Monday, November 14th, 2011

Preseason Big 12 power rankings : College Basketball

Published on November 9, 2011 by Scott Shirley   ·   1 Comment

Here are my preseason Big 12 power rankings for the 2011-12-college basketball season.

Big East


Big 10

# 1. Baylor

Coach: Scott Drew (Eight seasons at Baylor 127-116), overall 147-127, 9 years

2010-11: Record: 18-13 overall, 7-9 in Big 12 (Tie/7th)

Starters Returning (4) Jones III, Acy, Jones, Walton

 The Bears lose their leading scorer, but return the next six leading scorers, and they bring in two very highly rated recruits. Perry Jones III (13. 9 ppg) leads a loaded Bears frontcourt. Jones would have been a top pick in last year’s draft, but he returned to school. He is a superb athlete, and despite being a power forward he has the skills of a guard. Anthony Jones (8.5 ppg) also returns at center. Baylor will have quality backups up front in freshman Quincy Miller, J’mison Morgan (3 ppg), and Cory Jefferson. Miller is a top 5 recruit who’s game is just like Jones III. Quincy Acy (12. 4 ppg) returns at small forward; he is a great athlete. Backing him will be Fred Ellis (3.6 ppg). The questions for Baylor will be in the backcourt after losing LaceDarius Dunn. A.J. Walton (7.9 ppg) returns at the point, but look for JUCO transfer Pierre Jackson to challenge him for that job. At shooting guard Boston College transfer Brady Heslip will be a deadly shooter for the Bears. Also at shooting guard will be freshman Deuce Bello. Cal transfer Gary Franklin will also be in the mix, but he is not eligible until December.

# 2. Kansas

Coach: Bill Self (Eight seasons at Kansas 237-46), overall 441-151, 18 years

2010-11: Record: 35-3 overall, 14-2 in Big 12 (1st)

Starters Returning (1) Taylor

Last year was supposed to be the year for Kansas, now they have lost 7 players from last year’s team. This will be Kansas head coach Bill Self’s hardest coaching job, but this is still Kansas. They only have 8 scholarship players thanks to 3 freshmen being ineligible. Tyshawn Taylor (9.3 ppg) led Kansas in assists last year; he is very steady at the point, but he will need to score more. Elijah Johnson (3.4ppg) will also likely start in the backcourt; he has the talent to do more. The backups here will be two freshman Naadir Tharpe and Mervyn Lindsay. They should both get a ton of playing time. Travis Releford (3.7 ppg) will start at small forward, again he has the talent, but must prove it. Thomas Robinson (7.6 ppg) will lead the way down low. Robinson will have a big year as his minutes go up. He was a very productive rebounder. Jeff Withey (2.3 ppg) will get the job at center; he has great size. Providing the depth will be Kevin Young, a Loyala Marymount transfer and Justin Wesley. Jamari Traylor, Ben McElmore, and Braeden Anderson, all freshman are all ineligible for this up-coming season.  This was a huge blow in terms of depth wise.

# 3.Texas A&M

Coach: Bill Kennedy (First year at Texas A&M), overall 211-179, 14 years

2010-11: Record: 24-9 overall, 10-6 in Big 12 (Tie/3rd)

Starters Returning (3) Middleton, Loubeau, Harris

Mark Turgeon left Texas A&M for Maryland; now Billy Kennedy takes over. Turgeon left plenty of talent for Kennedy. Khris Middleton (14.4 ppg)is the best player for the Aggies. He will most likely play at the small forward; he does a little bit of everything plus he led his team in points and rebounds last year. David Loubeau (11.8 ppg) is an emerging star at power forward; he has improved every season. Kourtney Roberson (5.6 ppg) will take the duties at center. The depth in the frontcourt will come from Keith Davis (1 ppg), redshirt freshman Daniel Alexander, and Ray Turner (4 ppg). Dash Harris (4.2 ppg) leads the way in the backcourt; he’s a good point guard, but needs to be a better shooter. Naji Hibbert (5.2 ppg)will be Harris’s running mate in the backcourt. Washington transfer Elston Turner will also be in the mix here. Two freshman will also get playing time in the backcourt Jordan Green and Jamal Branch. Branch is the better of the two.

