Lots are talking about all the stars they lost from the roster… reality check, this is KU and most all the players on the roster are stars. Even the incoming freshman Cliff Alexander, Kelly Oubre, and Devonte Graham are supposed to be stars. Combine the frosh with returners Perry Ellis and Wayne Selden and you have another contender for the Big 12 title, and a NCAA tourney run to the Final Four. I think KU will be the team to beat again, as usual, in our conference.
TaShawn Thomas from University of Houston has transferred to OU, and would be an immediate force in the lineup if granted eligibility to play this season. Ryan Spangler, Buddy Hield, and Isaiah Cousins return for a squad of experienced and skilled players on Lon Kruger’s roster. These guys are scrappy and will muscle out a lot of wins this season. I would expect OU to make the Big Dance fairly easily this season.
The Big 12 tourney champs landed Georgios Tsalmpouris a 7-footer from Greece that might be a project, but could develop into a key player in the Cyclones future. They lost superstars DeAndre Kane and Melvin Ejim, but return Georges Niang and Dustin Houge. A big time transfer from UNLV to watch that will play this season is Bryce Dejean-Jones who averaged about 20 ppg last year. Never count the Cyclones out of a game this season in the Big 12, I expect them to make some noise in the post-season as well.
Cory Jefferson, Isaiah Austin, and Brady Heslip are gone. The Bears do return Rico Gathers and Kenny Chery, but their main group of scorers has departed. Allerik Freeman will be a new face for Big 12 fans to pay attention to this season, but no bonafide all-stars are left on this roster. They have lost a lot of talent this year, and I expect Baylor to have a more mediocre run in the Big 12 this season then they have had in the past.
Just to note that all the college basketball experts are giving the Longhorns high praise to be a team to beat in the Big 12. I’ve heard it before, but UT doesn’t seem to ever live up to their hype on the court based on previous years. All their starters from last season are returning, and they added freshman blue-chip recruit Myles Turner. This team could be dangerous if Rick Barnes gets them all to work together as a team on the floor.
Marcus Smart and Markel Brown are no longer on the roster, but Phil Forte and Le’Bryan Nash return. The Cowboys did pick-up a nice transfer Anthony Hickey from LSU who could be a great addition. I think OSU will be a bit of a mystery until we see what Travis Ford does with this crew in the season.
I find it strange that 2 of their top players from last season decided to transfer, Eron Harris (transfer Michigan State) and Terry Henderson (transfer N.C. State) have moved on. But, 2 of Texas Tech’s top players transferred as well, so I won’t blame it on Bob Huggins. NBA prospect Juwan Staten is going to be the main man on campus and it will depend on him if he can carry this team this season on his shoulders through the Big 12 schedule.
One of the Big 12 best players Marcus Foster will lead a team that has a good chance of being in the NCAA tourney. Will Spradling and Shane Southwell are gone from the roster, but big man Thomas Gipson is back. The Wildcats did snag Justin Edwards a transfer from Maine that could do some good things for the team. I expect KSU to be one of the better teams in the Big 12 this year.
No beating around the bush, the college basketball world is not being so nice to our Red Raiders this off-season in regards to the 2014-15 season predictions. We are not getting respect mainly due to the fact that we lost a whole crop of seniors that included our star player Jaye Crockett, and we had our 2 "top" returners transfer on us. The new faces will have to prove themselves as legit ballers, and our returning squad will have to step up into elevated leadership roles for everything to work out successfully. The majority of people might have written us off. But, if you’ve kept up with Tech basketball here on VTM you will know why we think our group is capable of pulling off 15 to 20 wins this season. Wreck ‘em Tech!
Most people expect TCU to be an improved team while returning a more experienced line-up this season. They lost every single Big 12 game last year, and I do not think anyone believes that will be the case this season. Amric Fields is supposedly healthy alongside of their best player Kyan Anderson with both leading this team on the court as seniors. Also, Karviar Shepherd and Brandon Parrish have become sophomores; both starters last year as freshman. A player some of you will not remember from last year, but should have some impact this season is Devonta Abron who was out all last year with a torn Achilles. A wildcard on the roster is Trey Zeigler the transfer from Pittsburgh, he might have some game. With the amount of Big 12 experience on the roster, TCU might not be pushovers this season.
Let’s check-in with what has been happening to the other Big 12 teams around the league this off-season.