Not that anyone cares (or really listens) to what I think, but I have some ideas for what Coach Ford and the Cowboys should try for 2012.
Ford, in his end-of-the-year self-exit-interview said OSU would finally do what he came here to do all along. Run, score, fly around, and run some more. If that’s the case, and I have no reason to believe it isn’t, then I propose the following starting five for the 2011-2012 season. And yes I realize there could be some more minor (or major) changes with the Darrell Williams situation, transfers, and scholarship offers.
1. Reger Dowell – I debated this one for a while, erasing Guerrero’s name about six different times before finally penciling in Dowell. The list of freshmen PG who have succeeded in Big 12 play over the last decade includes T.J. Ford and….that’s it. The competition between the two will be good but this is Dowell’s spot to lose.
2. Markel Brown – Where’s Keiton? We’ll get to that later, but I really think Markel is going to be the x-factor for this team. I’ve said it about a hundred times but if he can develop any semblance of a 12-foot J to go with his ability to get the bucket and his year of experience in the Big 12, he’s going to be tough to keep off at least the All-Big 12 third team. While we’re here, I think I’ve decided that Brown is basically the perfect college player for this era. He has no delusions that he’s ready to play professionally but he’s just close enough to the threshold to make you believe he could. So he’s never going to leave because the risk is too great and you’re going to get four outstanding years out of him. Long live the underrated four-star recruit!
3. JPO – I’ve seen a lot of projections that have him coming off the bench next season which I just don’t understand. Yes his home/away splits are bizarre but he accounted for 16% of this team’s points and 25% of its free throws (which is kind of crazy when you think about it). He’s NBA athletic and can absolutely be All-Conference if Ford can get him a map for road games.
4. LeBryan Nash – Is he a true four? No. Do I think he could be a part of a mini-positional revolution (as explained here by FreeDarko)? Absolutely. For those of you who didn’t click that link, the positional revolution is this idea that players are not defined, as they once were, by the traditional adjectives that seem to correlate with each position on a basketball court. The 1 is supposed to be quick and pass well, the 2 is supposed to be a shooter, the 3 a defender and scorer, the 4 a rebounder, and the 5 a rim-protecting shot blocking beast. KG, FreeDarko argues, changed it all. Nash could do the same if Ford chooses to stick to his aforementioned plan.
5. Michael Cobbins – We still haven’t seen the guy Marshall Moses recently called “a skinny Marcus Morris” so this is me going out on the proverbial ledge, but at what expense? Who else was I going to put there? Shaw can absolutely be a quality backup but will he be ready to start in the bloodthirsty Big 12? Not a chance.
I’m sure all the Keiton apologists didn’t make it this far in the post (and have stopped following me on Twitter) but if they are still reading, let me explain. I love Keiton, I mean I LOVE him. I made him my 2010-2011 MVP in a recent podcast with Q. I just don’t think it’s best for him to start on this team. That doesn’t mean he’s not going to (he is), only that I don’t think he should.
He’s a quality division 1 basketball player, not the go-to guy on a tournament team. It’s just not who he is, not who we ever envisioned him to be. Humor me briefly and imagine him coming off the bench, gunning from the Pete head, providing a shooting spark when JPO and Markel can’t throw it in the ocean. Imagine him staring at the (hopefully full) 300-level and unleashing one of his patented GIA screams after stroking one right in front of Rick Barnes and his crooked ear. The guy was born to be an all-time sixth man, and since Travis Ford (Danny O’Grady) should be fairly familiar with the term I hope he follows suit.