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Big 12 basketball notebook: OU's Lon Kruger impressed with Cowboys' Marcus Smart

Kruger said: “He's a fantastic player. Great feel for making plays at great times.”
Oklahoman Published: January 7, 2013
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photo - Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart passes the ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Kansas State, Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, in Manhattan, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) ORG XMIT: KSCR103
Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart passes the ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Kansas State, Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, in Manhattan, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) ORG XMIT: KSCR103

THE FAB FRESHMAN

Look across the Big 12 and a freshman's name is bound to be at the top of the statistics list for most of the teams. A handful of coaches from across the league agreed that the talent this year from freshmen is noticeable.

OSU's Smart was the name mentioned most, but there's also Javan Felix at Texas and Isaiah Austin at Baylor. Buddy Hield is beginning to make a name for himself at Oklahoma.

“The talent level with freshmen is terrific, but it's the same every year,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “Baylor's recruited the top players in the country in the last three years. Texas is always good. We have great evaluators of talent in this league.”

QUICK HITS

Six Big 12 teams are in the top 54 for RPI.

Self said he's never seen a better shot blocker than his senior center, Jeff Withey.

Texas coach Rick Barnes said his team doesn't like being called young or immature; he said the Longhorns are 8-6 because they aren't doing things consistently.

QUOTABLE

West Virginia coach Bob Huggins on what it will take for the Mountaineers to turn their season around: “At the risk of sounding simplistic, it'd be nice to make a shot every once in a while.”