons win totals. How patient will Tech be? We’re likely to find out at seasons end.

Nolan Shulman
nolan@flagrantfouls.com

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2 Responses to “2009-2010 Big 12 Preview”

  1. Dave

    26. Sep, 2009

    Avery Bradley will not be one of the 4 best guards in the Big 12 next season. How can you even say that?

    Reply to this comment
  2. RockChalkJayhawk

    26. Sep, 2009

    Willie the player of the Year and not Cole Aldrich? You must be on drugs

    Reply to this comment

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