Thursday, November 1, 2007

More KU News and The Opening Installment of Our Top 25

While basking in the verbal commitments of Marcus and Markieff Morris this morning, I've been perusing the usual blogs, sites, and message boards for scoops for you my peeps.'s Andy Katz (who for some reason I get mistaken for from time to time - Andy must be a handsome man) led his daily word insider blog with a few KU tidbits including:

Self said senior Rodrick Stewart has taken advantage of Brandon Rush's absence to carve out a role for himself on the squad. Self said Stewart has been a consistent performer, being active around the basketball and staying vocal. Mario Chalmers, Sherron Collins and Russell Robinson are the stable guards with Rush being the fourth member of the rotation (obviously the first once he's healthy). Now, Stewart has been added to the mix to get quality playing time. Rush can move down to small forward, so the Jayhawks can go with a smaller lineup at times if need be.

Per Katz, it looks as though Rush is ahead of schedule on recovery from his torn ACL and could be cleared for full contact practices by the end of November. To me, no need to "Rush" Brandon. Let the depth and experience take over, we are gonna need Brandon full strength in March. As KU fans all know, that's all that seems to matter to the Phog Phanatics anymore.

With that, here is my first installment of the preseason Top 25 in College Hoops. Today you get teams 25-21. Here's a hint - KU isn't listed here.

25. Kansas State - Ok, we'll bite. Freshman Michael Beasley thinks he is going to be this year's Kevin Durant. He will the Big 12 conference. Beasley is 6'10 with big time game and the arrogance to back it up. He has already declared that K-State will end the Bramlage jinx against Kansas AND the 'Cats will win in Lawrence. Wow. Former prep stud Bill Walker would be in the NBA right now if it weren't for a torn ACL suffered last season. Oh yeah, did I mention the controversy surrounding new Head Coach Frank martin who essentially got the job because of Beasley's endorsement and the fact that Beasley's mentor happens to be 'Cats assistant coach Dalonte Hill?

24. Syracuse - Jim Boeheim's club is very young, but does that really matter anymore? The last time Boeheim had a Freshman class this good, he won a national title with Melo and Gerry McNamarra. Freshman Jonny Flynn will take over the point from day one, allowing out of position Super Soph Paul Harris to move to the frontcourt where he will shine. Remember, Harris was deemed the most NBA-ready Frosh last year (not named Oden). McDonald's AA PF Donte Greene will be up front next to Harris which should become very formidable come February. Don't forget about the energy man Eric Devendorf. They may struggle early, but they will be a force once conference play begins.

23. Arizona - I've seen the Wildcats ranked as high as 12th in some polls. I don't get it. They underachieved last year big time and lost three starters. Point Guard U welcomes the latest stud, Jerryd Bayliss out of Phoenix to run the show. PF Jordan Hill and SG Jawaan McClellan must take their games to the next level if this team is going to make noise in the Pac 10. But this team starts and finishes with Sophomore SF Chase Budinger. As he goes, so go the Cats. He can drop 30 on anyone, but then score five the next night.

22. Kentucky - Billy Gillispie takes over for Tubby Smith and has already gotten the future of the Wildcats looking bright with several big verbal commitments for next season. That doesn't help this year, but Sophomore Guard Jodie Meeks will. The Sophomore will take more of a lead role after averaging 8.7 PPG off the bench last year. Senior Guards Ramel Bradley and Joe Crawford will join Meeks in the backcourt. Freshman Phenom Patrick Patterson, a late Gillespie coup, will start from Day one next to ultra-slim, but talented Perry Stephenson.

21. NC State - Four starters return to Raleigh the expectation level has risen, thanks to coach Sidney Lowe and his do-all Power Forward Brandon Costner. The 6'9 lefty was superb last season, scoring 16.8 PPG. He can do it all offensively and is a beast on the glass. The rest of the starting lineup lacks size; Lowe may go with four guards and Costner. SG Courtney Fells and SF Gavin Grant are experienced clutch performers. But this team will only go as far as Costner takes them in the rugged ACC.

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