And then there were four.
Oklahoma picked up their biggest win of the season on Saturday afternoon, knocking off previously undefeated Iowa State 87-82 in Norman. And they did it despite a rough shooting night from leading scorer Cameron Clark, who finished just 4-for-16 from the floor. Buddy Hield, who has morphed into one of the nation’s most under-appreciated players, finished with 22 points, hitting six threes in the process, while big man Ryan Spangler added 16 points and 15 boards.
So congrats to the Sooners, because that’s a huge win.
But the much more important news is that the No. 9 Cyclones may have lost their best player.
Deandre Kane, who was No. 3 in our most recent Player of the Year rankings, rolled his left ankle over in the final minute. He had to be carried off the court and couldn’t stand on it while going through the handshake lines at the end of the game. Losing Kane for any significant amount of time would be just devastating for the Cyclones, as his ability to score off the dribble and create open looks for his teammates is so important for what Iowa State likes to do.
It also doesn’t help that Iowa State is just one game into what may be the toughest seven-game stretch for any team in the country this season. They played at Oklahoma today and will host No. 18 Kansas on Monday night, which means that Kane has less than 60 hours to get healthy if he wants to play in that game.
(UPDATE: Iowa State’s trainer told Travis Hines of the Ames Tribune that Kane’s ankle injury is not a dreaded high-ankle sprain and that there is nothing structurally wrong with it. No torn ligaments, no broken bones, no dislocations. That means that the amount of time that Kane misses will be a result of how much pain he can tolerate in that ankle. Putting a timeframe on it now would be foolish.)
The next five games: at Texas (18th), Kansas State (25th), at Kansas (29th), Oklahoma (Feb. 1st) and at Oklahoma State (Feb. 3rd). That stretch could be what makes or breaks Iowa State’s season. That could be what determines whether this is a team that can compete for a Big 12 title and get a top two or three seed, or if they’ll slide back to somewhere around the 7-10 game again.
Think that’s too strong?
Look at this dunk:
He also did this over the summer:
Williams is a 6-foot-7, 215 pound JuCo transfer that should provide UConn with some minutes in the frontcourt this season.
LSU has announced the addition of Oregon transfer Kavell Bigby-Williams, a 6-foot-11 junior that was the National Junior College Player of the Year as a sophomore.
Bigby-Williams, who is a native of London, averaged 3.0 points and 2.8 boards last season as the Ducks reached the Final Four, but he played the majority of the season while under investigation for an alleged sexual assault that occurred while he was at Gillette College in Wyoming.
The local County Attorney declined to charge Bigby-Williams with a crime, and Gillette College police consider the case closed.
“The university conducted a responsible and comprehensive review before approving the transfer,” a release posted on LSU’s Athletics site read, “including close coordination with Title IX officials, multiple discussions with Gillette and Oregon officials and a thorough examination of available public records.”
LSU head coach Will Wade was quoted in that release as well: “This is an issue we all take seriously and we made absolutely sure we did our due diligence before considering moving forward. Kavell understands that and has made clear to me that he’s going to repay our confidence by representing LSU with his very best on and off the court.”
Rutgers has made a potentially significant addition to their 2017 recruiting class, as four-star big man Mamadou Doucoure appears to have reclassified.
According to the Asbury Park Press, Doucoure has already enrolled in classes at Rutgers, citing a search of the university’s online database. The 6-foot-9 Doucoure was initially a member of the Class of 2017 before reclassifying to 2018, although there have been rumors that he has been trying to enroll this year.
It’s not yet clear if Doucoure will be eligible to play this season — he has not even been added to Rutgers’ roster online — but if he’s eligible, he should be able to provide rotation minutes for the Scarlet Knights.
Even if he’s not cleared to play this season, his addition matters. He’ll be able to workout with and develop in a Big Ten locker room before getting cleared to play alongside a massive 2018 recruiting class that already includes four-stars Mac McClung and Montez Mathis along with three-star prospect Ron Harper Jr.
It’s looking less and less likely that we’ll see Mitchell Robinson on a college campus this season.
Robinson, if you’ve forgotten, committed to and signed with Western Kentucky, enrolling at the school and practicing with the team over the summer. But he left Bowling Green after two weeks and has received a release to transfer out of the program.
And that’s where the difficultly here lies.
He’s a transfer, which means that, as a top ten prospect and a likely one-and-done player, he will be redshirting the only year that he is on campus unless the NCAA would provide him with a waiver, which is unlikely. After Robinson left WKU, three schools have emerged as potential landing spots: LSU, Kansas and New Orleans. LSU ended their recruitment two weeks ago. Over the weekend, Kansas head coach essentially confirmed that Robinson will not be a Jayhawks.
“I would think that we probably won’t sign anybody,” Self told the Kansas City Star.
That leaves New Orleans, his hometown school, or overseas, which is a rumor that has followed Robinson since the spring. The other option? Sitting out and training for a year, which FanRag Sports reported on Sunday is a possibility.
However you slice it, Robinson’s one-and-done year has turned into a mess. He’s still likely to end up as a first round pick — seven-footers that can do the things he does defensively don’t grow on trees — but I can’t imagine that teams are going to be clamoring to use a lottery pick on a player that just spent a year sitting out.
Texas is in Australia for their team’s summer trip, and Jericho Sims gave Longhorn fans a glimpse of why they may not miss Jarrett Allen’s athleticism all that much this season.