My man Rob Dauster laid out the case for Arizona State as a potential Top 25 team earlier this month, while stopping just short of actually assigning them one of the coveted preseason numbers. It’s a reasonable precaution – we’ve seen Herb Sendek do more with less and less with more and we’re all waiting to see what the punchline will be.
Looking at the team on paper, the case is strong. They have a lightning-quick, creative point guard in Jahii Carson, and a bulky, defensive-minded center in Jordan Bachynski. Around the inside-out duo is a collection of talent that can wreak havoc if harnessed properly.
One player who doesn’t get mentioned as often is freshman Shaquielle McKissic. He’s inarguably skilled, but he’s also raw. Evidence of how he’d play on hardwood was required in order to lend credence to his paper credentials.
Now Sun Devils fans have the evidence they covet. McKissic threw down 33 points in a scrimmage observed by 3,000 fans and media members, and his coach had good things to say about what he saw.
If McKissic delivers on his early promise, and Carson and Sendek can weld Arizona State’s individuals into a high-functioning team, That “Also Receiving Votes” spot may be just a pit stop on the way to a Top 25 ranking.
Colorado sophomore forward Tory Miller has been reprimanded by the Pac-12 and he also apologized for biting Air Force’s Hayden Graham earlier this week.
During Colorado’s win over Air Force on Wednesday, Miller was assessed a Flagrant 2 Dead Ball Technical Foul and ejected with 12:25 left in the second half after biting Graham during a loose ball.
In a release from the Pac-12, they announced reprimanding Miller, but he will not be suspended.
“All of our student-athletes must adhere to the Pac-12’s Standards of Conduct and Sportsman-ship,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said in the release. “Regardless of Mr. Miller’s frustration and emotion, such behavior is unacceptable and he is being appropriately reprimanded.”
Miller also released his apology in the same release.
“I would like to apologize for my actions during the Air Force game. I would like to apologize to Hayden Graham, Air Force, my teammates and fans. It was a heat of the moment thing. I’m an emotional player, but I let my emotions get the best of me. I will use this as a learning experience and focus on helping my teammates and respecting my opponents for the rest of the season and beyond,” Miller said.
For Miller to not be suspended for this is good news for him and Colorado since he won’t miss any additional action, but did the Pac-12 make the right decision on this?
Michigan State has climbed on the back of star senior wing Denzel Valentine early in the season but they’ll undoubtedly need more help as the season goes on if they want to sustain their current top-5 ranking. One of the keys to the Spartans could be the on-going health of sophomore point guard Lourawls ‘Tum Tum’ Nairn, who is battling a foot injury.
According to a report from Kyle Austin of MLive.com, Nairn has been putting on a protective boot the last few months to help battle plantar fasciitis as the guard has been playing in practices and hasn’t had his minutes reduced in games.
The injury looked like it was hurting Nairn’s early-season play, but he’s been very good in two games at the Wooden Legacy in California this week, so it could be that he’s getting more used to playing through the pain of the injury.
If Nairn is healthy and capable of contributing, he’s a huge boost to Michigan State because he’s one of the fastest players in college basketball and an additional ball handler on the floor. Through six games so far this season, Nairn is averaging 5.3 points and 4.7 assists per game as he’s been one of the team’s best distributors.
Plantar fasciitis can be a tough injury to fight through, so we’ll have to see if this affects Nairn as the season goes along.