Welcome to the HCS Big 12 Basketball mailbag. This mailbag is for all you basketball junkies out there who root for a Big 12 school who not only have questions about your team, but other teams in the conference. So, join me, grab a cold brew or your favorite drink and relax as I answer all your Big 12 Basketball questions in my mailbag, which will appear each Friday.
I will pick the best question for each mailbag and label it as my question of the week. The winner gets a free HCS Koozie to keep your beer cold (Unless you like it warm, but that’s just plain wrong). I want to thank each one of you who submitted a question this week, and while my HCS colleague Derek Duke does this with a beer for his football mailbag, I tend to lean toward a Vodka and soda. This will be the fourth mailbag of the Big 12 Conference season. Thank you so much for your support and keep our Mailbag in mind as you think of more Big 12 questions. Cheers!
We have two questions. We start with the upcoming Big 12 Awards.
@ColeLinton3 asked “Who’s your 6th man of the year for the b12”
I think many of the Big 12 postseason awards are basically wrapped up. I think this one could see an interesting name bubble to the surface. I actually wrote a piece last week predicting who would win the postseason awards, and my choice for Sixth Man of the Year was Terrence Shannon Jr. from Texas Tech.
Since head coach Chris Beard moved Shannon back to the bench in mid-January, I think he’s been the most consistent six man in the conference. He comes off the bench and creates an immediate offensive impact, along with good defense and solid rebounding. He spent most of non-conference as a starter, so he’s basically a ‘sixth’ starter on this team. But with this configuration of the Red Raiders, he’s the perfect player to come off the bench and I think he’s pointed toward claiming this award.
But he isn’t the only player worth a look. West Virginia guard Sean McNeil is starting to heat up, now that he’s gotten comfortable coming off the bench. Texas forward Kai Jones has been a consistent Sixth Man for Texas all season. Oklahoma’s Umoja Gibson is one of the best 3-point shooters in the conference. You can also include Baylor guard Adam Flagler another consistent bench performer since the start of the season.
Disclaimer: I put a significant emphasis on what players do in conference play when it comes to these awards. If I had chosen this award in non-conference, I would have picked West Virginia guard Taz Sherman. But now that Sherman is an entrenched starter for the Mountaineers, Shannon’s play in league action makes him, in my opinion, the one to beat.
From @ColeConverseIA: “Which fanbase intensity feeling is currently greatest?”
A. Iowa State love for Matt Campbell
B. Iowa State disdain for Steve Prohm
C. Texas Tech disdain for Matt Wells
D. Texas Tech love for Chris Beard
I LOVE multiple choice. But this is a tough one.
Lately, whenever I write a piece about Steve Prohm, as I did the other day, I get a lot of reaction from Cyclones fans. Some want to run him out of town, others just want him to turn it around. But I always say that love is more intense than hate, and certainly more intense. So I have to look at Matt Campbell and Chris Beard and I say to myself, ‘Wow I’m not sure.’
These are two fan bases that are loving life right now. What Chris Beard has done for Red Raiders basketball is unprecedented in the program’s history. Gerald Myers, James Dickey and Bob Knight all had their moments. But Bears has turned the Red Raiders into a basketball school.
And I know that it’s supposed to be a basketball mailbag, but imagine a world if Iowa State wins a Big 12 title in football? Fred Hoiberg is no longer ‘The Mayor.’ Whenever someone, including myself, writes a piece about Campbell’s potential job prospects outside of Ames, it’s like the entire city circles the wagons. I can’t blame them. Campbell just led the Cyclones to their first 10-win season in program history, reached the Big 12 title game for the first time and looks poised to replicate that next season. As great as Beard’s run has been an Lubbock, Campbell’s run in Ames has the potential to be even more meaningful to that fan base.
So if I’m grading by greatest intensity, it’s Campbell, Beard, Prohm, and finally Matt Wells. I mean he’s only been there two years. Cut him a little slack, will ya Lubbock?
Finally, I’ll leave you with this.
I mean, seriously. This is going to live on forever. And the presence of mind to stop mid-tirade and fist bump Bob Huggins was just incredible on Chris Beard’s part.
Talk to you next week. If you have a question, hit me up on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.