Restoring Order

Player of the Week

Devonte Graham - Kansas

Devonte GrahamDevonte GrahamKansas’ star player had yet another impressive week. Devonte Graham started the week with a near triple-double in a win over West Virginia. The senior guard recorded 15 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists. He followed that performance with a 23-point, 7-assist, 5-rebound game in a convincing win over Oklahoma in which he outplayed Trae Young. All-in-all he averaged 19 points, 7 assists, and 6.5 rebounds for the course of the week.

Graham leads the Kansas roster in points, assists, and steals per game, as most of the offense is run through the senior. Kansas has been the one Big 12 team that hasn’t seem to hit the wall this year as so many others have. They have taken the conference lead over Texas Tech who they play this week which could very well decide the winner of the regular season championship. Watch out for Graham to make one last push in the closing games of the season.

Who’s Hot

Udoka Azubuike - Kansas

The man in the middle for Kansas has been phenomenal this year. Udoka Azubuike has been as efficient as anyone in the country shooting a nation-leading 77% from the field. He’s missed a collective three shots in his past four games while averaging 14.5 points in that span. The 7-foot Nigerian has been able to overcome the lack of depth in the front court for Kansas and provide a consistent big body in the paint for the Jayhawks.

Azubuike has seen a bit of an issue with getting in foul trouble which sometimes restricts his minutes on the floor but he seems to use foul trouble as motivation to make the most of each second he’s out there. Conditioning might be a bit of an issue as well as he’s only logged 30 minutes in five game this season, even when he’s not in foul trouble. Regardless, Azubuike is a very intriguing prospect since he picked up basketball relatively late into his life. Many think he is just starting to tap into his overall potential which could see him being selected in the lottery of the next NBA draft.

Cameron Lard – Iowa State

Even though Iowa State as a team as been struggling mightily recently, Cam Lard has been a huge bright spot in the Cyclone system. Lard has 4 straight games with 15+ points, and 16 of his last 18 games have been in double-digit scoring. Very possibly the most consistent performer on the talented Iowa State team, the freshman has thrown his name amongst the best bigs in the country in terms of efficiency. He has shot under 50% in just three games this season and is shooting just under 65% overall.

It’s easy for Lard to be overlooked due to the other dynamic players on the Iowa State roster. Lindell Wingginton has received a majority of the freshman hype for Lard’s class, Donovan Jackson is the senior leader who can go off on any given night, and Nick Weiler Babb is a triple double threat each night he steps on the court. However, Lard might just be the best of all of them. It’s unlikely that Iowa State will make the NCAA Tournament but Lard would’ve been a fun watch in postseason play.

Who’s Not

Trae Young - Oklahoma

On strictly a numbers perspective, you’d think I’m crazy for putting Trae Young on the Who’s Not list, unfortunately it’s not that simple. While Young does put up 20+ points and 7+ assists on a gamely basis, things have NOT come easy for the freshman star. In his last 8 games, Young has shot under 40% six times, something he did just six times in his first 19 games of his career. It’s also not showing any signs of turning around. Over the last four games, Young is shooting just 29% on 71 shots. What’s even more concerning in his three-point shooting. The skill that drew comparisons to Steph Curry have seem to have disappeared. Young is shooting just 15% from three-point range on 32 attempts over his last four games.

I don’t want to say the magic is gone, but it’s definitely missing. Oklahoma has been playing…not the best basketball. Okay I’ll say it, it’s terrible basketball. Trae Young’s struggles are definitely a large part of the struggle and unless he fixes his shot selection and decision making, Oklahoma is in a lot of trouble.

Oklahoma Sooners

As stated above Trae Young’s struggles have contributed heavily to Oklahoma’s issues, but one player doesn’t account for the complete meltdown that is the Oklahoma season. The Sooners started off 16-2 this season… they are now 18-11. They’ve lost 9 of their last 11 games, including six straight. It’s been almost a full month since Oklahoma has felt the feeling of a victory.

Oklahoma has fallen to 8th in the Big 12 and have lost to every team in the conference besides TCU and Baylor. They went from potential 2-3 seed in the tournament to now potentially missing it all together. The season has fallen apart for Oklahoma and Trae Young needs to turn it on quick if Oklahoma wants to see the same level of success as the beginning of the year.

Top Five Incoming Recruits

1. Silvio De Sousa – PF, Kansas

I know technically Silvio De Sousa is already on the Kansas roster but since he joined midway through the year, he hasn’t been getting used much. De Sousa is a valuable power forward who provides depth in the backcourt for the Jayhawks. De Sousa is an athletic body that excels in transition. He can lead the break and finish it. He was lucky enough to get an early start at Kansas which should allow him to be even more impactful next season for Bill Self.

2. Quentin Grimes – SG, Kansas

Quentin Grimes is a consensus Top 10 player in the next recruiting class and for good reason. Grimes is a physical combo-guard who can both score and make plays for his teammates. What really separates Grimes from the rest of his class is his ability to grab rebounds at a high rate and quickly start the fast break offense. Grimes isn’t necessarily a true point guard, but I believe Bill Self might let him try out the point guard role a little bit as we’ve seen Self’s ability to create dynamic point guards in years past.

3. David McCormack – C, Kansas

David McCormack is a huge body at 6’10” 255lbs. DeCormack is a stereotypical center, good post moves, quick decision making, and very strong. If Kansas decides to run a McCormack, Azubuike set next season, they might be two of the biggest and most dominant pair of bigs in the entire nation. If McCormack can build a little more of an athletic frame, he could very well be one of the next great Kansas big men.

4. Gerald Liddell – SF, Texas

Personally, I think Liddell is one of the more underrated prospects in the recruiting class. He’s ranked at #43 in the nation, but I think he could very well be top 25. Liddell is modern-day wing, long, thin, athletic, has handles, good court vision, and solid shooting form. Shaka Smart landed a real baller here. Liddell is really at his best in transition and reminds me a little bit of Brandon Ingram. The only worry I have for Liddell is his quickness on the first step. However, I’m not too worried as Coach Smart will be sure to make the most of Liddell and make the most of his potential.

5. Devon Dotson – PG, Kansas

Devon Dotson is in line to be the next Kansas point guard to lead the team to success. He has a similar frame to Devonte Graham and a relatively similar play style. Dotson uses his dribble skills to get by defenders and make plays for both himself and his teammates. He’s quick, he’s smooth, he’s athletic, he’s skilled. He has all the tools to make him great, and although many would argue he should be higher on this list, I think it speaks to the talent of incoming freshman for the Big 12.

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