# 4.Missouri

Coach: Frank Haith (First season at Missouri), overall, 129-101, 7 years

2010-11: Record: 23-11 overall, 8-8 in Big 12 (Tie/5th)

Starters Returning (4) Kim English, Marcus Denmon, Ricardo Ratliffe, Michael Dixon

New head coach Frank Haith walks into a pretty good situation. They lose one quality player from last year’s team and they also lose a player to injury for this season. Will Haith’s problems at Miami come back to haunt him? Marcus Denmon (16.9 ppg) is the Tigers best player he is lethal from the three-point line. Joining him in the backcourt is point guard Michael Dixon (10.3 ppg) who is a very crafty player. Brothers Phil (6.5 ppg) and Matt Pressey (5.7 ppg) are two great backups. Jarrett Sutton  (.8 ppg) might also get some time. In fact Phil led the team in assists last year. Kim English (10 ppg) is a great athlete at small forward. The Tigers took a big blow in the frontcourt when Laurence Bowers (11.6 ppg) torn his ACL and is out for the season. Now Ricardo Ratliffe (10.6 ppg) is the leader in the frontcourt. He was the top freshman in the Big 12 last season. Now with Bowers injury, Steve Moore (2 ppg) will likely start at center. If there is a weakness for the Tigers is their depth in the frontcourt. Providing the only real depth is freshman Kadeem Green.

# 5. Texas

Coach: Rick Barnes (13 seasons at Texas 322-123), overall 524-257, 24 years

2010-11 Record: 28-8 overall, 13-3 in Big 12 (2nd)

Starters Returning (0)

Texas was hurt badly by the NBA draft as three players left early; the Longhorns lose 6 of their 7 top scorers. Head coach Rick Barnes always brings in top freshman, and this year is no different. The Longhorns best returning player is J’Covan Brown (10.4 ppg) in the backcourt; he is an all around player who excels as a shooter. The point guard will be the talented Myck Kabongo, who is a top 10 recruit. This kid is quick with the ball and is a great passer. Three freshman will be the backups in the backcourt Sheldon McClellan, Julien Lewis, and Sterling Gibbs. McClellan is the best of the bunch, look for him to start at the 3. The Longhorns will be really hurting in the frontcourt. Alexis Wangmene (2.3 ppg) is the best returning player here. The other starter will likely be freshman Jonathan Holmes. Backing them up will be Clint Chapman and freshman Jaylen Bond.  They took a blow when freshman Kevin Thomas was ruled ineligible.  Look for all the freshman in this class to get a lot of quality playing time.

# 6. Oklahoma State

Coach: Travis Ford (Three season at Oklahoma State), overall 255-183, 14 years

2010-11 Record: 20-14 overall, 6-10 in Big 12 (9th)

Starters Returning (2) Keiton Page, J.P. Olukemi

Oklahoma State does lose their best player in Marshall Moses, but they do return 5 of their 6 top scorers. Keiton Page (13.2 ppg)is their leader at point guard; he is a smart player who needs to improve his shooting percentage. Joining him in the backcourt is Markel Brown (6.4 ppg) who needs to improve on his freshman season. The Cowboys have excellent backups here in Reger Dowell (5.2 ppg) and Fred Gulley (2.3 ppg). Also watch out for freshman point guard Cezar Guerrero. Their best player will be small forward freshman LeBryan Nash, he was a top 10 recruit. He is a freak athlete who has drawn comparison to Ron Artest. Up front J.P. Olukemi (11.1 ppg) will lead the way, and he is a very explosive scorer. Also joining him is Darrell Williams (7.1 ppg). The back ups here will be Jarred Shaw (1.2 ppg), Roger Franklin (1.7 ppg), redshirt freshman Michael Cobbins, and incoming freshmanPhillip Jurick. The Cowboys lack height but are very athletic.

