After a long hiatus (hey, I get busy), we’re back to survey the world of hoops. Let’s go around the nation.
That’s more like it: The past week’s relatively comfortable wins over
In conference play, the Tigers have had two opportunity games – at
Now comes big opportunity. Win at
The next two games provide a huge pivot point for the season. And the Tigers will have to ride the best asset they have, their guards. Right now, I’m not sure there’s a better unit in the nation than Denmon,
Now that I’ve written that, it’s all but assured that the games will turn on the play of Laurence Bowers and Ricardo Ratliffe.
T is for
By now we ought to know that when Rick Barnes has a point guard he has a ball club. And though Cory Joseph isn’t T.J. Ford or D.J. Augustin (at least not yet), he’s good and he’s one of four Longhorns averaging at least 2.3 assists per game. This team shares the ball. And with an emerging star in the post in freshman Tristan Thompson and a nuclear weapon on the wing in Jordan Hamilton, Texas provides tough matchups for any team.
Now that they’ve won the toughest road game on their schedule (at Kansas) and routed one of the two best teams that will visit Austin (Texas A&M), the Longhorns have a chance to seize firm control of the Big 12 race with a win at home against Missouri on Saturday.
The rest of the league says Help us, Obi-Wan Denmoney. You’re our only hope.
Look at the Longhorns’ schedule to date, and it’s a lot like Mizzou’s, only tougher. In addition to the somewhat inexplicable egg they laid at Southern Cal (much like the Tigers’ performance at Colorado), Texas has a two-point loss to Pittsburgh at Madison Square Garden and a one-point overtime loss to Connecticut. Two losses to top ten teams by a total of three points.
But the Longhorns have also gone on the road and beaten
We’ve seen super-talented
Jimmer!: Jimmer Fredette gets a fair amount of attention for being named Jimmer and for being one of the best college basketball players in the nation. Still, if anything, he’s underappreciated. Playing out west in a relatively unheralded basketball conference means that he doesn’t get all the attention he deserves. Remember a few years ago when J.J. Redick and Adam Morrison shared national player of the year honors? He’s both of those guys. Brigham Young plays undefeated
While you wait, watch these. Fredette scored 47 points at
Something’s happening and you don’t know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones?: Ken Pomeroy has been tracking his ownplayer of the year candidates, using his own statistical formula. Most of the names on the list are ones getting the national attention: Fredette, Kemba Walker, Jared Sullinger. Another name on the list is Kentucky super-frosh Terrence Jones. Not only is Jones crazy productive, he’ll also blow your mind a little if you let him.
Required reading: SI’s Luke Winn checks in with a highly entertaining midseason style report.
Sympathy for the Rival: Sometimes, it’s good to remind ourselves that a rival isn’t the same thing as an enemy.
I recently talked to Norm Stewart for a story I wrote for the February issue of Basketball Times (it’s print-only at the moment; I’ll post it online in a week or so), and part of the discussion involved old rivalries with former Kansas coach Ted Owens and former K-State coach Jack Hartman, and how bitter feelings borne from competition eventually give way to respect. I’ve seen it in person with Norm and Billy Tubbs entertaining a crowd by telling stories from the old days. If you watched those two go at it twenty-five years ago, you would never imagine that they could be friends, but they eventually let the world in on a secret: they really like each other.
By now, you’ve probably heard that
Then I read the story in Sunday’s Kansas City Star.
Lisa Robinson died less than three weeks after losing both her mother and her father. At Christmas, Thomas Robinson had a mother and two grandparents in his life. Estranged from his own father, Thomas Robinson lost his entire adult family in a fleeting, incomprehensible moment.
And as terrible as that is, it gets worse.
Thomas Robinson learned of his mother’s death in a call from his nine-year-old sister, Jayla.
I have a nine-year-old daughter. The thought of her having to make a call like that is almost too much to bear.
It’s hard to imagine what life is like for Thomas and Jayla at this moment. They must be reeling, confused, despairing. Thomas Robinson is nineteen years old. At 6’9" and 237 pounds, he looks like a man, but he’s still a kid, and Jayla, well, she’s a baby.
The only appropriate reaction is to ache for them.
God bless you, Thomas and Jayla. You don’t know us, but we’ll say a prayer for you.