Oklahoma basketball coach Lon Kruger knows about being a well-rounded point guard. He was an All-Big Eight guard when he played at Kansas State.
But when the Sooners' coach looks at Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart, Kruger said he sees more than a good freshman point guard.
“He's one of the best players in the country,” Kruger said. “It seems like he doesn't look at himself as a freshman going against a senior.”
In Saturday's Bedlam game that Oklahoma State won in overtime, Smart led all scorers with 28 points.
“He's just a terrific player,” Kruger said of the Cowboys' freshman.
BOB HUGGINS' LOVE FOR KANSAS STATE
It's been a few years since Bob Huggins donned the purple of Kansas State. But the current West Virginia coach said Monday in the Big 12 coaches call that he loved Manhattan, Kan.
“The minute I got there, they embraced me,” Huggins said. “It's a lot like West Virginia people in I felt very much at home.”
Huggins coached the Wildcats for just one season, 2006-2007. The team went 23-12, winning its most games in almost 20 years. The next season, Huggins left to coach West Virginia.
“I've said a thousand times now,” Huggins said, “I would have never left Kansas State other than to come back home to West Virginia.”
KABONGO BACK IN ACTION FOR TEXAS
Texas guard Myck Kabongo, who served a 23-game suspension for accepting impermissible benefits, played his first week on conference play last week.
In his first two games back, an overtime win against Iowa State and a loss to Kansas, Kabongo scored 13 points each night. He's being looked at as a lift for a struggling Longhorns team. TCU coach Trent Johnson commented on the biggest difference with Kabongo back on the court.
“Transition,” Johnson said. “He creates so many opportunities for his teammates. He makes everybody better. Also him and (Javan) Felix. You've got two point guards on the floor. (Kabongo)'s a pro. The biggest difference is in transition.”
Kansas coach Bill Self on if the renovation of Oklahoma State's Gallagher-Iba Arena is too big: “I don't think so. Whoever designed that, kudos because you did not compromise one of the most historic places to play in. You didn't change it.”
Ten of the league's top 20 scorers and 11 of the top 20 rebounders are freshman, sophomores or newcomers to their respective team.
Two games separate the top six teams in the Big 12 Conference.
Of the latest RPI, the Big 12 has four teams in the top 23 and six in the top 54. Oklahoma, Kansas and Baylor also rank among the top 25 nationally in strength of schedule.