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Top 12 players in the Big 12

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Locked in Lubbock, I can’t shovel my driveway, so I thought I’d do something productive, especially since I’ve already been to the Buddy Holly Center.

So with the Texas blowout victory against Texas A&M fresh on my mind and four hours remaining until tipoff of Kansas-Texas Tech, here’s a look at the 12 best players in the Big 12 so far: 1. Marcus Morris, Kansas: Seventh in the conference with a 16.7 scoring average, Morris never takes a bad shot. He leads the conference with a .599 field-goal percentage, ranks 10th in rebounding (6.9) and is a terrific passer. Knows that he has the best chance of helping the team by scoring in close, so he doesn’t audition for NBA scouts by firing an excessive number of three-point shots. In taking that approach, he’s impressing scouts far more than if he were auditioning. He plays a big part in Kansas faring so well in close games.

2. Jordan Hamilton, Texas: Like Morris, he’s a versatile scorer, though he’s not as strong posting up and more prolific from behind the three-point arc. Ranks third in the Big 12 in scoring (19.0), fifth in rebounding (7.5), seventh in field-goal percentage (.470) and third in three-point goals with 2.59 per game.

3. Tristan Thompson, Texas: Changes games defensively more than anybody in the conference. Lefties tend to make the best shot-blockers, so it’s no surprise he’s leading the Big 12 with 2.23 swats a game. Needs to listen to the tape of Monday’s blowout victory against Texas A&M for pointers from color analyst Bob Knight on free-throw shooting technique. He can just pop it in at any portion of the game and he won’t have to wait long. It’s nice to see that Knight doesn’t buy the notion free-throw shooting is all mental and all about toughness. Technique has a great deal to do with it and to master any technique in any sport requires practice. Thompson will get to the line a ton, and how much he improves could determine his team’s chances of winning the national title.

4. Alec Burks, Colorado: Guard him too tightly, he’ll whip around his man. Give him space, he’ll hit the jumper. Burks ranks second in the conference in scoring (19.8) and third in free-throw percentage (.842). He’s great at hitting well-contested shots.

5. Markieff Morris, Kansas: Has improved defensively during the course of the season is emerging as a strong low-post scorer, is a great passer and leads the conference in rebounding with 8.7 a game.

6. LaceDarius Dunn, Baylor: Leads the conference in scoring (21.1), three-pointers per game (3.76) and ranks sixth in three-point percentage (.421). Also has had a knack for coming up with steals at big times throughout his career.

7. Marcus Denmon, Missouri: Ranks second in the conference in three-point percentage (.477), third in steals (1.95), fourth in three-pointers per game (2.52) and sixth in scoring (16.8). Quick, quick, quick.

8. Dionte Garrett, Iowa State: Most improved senior in the conference, the son of former NBA guard Dick Garrett ranks fifth in the Big 12 with 17.8 points per game and first in assists (5.77). He runs a team that’s short on inside beef and made-for-defense athleticism.

9. Perry Jones III, Baylor: A top three pick in the next NBA draft, Jones is getting more aggressive for a Baylor team that can’t quite get it all together.

10. Khris Middleton, Texas A&M: Didn’t score a point or get to the free-throw line in Monday night’s loss to Texas. Went 0 for 9 from the field. Didn’t look even remotely like the same player who had 28 points, seven rebounds and four assists against Missouri.

11. Marshall Moses, Oklahoma State: Steady low-post presence averages 15.5 points and 8.1 rebounds a game, the latter good for second in the Big 12.

12. Jacob Pullen, Kansas State: Gets the nod over Colorado’s Cory Higgins for the final spot. Not shooting well and not winning, he never stops giving maximum effort. It’s not his fault that three teammates quit the team (Dominique Sutton, Freddy Asprilla, Wally Judge).

Comments

Tom Keegan 11 years, 3 months ago

But who do you bump down? Thompson? Hamilton?

Selbyville 11 years, 3 months ago

Good enough ratings, I think T-Rob would deserve to be 12, over Moses. Imagine what Robinson's numbers would be if he were getting the bear's share of minutes.

