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.
One of the top points guards in the Class of 2017 has trimmed his list of potential collegiate destinations to six.
Trae Young, a consensus top-25 recruit, listed Texas Tech, Kansas, Oklahoma, Washington, Oklahoma State and Kentucky as the schools he is considering as he readies to begin his senior year of high school.
The list of the 6-foot-2 point guard is largely provincial as it includes Oklahoma, whose campus is just minutes away from Young’s Norman North High School, and fellow in-state school Oklahoma. Another pair of Big 12 schools make the list in powerhouse Kansas and the Red Raiders, whose first-year coach, Chris Beard, has spent the bulk of his career working in Texas. Texas Tech is also Young’s father’s alma mater. Washington has been on a role sending its players to the pros and recently received the commitment of top-five 2017 recruit Michael Porter, Jr.
Kentucky, of course, needs no explanation as to its attractiveness to high-level players.
Clemson will get a four-star recruit on campus a year earlier than it expected, though his on-court debut for the Tigers will remain on schedule.
A.J. Oliver, a guard from South Carolina, will enroll early at Clemson and redshirt this upcoming season, he announced via social media Wednesday.
“I woke up this morning and realized that the greatest opportunity for me is to enroll early into Clemson,” he wrote on Twitter. “I will redshirt a year & start my college career early.”
Oliver, whose mother is the head women’s basketball coach at Clemson, was a consensus top-100 player in the class of 2017 who committed to the Tigers last December. Texas Tech and the College of Charleston were involved before his commitment.
A three-star shooting guard, Scott Spencer of Virginia, was previously the only member coach Brad Brownell’s 2016 class. While Oliver’s decision to redshirt will keep him off the court for the 2016-17 season, he’ll have spent a full season in the Tiger program before making his debut in 2017
The cupboard isn’t bare in 2017 for the Tigers due to Oliver’s reclassification because Clemson received a commitment from power forward Malik Williams, a consensus top-150 player, earlier Wednesday.
Kentucky used Calipari-Chaney fight in media training
Kentucky held some media training sessions yesterday, and one of the topics that head coach John Calipari used to make a point was … his blow-up with John Chaney. The moment was captured on SnapChat by a trio of Kentucky newcomers.
You remember that incident. Chaney, then the head coach at Temple, and Cal, who was coaching Atlantic 10 rival UMass at the time, nearly came to blows over the way that Cal handled officials during the game. Before the video below picks up, the two shared this exchange:
“Could I say this to you, please?” Chaney said, before the video above picks up. “You’ve got a good ball club. But what you did with the officials out there is wrong, and I don’t want to be a party to that. You understand?”
Cal responded: “You weren’t out there, Coach. You don’t have any idea.”
Chaney fired back: “You got a game given to you by officials right here with G.W. on three bad calls, O.K.? Then you send your kids out there pushing and shoving. You had the best officiating you could ever get here. And for you to ride them, I don’t want to be a party to that.”