NORMAN — Freshmen became the driving force in college basketball since the NBA outlawed drafting high school players in 2006.
The Big 12 Conference has its share of potential one-and-done freshmen again this season. Kansas’ Ben McLemore, Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart and Baylor’s Isaiah Austin all have that potential.
However, it’s seniors and juniors that are dominating the statistics in the league.
Of the 10 leading scorers in the conference only McLemore (16.1 points per game) and Smart (13.2) are freshmen. Four among that group are seniors — Baylor’s Pierre Jackson (18.4), Kansas State’s Rodney McGruder (15.3), Iowa State’s Will Clyburn (14.4) and Oklahoma’s Romero Osby (14.4).
Here’s how critical seniors have been in the league thus far. The teams with winning conference records Kansas (6-0), Baylor (5-1), Kansas State (4-2), Iowa State (4-2) and OU (4-2), all have at least two senior starters.
“Experience is always important. If you have the choice, you’d like to have the experience,” OU coach Lon Kruger. “Although, the young guys that have come into the league are playing well and having success. I think experienced leadership is always important.”