Pullen has still played well as a scorer but talk about a team that is in as much disarray as Kansas State is.

And I think Kieff should be #2 right behind his bro, he's playing better than Hamilton and Thompson

Tom Keegan 11 years, 3 months ago

Robinson's ceiling is way higher than Moses' and he could pass by the time the year is over, but for now, I'll give the nod to Moses just because he's so steady for the Cowboys and so experienced. Tough to put Markieff ahead of Thompson the way the head-to-head matchup went. Thompson changed the game with his five blocked shots.

Selbyville 11 years, 3 months ago

KU - Texas was a joke. I don't think you can merit Thompson as the better player for that game only. And what is Thompson's FT%? He gets to the line a lot but it's almost counterproductive because he shoots them so bad

Adam Evans 11 years, 3 months ago

Actually, regardless of the reason, you can put Thompson ahead because of that one game. Look at the end of the year for the NCAA selection committee. They don't care why. You lose, you lose. And when it comes to the end of the season, provided they play even, UT will get a higher "1" seed than kansas because of the head to head win.

Kieff is deserving of first team for sure. Seasons end he may be up there. He is emerging as a legit inside threat scoringwise, but has yet to 'fully' emerge. When he does he may rival his brother for B12 POY nods (except for the start to finish consistency from Marcus).

TRob, if he keeps up his emergence as a 6th starter, could certainly be a 2nd team all B12 selection by seasons end, and possible POY talk next year.

Selby could be on this list by seasons end as well, possibly as a 3rd teamer, or 2nd if he really comes on strong. But the fact that, and I agree with Keegan, he is not considered by most people to even be a top 10 player in the B12 right now, shows that he needs another year in college, or risk losing some money and going to the D-league for a year in the NBA.

Alec White 11 years, 3 months ago

Thompson completely outmanned and pushed around Markieff the whole game. I'm not saying it will happen again when we meet in the Big XII championship, but it is tough to argue having two Jayhawks as 1 and 2 when Texas is undefeated in Big XII play. I'm real excited to see TRob go against Thompson if Texas and us both make it to the Big XII tournament final. Thomas wasn't being bullied around like the Kieff and Marcus...unfortunately he was a little too amped/psyched out and picked up some quick fouls. I feel like he has a few 20/10 nights in him for the rest of the year---I just hope he picks the right games to bring out the beast.

And by the way, I'm not hating on the Morri...they're the best 4-5 combo in college basketball. I just don't think they expected that physical level of play from Texas and the refs weren't helping them out (what a surprise!!!) We got called for a few ticky-tack ones and Thompson could bump whoever he wanted around.

But the list is pretty good IMO. I think Denmon deserves 5th, Kieff gets 6th and Dunn at 7. Cory Joseph might also crack my top 12 even though I don't know his stats...he's just real smooth at running a team.

Jason Sinclair 11 years, 3 months ago

Cory Higgins or Jacob "Pullen-on-a-fattie"?

I'll take Higgins EVERY time.

Keegs, what's up with the Drive? Why aren't the episodes loaded to the website (just the Overdrives)?

Tom Keegan 11 years, 3 months ago

I'm not sure what's up with that, but I'll ask, Hawksj. ... Just got to the arena. The cold wind down here is unreal. I wonder if that will keep people away from the game. The bigger the crowd, the more it helps KU because KU isn't as used to small crowds as Texas Tech.

Adam Evans 11 years, 3 months ago

No, no Reed. Yes, he is one of our top 3 guards. However, I wouldn't even put him in one of our top 5 players overall on our team. He starts because of his skill in his position. The Morris' are better, TRob is better, Selby and Taylor are both better. I love what Reed has done this year, and he is beyond an important part of our team. But he's not one of the top dozen players in the league.

Tom Keegan 11 years, 3 months ago

Reed's had a super year, but he's not one of the 12 best players in the conference. No point in my being dishonest and trying to curry favor by being a homer. Always tell the truth. That way you don't have to remember what you said. ... Doug Shows, the guy who whistled four technicals in the KU-Texas game, is on the officiating crew tonight.

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