# 7. Kansas State

Coach: Frank Martin (Four Seasons at Kansas State 95-43)

2010-11 Record: 23-11 overall, 10-6 in Big 12 (Tie 3rd)

Starters Returning (3) Rodney McGruder, Jamar Samuels, Shane Southwell

The Wildcats and head coach Frank Martin lost 2 of their 3 best players including the heart and sole of the team Jacob Pullen, but still some talent returns. The backcourt will be the strong point for Kansas State; Rodney McGruder (11.1 ppg) is the best player, and he is very explosive. Will Spradling (6.4 ppg) returns at the point; he is a very heady player. Martavious Irving (4 ppg), freshman Angel Rodriguez, and JUCO transfer Jeremy Jones will be three quality backups here. Shane Southwell (1.8 ppg) and redshirt freshman Nino Williams will share duties at small forward. Jamar Samuels (8.5 ppg) returns at power forward; he will produce more without Curtis Kelly. Jordan Henriquez-Roberts (3.7 ppg) has great size and will join Samuels up front. Providing the depth up front will be Victor Ojeleye (1.8 ppg) and JUCO transfer James Watson. Also in the mix will be two very talented freshman Adrian Diaz and Thomas Gipson. Diaz could start from day one.

# 8. Iowa State

Coach: Fred Hoiberg (First season at Iowa State 16-16)

2010-11 Record: 16-16 overall, 3-13 in Big 12 (12th)

Starters Returning (2) Scott Christopherson, Melvin Ejim

Head coach Fred Hoiberg brings two starters back, and 4 division 1 transfers that are eligible to play this season. The transfers have the talent, but the question is can they all mesh together? The Cyclones best returning player is shooting guard Scott Christopherson (13.7 ppg); he is a deadly shooter. Helping in the backcourt will be Michigan State transfer Chris Allen, who also is a great shooter. The backups will be JUCO transfer Tyrus McGee, Bubu Palo (3.4 ppg), and freshman Tavon Sledge. McGee is the best of the bunch. Melvin Ejim (10.3 ppg) leads the way at small forward, and is a very good athlete; Penn State transfer Chris Babb backs him up. The Cyclones two best players up front are both transfers Anthony Booker from Southern Illinois and Royce White from Minnesota. Providing the depth here will be Jordan Railey (2 ppg) and freshman Percy Gibson.

# 9. Oklahoma

Coach: Lon Kruger (This will be his first season at Oklahoma), overall 479-304,25 years

2010-11 Record: 14-18 overall, 5-11 in Big 12 (Tie/10)

Starters Returning: (4) Andrew Fitzgerald,Steven Pledger, Cameron Clark, Carl Blair

A couple of years ago Oklahoma basketball was hot with Blake Griffin, but now Griffin and head coach Jeff Capel are gone and in comes Lon Kruger, who was at UNLV last season. The Sooners bring back an experienced group. Andrew Fitzgerald (12.6 ppg) leads the way in the frontcourt as the Sooners top scorer and rebounder. Helping him out in the frontcourt will be Mississippi State transfer Romero Osby. These two are good but they lack size; hopefully JUCO transfer Casey Arent will help. Tyler Neal (4.2 ppg), C.J. Washington (2.5 ppg), and Barry Honore (1.2 ppg) are solid backups here. Cameron Clark (9.3ppg) is a great athlete at small forward who has the talent to be a lot better. Both starters return in the backcourt: shooting guard Steven Pledger (10. 9 ppg) is an excellent shooter. Staring point guard Carl Blair (7.5 ppg) also returns, but he will get pushed by Calvin Newell (3.5 ppg) and JUCO transfer Sam Grooms.

# 10. Texas Tech

Coach: Billy Gillispie (first year at Texas Tech), overall 140-85. 7 years

2010-11 Record: 13-19 overall, 5-11 in Big 12 (Tie/10)

Starters Returning: (1) Robert Lewandowski

The Knight era is over at Texas Tech; now Billy Gillispie takes over the program, he coached at Texas A&M previously. The Red Raiders lose 5 of their top 6 scorers and two transfers. He brings a lot of players in, but none are highly thought of. The only returning starter is center Robert Lewandowski (8.5 ppg). He is steady in the middle and will do more in an expanded role. Jarron Nash, a JUCO transfer will be at the other forward. The backups in the frontcourt will be JUCO transfer Kader Tapsoba, freshman Daouda Soumaoro, and senior Theron Jenkins (2.9 ppg) who was hurt last season. Jaye Crockett (4.8 ppg) is solid at the small forward. Javarez Willis (3.6 ppg) and Mike Davis (2.8 ppg)are the only returnees in the backcourt. Willis will likely start at the point with JUCO transfer Ty Nurse and freshman point guard Kevin Wagner backing him up. At shooting guard Utah transfer Marshall Henderson will be the man followed by Davis. Also watch out for freshman Terran Petteway and Toddrick Gotcher on the wing.

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