December 3, 2000
Now that our favorite teams have several games under their belt, itís
time to look at some of the surprises.
IOWA HAWKEYES (5-0): The biggest one at Iowa has to be the emergence of Ryan Hogan, the Kentucky transfer who, after five games has become the Hawks sixth man. In last nightís game against Tulsa, Hogan looked good enough to Alford to be on the floor most of the last five minutes in a very close game. His numbers arenít great, but are improving as he gets more time. But whatís the deal with those razor-thin sideburns?? Cortney Scott has developed to be a force, getting as many minutes (11.4 per game) as starter Jared Reiner, and more than Sean Sonderleiter (9.4), and heís averaging more rebounds than either of the other two big men. All three looked pretty good against Georgia Techís All-American Alvin Jones.
Forward Rod Thompson must have really gotten on Alfordís Black List, as heís only been on the floor 4 minutes total in five games.
DRAKE BULLDOGS (1-3): Despite their record, the Bulldogs have been playing pretty good ball, even though big center Mike OíNeill has not proven to be very effective. Transfer Dontaie Smith has edged Aaron Thomas out of the starting lineup on 11.8 scoring per game, and freshman guard Luke McDonald might soon find a place there too, as he has increased his average to 9.5. Alberto Jempierre, a 6í7 juco transfer, has also looked good, now averaging 8.5 points and 2.5 rebounds per game.
The Dogs have really improved their shooting this year with 48.3 percent, compared with last yearís 40.6 percent. McDonald, Sola and Smith are really raining them in from beyond the arc, with the team making almost ten three-pointers per game (ranking tenth nationally).
Drakeís three losses have been by a combined nine points. They basically outplayed Iowa and Mississippi Valley State, but made key turnovers in the final minutes. Greg Danielson has become their Ďgo toí guy. Against Iowa, he scored 24 points on 9 for 13 shooting, two of which were smooth three-pointers.
IOWA STATE CYCLONES (5-0): Shooting guard Jake Sullivan is the big surprise in Ames, averaging over 12 ppg through 5 games. Heís a tough looking kid who looks to have sewn up a starting job. Center Martin Rancik has really stepped up his game this year, averaging 19 ppg. The biggest surprise, however, is that Eustachy hasnít been playing his bench much, using primarily a 7-man rotation. While that was his style last year, I thought with all the new faces this year he would give the newcomers a lot of time on the court, as least in the early stages of the season.
Unfortunately for the Clones, freshman Zach Fortune received a season-ending injury. ISU will seek a medical redshirt for Fortune.
KANSAS JAYHAWKS (7-0): Super Mario (Kinsey, that is) is THE surprise in Lawrence. Recruited as KUís next football quarterback, Kinsey has shown quickness, control and court awareness, giving the Jayhawks a quality backup in the backcourt. Despite several injuries, heís averaging almost 15 minutes per game. While not exactly surprises, Kenny Gregory and Eric Chenowith are both playing much better than last year, doing away (so far) with a couple of the ďifsĒ I worried about preseason. Chenowith has had three double-doubles so far, and Gregory is leading the team in scoring with 18 ppg.
The Jayhawks are now rated No. 2, but have a tough schedule ahead for the remainder of December. Back to back road games with Wake Forest (12/7) and DePaul (12/12) are followed by a home game with Tulsa on 12/16, and then two more on the road at Ohio State followup by the Sprint shootout against SW Missouri State. No cupcakes there. After that itís conference time. The Hawks scoring stats look awesome so far, averaging over 94 ppg, more than the 1990 team, KUís all-time highest scoring squad.