The Norman Transcript

Z_CNHI News Service

December 19, 2013

College basketball's snooze season almost done

(Continued)

The most interesting aspect of the season so far has been the introduction of high-level freshman phenoms. Given the hype, big things were to be expected at Kentucky, Kansas and Duke. So far, the freshmen have played well, but not like the memorable, one-and-done game-changers they were projected to be.

Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim was the first to acknowledge that not all that glitters is gold. Good players, yes; great players, no. At least so far.

“There’s no player that’s out there on the horizon that’s a Tim Duncan or a LeBron James,” he said. “I’ve seen all these guys play. I think they’re very talented players. They’re not that kind of player.”

That’s not the assessment that was expected at John Calipari U., where the freshmen had already been dubbed “the greatest class ever.”  There was banter about an undefeated season at Kentucky, but Calipari's Wildcats have already lost three games. A showdown against defending national champion Louisville is on tap for Dec. 28.

It’s been much the same at Kansas, where Andrew Wiggins arrived on campus amid comparisons to former Jayhawk star Wilt Chamberlain. Three early-season losses have tempered those comments, but Kansas has played the toughest schedule of the major powers so far, much to its credit.

Duke is off to an 8-2 start and looks to have the best freshman in the country in 6-foot-8 Jabari Parker, who is averaging 22 points a game. The Blue Devils have been ranked in the Top 10 dating back 222 games. That’s likely to continue.

All these teams should survive the two month-plus grind of conference games to play in the NCAA Tournament in March. How far they go will depend on whether the freshmen have matured as college players and shaken off bad habits from high school and AAU.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Z_CNHI News Service
  • 20140729-AMX-GIVHAN292.jpg Spanx stretches into new territory with jeans, but promised magic is elusive

    The Spanx empire of stomach-flattening, thigh-slimming, jiggle-reducing foundation garments has expanded to include what the brand promises is the mother of all body-shaping miracles: Spanx jeans.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Sideshows involving Rice and Dungy stain NFL's image

    Pro football training camps should be all about, well, football. But the talk around the NFL is about Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice's two-game suspension, Tony Dungy's indelicate remarks about Michael Sam and Jim Irsay's largesse. What kind of league is Roger Goodell running?

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Medical marijuana opponents' most powerful argument is at odds with a mountain of research

    Opponents of marijuana legalization are rapidly losing the battle for hearts and minds. Simply put, the public understands that however you measure the consequences of marijuana use, the drug is significantly less harmful to users and society than tobacco or alcohol.

    July 29, 2014

  • linda-ronstadt.jpg Obama had crush on First Lady of Rock

    Linda Ronstadt remained composed as she walked up to claim her National Medal of Arts at a White House ceremony Monday afternoon.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can black women have it all?

    In a powerful new essay for the National Journal, my friend Michel Martin makes a compelling case for why we need to continue the having-it-all conversation.

    July 29, 2014

  • Dangerous Darkies Logo.png Redskins not the only nickname to cause a stir

    Daniel Snyder has come under fire for refusing to change the mascot of his NFL team, the Washington Redskins. The Redskins, however, are far from being the only controversial mascot in sports history.  Here is a sampling of athletic teams from all areas of the sports world that were outside the norm.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • 'Rebel' mascot rising from the dead

    Students and alumni from a Richmond, Va.-area high school are seeking to revive the school's historic mascot, a Confederate soldier known as the "Rebel Man," spurring debate about the appropriateness of public school connections to the Civil War and its icons.

    July 28, 2014

  • Fast food comes to standstill in China

    The shortage of meat is the result of China's latest food scandal, in which a Shanghai supplier allegedly tackled the problem of expired meat by putting it in new packaging and shipping it to fast-food restaurants around the country

    July 28, 2014

  • wd saturday tobias .jpg Stranger’s generosity stuns Ohio veteran

    Vietnam War veteran David A. Tobias was overwhelmed recently when a fellow customer at an OfficeMax store near Ashtabula, Ohio paid for a computer he was purchasing.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 1.33.11 PM.png VIDEO: High-dive accident caught on tape

    A woman at a water park in Idaho leaped off a 22-foot high dive platform, then tried to pull herself back up with frightening results. Fortunately, she escaped with only a cut to her finger.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo