Have you been keeping tabs on all the exciting happenings in the NC-Double-Eh so far this season? We're in for a bumpy but fun ride and these first few days of the year have been awesome. Now since we are perusing everything with a fine toothed comb, well as fine as we can, we've noticed a few things that we think you'd find interesting. So join us for our first edition of the NC-Double-Eh Rundown ...
It's been about 10 days since the first the first tip off happened in the 2011-12 college basketball season and there have been some big things going on. On the NC-Double-Eh front, we have seen some big performances, not so big ones and a whole lot of eye opening things so far. With the start of this new season, we decided to add something new to this year and give a periodic rundown of some observations we noticed over the last few days and this is the first. We hope you stay with us on this ride that looks like it will be a very good one ...
The un-Olu Olu
This summer, Olu Ashaolu was a highly sought after play-right-away senior transfer and he chose Oregon. Up to now, he seems to have been having a little bit of a transition period to the high major life. Let me be clear, I was among the first people to toot about this move for Olu to be both big and the right one but he’s just had to adjust to some things. He’s making a move to the wing and to compound his learning curve he’s only been able to stay in the game in two of his first four games as a Duck due to foul trouble. Before last night’s performance against Nebraska, he had didn’t score in double figures or shoot over .500 from the field. The Olu that we’ve been used to at Louisiana Tech was a beast on the glass and could score seemingly at will and he has yet to show up in the green and yellow. It should only be a matter of time before Olu is back to his old self so until then we are left to wait until with baited breath.
The emergence of some non-McDonald’s All American freshmen
There had been a lot of talk about the big three Canadian freshmen, Myck Kabongo, Khem Birch and Kyle Wiltjer, but what hasn’t really been talked about were a few other less heralded Canadian freshman that have been playing great through the first couple of weeks. Kevin Pangos, Justin Edwards at Maine and Dylan Ennis at Rice have all earned a weekly award so far – Edwards and Ennis have earned conference freshman of the week while Pangos was conference player of the week. Also to be thrown into this mix is South Dakota State’s Taevaunn Prince who’s been playing well early. And for the hell of it, we'll throw in Brady Heslip and Ty Nurse who are really transfers but still first time D1 players making this mix much more impressive. I have a feeling that we’ll be talking more about all these guys, and maybe some others, as the season wears on.
The new Rob Sacre
Rob Sacre has been an absolute monster to start his senior year. The losses of Steven Grayand Meech Goodson have opened up the scoring load to focus more in the middle in the halfcourt and through three games he’s averaging a double-double – 17.7 points and 10 rebounds – to go with his 1.7 blocks. If you want to compare Sacre's first four games last season, he was averaging 13 points and 6.5 rebounds to go with 1.3 blocks. The difference isn't mind shattering but it's still very noticeable and a world apart from this season. He’s always had that knock as a weak rebounder for his size and I think he’s got it set in his mind to put that to rest.
Is this the beginning of a Canadian guard renaissance?
This kinda of plays into one of my initial comments from the very first podcast. There is an abundance of great guards for this season and they have all come out playing well. You should already know some of them but you can easily count at least another ten to the list of big names and big contributors you may already have penciled into your "to watch" lists. By my count (and I suppose it’s a liberal count) there are 23 guards who are either starting, playing major minutes, playing major roles or all of the above. That is roughly a quarter of all the Canadian men playing in Division 1 this season. People, we may be on the verge of something big with this.
Is this Kyle Wiltjer?
The situation with Kyle Wiltjer has puzzled me a little so far. If you check his averages, he’s looks pretty good in terms of getting minutes and playing. But if you check his game-by-game stats the story is a little different. On a team with all the thoroughbred players that Kentucky has, I would have still though that Kyle would still find himself in the regular rotation playing a regular set of minutes. Not a whole lot but at least a consistent amount. Wrong! Even if he’s the most offensively complete and likely the smartest in terms of ball IQ, he’s been playing only in blowouts. In the games that have been decided by 10 points or less, he’s played sparingly. Mind you in the blowouts he’s scored a whole lot but I think that him not playing in tight games kinda implies Coach Cal’s confidence in his game, doesn’t it?
Stay tuned in a few days for another installment of the Rundown ...