I Can See For Myles

Player of the Week

Myles Turner - Texas

Myles TurnerMyles TurnerIn a slow week for conference action, Texas’ freshman sensation, Myles Turner, attracted most of the Big 12 spotlight by making his first career start Monday night against Rice. After a tough overtime loss against Stanford earlier in the week, Rick Barnes made the decision to start Turner after continued energetic play by him, and continued struggles from junior big man, Cameron Ridley.

The 6’11’’ freshman didn’t disappoint. After producing a well balanced 9 point, 8 rebound, 3 block line against the Cardinal, Myles scored 16 points and pulled in 5 rebounds in his first career start against the in-state Owls. More impressively are his shooting numbers for the week. Both games combined, Turner was 8-11 from the field, 2-4 from beyond the three point line, and 6-7 from the free throw line. His soft shooting touch has always been regarded as one of his strengths, and with the young big asserting his prowess from long range (40% 3 PT on the year) he’s really proving himself as a legit stretch 4 prospect at the NBA level. The Big 12‘s blocked shots leader is currently averaging 12 points and 6.7 rebounds in only 21 minutes per game. Myles’ appearance in the starting five comes just in time for the grind of the conference season, as Texas prepares to open Big 12 play against 10-3 Texas Tech on Saturday.

Who’s Hot

Devaugntah Williams - Texas Tech

The Red Raiders of Texas Tech rounded out their non-conference schedule this past week, and heading into Big 12 play, Devaugntah Williams has emerged as their most explosive offensive threat. The 6’3’’ combo guard who earned his stripes at Missouri State-West Plains, paced Tubby Smith’s squad in scoring in both games this week by dropping 21 and 14 in games against Houston, and North Texas. Their leading scorer on the season (11.6 ppg) Williams has shown a knack for both his range, and ability to get to the rim. Devaugntah is also no stranger to big moments, as his double clutch layup Dec 3rd against Auburn proved to be the game winner. TTU has a rough road ahead with teams such as Texas, Kansas, and West Virginia looming on the horizon, but Devaugntah Williams firing on all cylinders is a good thing to have going as the Red Raiders enter the fire that is Big 12 play.

Who’s Not

Kansas State

As one of just four Big 12 schools in action this past week, the entire Wildcat team makes the most dreaded segment of this blog. After seemingly outlasting the gritty Tigers of Texas Southern, the Wildcats absolutely melted down in the closing seconds of the game and chalked up their 5th loss of the season. With 3.8 seconds left, K-State had a 4 point lead, but then an ill advised foul by Jevon Thomas as Tonnie Collier launched a three started the sequence that would lead to the Wildcat’s downfall. Collier knocked down his first two free throws and intentionally missed the third allowing Chris Thomas to tip it in and tie the game. With .9 seconds left, all the Wildcats had to do is successfully inbound the ball and force overtime. That’s not exactly what happened. Jevon Thomas blundered again, and launched a wild pass that went directly out of bounds and gave the ball back to Texas Southern with .9 seconds left. With just less than a second left, the Tiger’s Jason Carter caught the inbounds pass in mid air and softly tipped it in the goal as time expired. Although they faced a tougher schedule than some of their conference mates, K-State dropped to 7-5 and currently sits last in the Big 12 despite being considered a virtual lock to make it back to the NCAA tournament. The Wildcats have one more warm up before the conference play starts, but I’m sure they’ll be drilling in bounds plays and in bounds defense the rest of the season.

Top 5 New Years Resolutions

With a pretty slow week of games this week, I take a look at some New Year’s resolutions that I have put together for some individuals and teams in the Big 12.

1.Marcus Foster needs to assert himself more.

As mentioned earlier in this blog, the Wildcats are a team really struggling at the moment. The bright side? They have a guy with Big-12 first team talent on their roster, and it’s time for him to step up to the plate. There’s no denying the Wildcats miss the steady ball handling, and distribution of Will Spradling, but it’s time Marcus Foster takes over this team. He’s not playing bad, in fact he’s tearing it up from beyond the arc (.469%) but his shots are down from last year, and at times he appears to be content being a long range bomber. Foster is a better player, and leader than the way he’s been playing and my resolution for him is to not only be the guy to get his team a hoop when they need it most, but attack the hoop more and look for teammates when defenses collapse. Marcus, you don’t have to be a point guard, but you’re a good enough ball handler to work the drive and kick game and dump off to open bigs when you draw the double team in the lane. It’s not just taking more shots, it’s asserting yourself as a guard, and guy who can come up with a big play when your team is struggling.

