College Basketball Notebook Example:
BIG 12 Notebook
The Sports Xchange
BAYLOR: The loss of Epke Udoh will impact Baylor profoundly on the court -- particularly if coach Scott Drew sticks with a primarily zone-based defense. But Udoh's decision to leave early opened, somewhat unexpectedly, a scholarship Drew was able to use to lure two other athletic big men to campus. The big name is power forward Perry Jones, a 6-11 forward who was one of the top overall recruits in the 2010 class.
COLORADO: Coach Jeff Bzdelik leaving for Wake Forest was a no-brainer in terms of basketball prestige. But the coach did turn a few heads on his way out the door with these comments about leaving CU being "maybe the toughest decision I've ever had to make. It was painful."
IOWA STATE: The Cyclones were jolted by center Justin Hamilton's recent decision to transfer. He said initially he wanted out of his scholarship because he wanted to be closer to his home in Utah. But Hamilton didn't consider schools in that region and quickly settled on LSU. Backup point guard Maquis Gilstrap also opted to transfer.
KANSAS: The Jayhawks lost three key parts from the team that spent most of the 2009-10 season ranked in the top two in both polls -- Sherron Collins, Cole Aldrich and Xavier Henry -- and coach Bill Self needed a salve for those open wounds and the painful bruises remaining from the stunning NCAA Tournament loss to Northern Iowa. Then came the recruiting coup of Self's year -- maybe the past two or three -- when explosive guard Josh Selby turned away Kentucky, among other, to join KU. "This is a big day for our basketball program," Self said. "We felt like losing the caliber players we lost off of last year's team, that we really needed to hit a home run from a talent standpoint in the spring signing and we've done that with Josh."
KANSAS STATE: Kansas State could begin getting more points inside as long as F Curtis Kelly continues to realize his potential with a deadly hook shot, and F Wally Judge capitalizes on a late-season surge as sub with McDonald's All-America credibility. G Jacob Pullen will be the key Wildcat, both as a deadly outside shooter and the man who will impact the offense the most if he replaces Denis Clemente at the point.
MISSOURI: F Justin Safford suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. The Missouri staff initially hoped for a possibility that Safford may return during last season, but instead opted to let the starter rehabilitate. He should be healthy by the start of the 2010-11 season.
NEBRASKA: Another offseason, another line of "badgering" of head coach Doc Sadler about the Cornhuskers' ongoing theme -- attrition. In his fourth season, Sadler has now lost 10 scholarship players. "I don't care how many it is," Sadler said, "because one thing's for sure, if it's one guy that's not on board, next thing you know there will be four. Next thing you know there will be six."
OKLAHOMA: Point guard Tommy Mason-Griffin, a high school All-American who was inconsistent as a freshman, will be asked to handle the Sooners' primary ball-handling and defensive signal-caller roles with Willie Warren gone after his sophomore season. Mason-Griffin has been mostly a scorer in the past but coach Jeff Capel is pushing him to play the "combo" role.
OKLAHOMA STATE: F J.P. Olukemi was rated by some services as the nation's top junior college prospects and will arrive at Oklahoma State next season with three years of eligibility. He should provide an impact inside, while two prep signees, G Markel Brown and G Brian Williams, could present matchup problems as outside shooters with size.
TEXAS: Settling on a point guard is a priority for coach Rick Barnes. Freshman Avery Bradley plans to remain in the NBA draft, which whittled the field to mostly underdogs. Before he was lost to injury midway through Big 12 play, G Dogus Balbay had the best assist-to-turnover ratio in the league, though opponents played off him because he was not a threat to score. G Jordan Hamilton showed the capacity to handle more minutes playing mostly off the bench last season.
TEXAS A&M: G Dash Harris controls the offense but needs a boost in the form of a consistent outside shooting threat. B.J. Holmes has incredible range but his streaky side surfaced in a second-round loss to Purdue in the NCAA Tournament; he went 0-fot-5 from 3-point range. Frankly, consistency will be a factor among all the returnees since Donald Sloan isn't around to take the ball in the clutch.
TEXAS TECH: Coach Pat Knight hasn't bothered with shooting drills and isn't concerned about offensive prowess. His message this summer has been simple and direct. The program's foundation has to be defense. "It's all about defense," he said. "You've got to have killer instinct and you've got to guard people."