September 25, 2012
By Isael Chandler
With college basketball season getting closer to starting, PBD will begin to take at the top draft prospects in each conference. Starting today, here's a look at the top players to watch in the Big 12.
1. Isaiah Austin (C, Baylor) – is a 7’ foot phenom that will fit right in at Baylor. With Perry Jones (draft) and Acy Law (senior) leaving the position is his with some big shoes too fill. With his height/ wing span to block shots and his many offensive attributes to score and run the floor in transition that should be no problem at all for him.
2. Myck Kabongo (PG, Texas) – returning for his sophomore season Kabongo is looking to take the next step. He is the pure point guard that every coach wants on there team. He can beat his man off the dribble and create open shots for other players on the team when needed. Hopefully over the summer he has worked on his overall game, which in return will make his team better.
3. LeBryan Nash (SF, Oklahoma State) – looking to improve from his freshman year at OSU, Nash now has more a leader role to fill. With Nash playing out of position and struggling last year with his shot look for him to have an improved year. Maybe with the additions of the new big man he can play his position and dominate the opposition.
4. Jeff Withey (C, Kansas) – Withey is the center piece and all things should start and finish threw him. With Robinson leaving for the draft and being highly touted out of high school, scouts will be able to see what Withey can do now with a much larger role. He has the size and physical ability to dominate in the post and the athleticism to block shots as well on defense. He should lead the Big 12 in rebounds and/or block shots.
5. Pierre Jackson (PG, Baylor) – coming off his first year at Baylor and a breakout year I must say, Jackson is looking to take a hold of the reigns this year. Last year he led the team in scoring and assists in his first year there with other big name stars on the team. With most of the starters leaving for the draft this is the year he can prove he can carry the team on his back. Jackson might be little at 5’10” but he has the explosion to beat his man off the dribble and the confidence to take the big shots when needed.
6. Rodney McGruder (G, Kansas State) – coming into his senior season McGruder will be asked to carry a bigger load this year. For a 6’5” shooting guard he led the team in scoring and rebounds and that’s impressive for a guard. He is an all around player and shot at least 40 percent from behind the 3 point arc. Look for him to take over at Kansas State and prove to the world he is a top guard.
7. Marcus Smart (PG, Oklahoma State) – a freshman to keep your eyes on this year. He has a nice size at 6’4”, he's more of a combo guard that can do it all. Has decent handles to play the point, can shoot the midrange or 3 point with consistency, and the size and ability to take it strong and finish at the rim with contact.
8. Cameron Ridley (C, Texas) – lacking in big men at Texas, Ridley will fit right in. Ridley goes at 6’10” 270 pounds and is a beast in the post. He is not quick or explosive but will feast down low against anyone. He has soft hands, great back to the basket skill, a soft touch, and nice 15 foot jumper. He will be a great addition for Texas and should have a great year. He should bring some well needed toughest the Longhorns have lacked since LaMarcus Aldridge left.
9. Elijah Johnson (SG, Kansas) – coming into his senior season at Kansas, Johnson now has to show what he's made of this year. With Tyshawn Taylor leaving for the draft now Johnson can take a hold of the team and become more involved. With his inconsistent play last year and taking most of his shots off the dribble, now he can change his game to more of an all around player and show the world what he can do.
10. Ben McLemore (SG, Kansas) – ruled ineligible his freshman year but is eager to get back on the court and showcase his talents. He is a 6’5” wing player that is great in transition and shoots the ball exceptionally well. He hasn’t played against the top level of competition like most people have but he should be a compliment coming off the bench this year at Kansas. I see him being a sparkle of the bench and someone coach can rely on. There's no room for error on his part. So he has to prove he wants to be apart of the team aspect to see more time this year.