2. Perry Ellis needs to be a model of consistency.

One of the most bi-polar performers in the Big 12 this season has been Kansas junior, Perry Ellis. The Jayhawks have been playing well enough, they only tallied two non-conference losses, beat two ranked teams, and the likes of Georgetown and Florida in the same span. That being said, this team lacks having a steady go to player down low. Ellis can be that guy, he’s a swiss army knife of low post moves, and he’s even emerging as a mid-to long range threat, but he’s a crap shoot as to whether he’ll give you more than 15 points or less than 6. In fact, when Perry goes for a double digit scoring night, the Jayhawks are 8-0. When Perry is a single digit scorer, Kansas is 1-2, and in all honestly their win against Lafayette in which Ellis dropped 4 was so lop sided he sat most of the second half. Kansas can be a really good team, but they’re not quite there yet. Having Ellis be a more steady performer and a guy to rely on when someone’s having an off night could be the difference between Kansas capturing their 11th straight Big 12 title, or this being the team to end the streak.

3.TCU needs to brace themselves.

The Horned Frogs have been kind of a fun story during this non-conference schedule. Trent Johnson and company have cruised to 13 straight victories, and even made an appearance in the AP Top 25 poll. Here’s where it gets tricky. TCU’s SOS (strength of schedule ) ranking is 346 according to ESPN.com. That’s right they played the 346th toughest non-conference schedule, and with their last wins coming against the not-so-powerhouse schools of Tennessee State, Grambling, and UT San Antonio it’s safe to say the Horned Frogs may be in for a bit of schedule shock when they play West Virginia, Kansas State, and Baylor in a 7 day span to start the Big 12 season. TCU has some nice pieces, and an enticing blend of youth and experience. I even think they’re a team who is going to better their conference record from last year by quite a bit, but they better brace themselves. There is no Prarieview A&M, Radford, or McNeese State in a game served with icing until next November.

4. Royce ONeale and Taurean Prince need to get a little praise.

Okay, so I’m not saying the Baylor wing duo needs to go around telling people how awesome they are, but I will use this segment to give Baylor’s unheralded defensive aces a little love. The Bears are off to a 10-1 start, and they’re not doing it by lighting up the scoring columns every night. Like a lot of other Big 12 squads this year, they’re winning with defense, and having a long athletic duo committed to the defensive side of the ball is major factor behind this success. Allowing only 55 points per game, holding teams to 37.8% shooting form the field, and 26.6 % from beyond the arc aided greatly by this pair of athletic wings. Baylor being primarily a zone team hasn’t had this kind of athleticism, length and fervor on their side in a number of years, and going along with the rest of the Bears who have clearly bought into this scheme make getting a bucket against anyone wearing green, or highlighter yellow in some cases, a tough task. Going into the new year, be aware of Baylor as a defensive force, and give a little praise to the best defensive duo you’ve never heard of because Royce O’Neale and Taurean Prince are tough.

5. Buddy Hield needs to realize he doesn’t have to jack 8 threes a game.

There’s no denying Buddy Hield is one of the best guards, and most capable scorers in the conference, but his shot selection this year has been very disappointing. After coming off a huge sophomore season, the 6’4’’ junior seems to have regressed after starting the season off on fire. Shooting under 40% from the field looks a lot like a three point percentage, and that’s because 56% of Hields shots are three pointers. Blessed with a strong physique and length, Buddy doesn’t have to do all his damage from 25 feet away from the basket. According to hoop-math.com, Hield takes just 27.7% of his shots at the rim, which is down from a shade over 30% as a sophomore, and 34% as a freshman. The long range shot should most certainly be a part of the Sooner’s top shooting guard’s offensive arsenal, in fact a big one, but for him to become a more efficient offensive player he needs to find a better balance between putting the ball on the floor and letting it fly from beyond the arc.

Follow David Ray on Twitter @DR_NBADraft

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