Big 12 Hoops Conference Call

This week we wonder if there is trouble on the horizon for Texas A&M, tackle the Cousy Award nominations, and talk transfer waivers. The questions are below. Leave us your thoughts in the comments.

1. How worried should Texas A&M be after their poor showing against Florida last Saturday?

2. Speaking of being worried, should Jayhawk fans be concerned after Davidson beat Kansas on Monday?

3. This season's Bob Cousy Award nominees have been released. Has anyone been overlooked or put on the list undeservedly? If you were giving the award out now, who would you give it to?

4. Cal transfer guard Gary Franklin played his first game with the Bears in last Saturday's win over BYU. What kind of contribution do you think he'll make during conference play? (Somewhat unrelated, but in the spirit of the season: Did you see this on Saturday?).

5. St. Joe's denial of a waiver for grad student Todd O'Brien to play at UAB has been making news. What do you think about the situation?

Our answers, after the Jump.

1. How worried should Texas A&M be after their poor showing against Florida last Saturday?

Evan Pfaff: Man, how bad did the Aggies look? I was concerned before about their lack of offense, but thought Khris Middleton's return would spark them in a new direction. I also think that we shouldn't jump off the deep end, though, since it was only one game. But with that said, if the Aggies can't start to score some points it will be difficult for them to win once Big 12 play begins.

Nathan Kotisso: This is a great example of how a weak non-con schedule can hurt good teams like the Aggies. Florida was their one shot before Big 12 play to show they could hang in the top 25 of college basketball but they blew it. I think they should really be worried headed into the new year. It's unfortunate because they do have the formula for being a contender: talent, veterans and a good coach.

Joe Loyd: I think they need to very worried as they seem like they can't score the basketball. On a personal note I would find it somewhat amusing if A&M has a disappointing year in basketball like they did in football since they thought they were too good for the Big 12.

E. Carnes: That was some pretty ugly basketball. I think at one time it was 50-25. I wasn't too worried about A&M before this game, but now I wonder if their (lack of) offense is going to cause some big problems. True that every team has an off night or two, but I think this portends trouble down the line.

2. Speaking of being worried, should Jayhawk fans be concerned after Davidson beat Kansas on Monday?

EP: I also chalk that up to a bad night. Look at the percentages, KU hit just 26.1% from behind the arc and 58.1% from the line. But the most telling stat of all was that they got just 6 points off their bench. Compare that to the 21 they got off the bench against Ohio State, and you can see how they might lose. Now nobody said KU had the deepest bench around, and with Tyshawn Taylor out they're even more shallow, but the fact is that in their 3 losses they have scored a grand total of 19 points off the bench (13 vs Kentucky, 0 vs Duke, 6 vs Davidson). Thomas Robinson can only do so much.

NK: That Davidson team they lost to are no chumps at all. I wouldn't dare be worried about a Bill Self coached team.

JL: I don't think they really need to be worried, most KU fans I believe have come to the realization that this year's squad just doesn't have a large margin for error. The depth is not anywhere near where it needs to be. All that being the case I am still picking them to win the conference at this point.

EC: Unlike A&M, Kansas doesn't worry me. I agree with everyone — Davidson's pretty good and Kansas is still Kansas. The Jayhawks may not have much depth, but they're tough and adaptable. Having Taylor back will help a lot, though.

3. This season's Bob Cousy Award nominees have been released. Has anyone been overlooked or put on the list undeservedly? If you were giving the award out now, who would you give it to?

EP: Slam dunk, Phil Pressey. He is the most electrifying guard in the conference now and was left off. I happened to catch a University of Denver vs Iona game recently and was thoroughly impressed with Iona's Scott Machado. The guy averages 10 assists per game while scoring 15.1 a night. Granted the Gaels haven't played the most difficult schedule in the nation, but against the two BCS teams he faced -- Purdue and Maryland -- he registered point/assist double-doubles in both.

NK: Obviously the one name missing from this list is Phil Pressey of Missouri. One of the many things Cousy was great at was his ability to pass the ball and Pressey is tied for first in the Big 12 in assists per game. Doesn't make sense.

JL: It's hard to say anyone either being overlooked since the initial nominees is a huge list of players. While I think he made some stupid comments I think the best choice is Tu Holloway from Xavier.

EC: I absolutely agree about Phil Pressey. And I'd add South Dakota State's Nate Wolters. Didn't they leave off Jordan Taylor last year? I'm pulling for him this year. I like the way Holloway has been playing, but I'm sure there's some off-court leadership component of the award.

4. Cal transfer guard Gary Franklin played his first game with the Bears in last Saturday's win over BYU. What kind of contribution do you think he'll make during conference play? (Somewhat unrelated, but in the spirit of the season: Did you see this on Saturday?).

EP: Well first, BYU students are too nice... I think Franklin will be a nice addition to the Bears, who add another piece to their weakest link, the backcourt. With Franklin, Brady Heslip, A.J. Walton, Deuce Bello and Pierre Jackson they have themselves a more-than-serviceable backcourt to team up with their tremendously talented frontcourt.

NK: I have no idea. They are so deep at the guard positions that someone's regular minutes may be rolled back to make room. I'd hate for it to be Pierre Jackson to have his minutes reduced because he's becoming a consistent player, but that's the price Scott Drew may have to pay for having such a talented team.

JL: To be honest I am not real sure how much of a contributor he will be for the Bears as I really haven't seen him play very much. I would say right now the goal would just be to give some solid minutes which involve some handling of the ball without turning the ball over and chipping in a few points every so often.

EC: So nice — playing BYU is like playing Whoville. As for Franklin, I think it'll be good that Drew will have more options to fiddle with the backcourt lineup. I do think Pierre Jackson has been doing a solid job, though.

5. St. Joe's denial of a waiver for grad student Todd O'Brien to play at UAB has been making news. What do you think about the situation?

EP: Phil Martelli needs to let him go. What's the big deal? This guy averaged 1 ppg and 1.3 rpg last year, so it's not like he's keeping this big weapon from competing against him. He's also not transferring to a school in his conference, or on his schedule. So what's the big deal? Let the kid be a kid and play college basketball.

NK: All blame goes to coach Phil Martelli. A student-athlete wanted to transfer from St. Joe's to attend a different school that has a graduate degree in his major and career of choice. Even if O'Brien "wronged" Martelli in any way that's no excuse to put a young man's future in limbo. Martelli should have been an adult about it and allow O'Brien to play basketball at UAB. This will ultimately hurt him and St. Joe's on the recruiting trail, as recruits might see the program as one they can never leave once they get in.

JL: Wow, hadn't heard that story, that is a damn good read. Feel bad for the kid, even though you only hear one side of the story there it makes you hope that St. Joe's is getting tons of emails and complaints.

EC: Yeah, it sure seems like Phil Martelli is making a point at a kid's expense. It's a basketball team, not the mob — O'Brien should be able to leave. As of posting this, St. Joe's hasn't released anything but a perfunctory statement about NCAA rules (Surely it's defcon 5 in St. Joe's PR department now. When are they releasing something else?). This is just part of a larger, more complicated conversation about the imbalance of power between the schools and their student athletes.

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