November 13, 2012

11/13/2012 - 9:08am

North Texas knew they had a rough start to the season facing off against a Top 20 in Creighton. Doug McDermott got the better of former 2011 U19 Team USA teammate Tony Mitchell and the Bluejays won the match-up 71-51. Following that up with a match-up against a DII school would be easy for the Mean Green. Turned out that was not the case.

Alabama-Huntsville won a game they will never forget 78-75, taking down a D1 team and a possible future NBA lottery pick in the process. Tony Mitchell, a jump out of the gym combo forward who flirted with the NBA Draft after his freshman season, finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds in 31 minutes before fouling out of the contest.

Hard to place the blame fully on Mitchell's shoulders. Nonetheless, he is the player everyone is watching, the one you expect to step up in games like these. His only taking 4 FG's leads one to believe that he was much too passive in this effort.

Getting beat by McDermott is one thing, this has to be a major wake-up call for Mitchell and his role with this team. It is a group effort, but someone needs to take the lead. All eyes are on Tony Mitchell.

11/13/2012 - 7:49am

After only garnering 10 minutes in Kentucky's 72-69 victory over Maryland, it was assumed that Ryan Harrow might already be in Coach Calipari's dog house. Despite the great story that came of former walk-on Jarrod Polson playing very well he was on the sidelines, the truth behind it all was that Harrow is coming off of a bout with the flu.

Yes, Michael Jordan did the same thing while making sweet chin music of Utah in the Finals. We are not all Michael Jordan and many of us need time to get past said ailments. Harrow will be sitting out the Champions Classic against Duke. This firmly puts the spotlight on Polson, who will have to contend with far more consistent outside shooting from the Blue Devils as opposed to the Terrapins.

Still would be advised to give Harrow the benefit of the doubt. Seems like John Calipari felt bad for even playing him in the season opener as he was limited by his illness. Harrow may not be at the level of Calipari's string of first round PG's since 2008, but he still more than likely makes Kentucky a far better team when he is at full health.

To paraphrase Rob Dauster at the end of this report, if Polson can come through against Duke, he will be a bonafide Kentucky legend.

11/13/2012 - 7:37am

It may have only been one game, but Michael Carrera made his presence felt for South Carolina. Carrera finished with 17 points, 15 rebounds and 3 blocks in a 82-75 OT victory over UW Milwaukee. He also hit a pair of FT's in overtime that gave South Carolina the lead for good. After a season where they only had 10 victories, getting a player with Carrera's redounding and defensive ability could go a long way towards improvement.

Born in Venezuela, Carrera played for Montrose Christian last season, showing prominence as a rebounder. Despite being 6-5, he reportedly possesses a 7-2 wingspan which helps him compete at the PF spot. Surely a great piece for coach Frank Martin to have in his rotation during his first season as the coach of Gamecocks.
11/13/2012 - 6:53am

With Jeff Withey set to graduate after this season, the Jayhawks found a possible replacement in 7-foot Cameroon native Joel Embiid. The Jayhawks recruiting class had yet to add a front court player and now has a huge body in young Embiid.

New to the game, Embiid got a slightly rude awakening last year in the ESPN National High School Invitational by top 2012 recruit Brandon Ashley. Well, despite his lack of experience, Embiid took that as motivation, with his combination of size and athleticism vaulting him to near the top of 2013's center prospects.

Bill Self has done wonders with young big men and while Embiid may take time to develop, the finished product may garner NBA attention. Here is a video of some recent highlights of Kansas' newest addition: