Texas' high hopes contingent on Myck Kabongo's return

Posted Monday, Dec. 10, 2012  comments  Print Reprints
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Big 12 Players of the Week

Player of the Week

Rodney McGruder, G, Kansas State: The senior had 15 points and 11 rebounds in the Wildcats' 65-62 win over George Washington. It was a season-high in rebounds and minutes played (39) and he made 3-of-6 3-pointers.

Rookie of the Week

Aaric Murray, C, West Virginia: The junior averaged 11 points and 8.5 rebounds as the Mountaineers went 2-0. He also had three blocks during the week, which included a 68-67 win over Virginia Tech. He shot 52.2 percent from the field, including 40 percent from the 3-point arc.

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Texas coach Rick Barnes is ready for answer.

Longhorns' starting point guard Myck Kabongo has missed the first nine games while waiting for the NCAA to rule on whether the sophomore acquired an agent and if he was truthful with investigators about paying for a pro workout in May.

The investigation has lasted months, leaving Barnes without his point guard and no idea if and when he'll get him back on the floor.

"I haven't heard anything," Barnes said during Monday's Big 12 teleconference. "I think it's getting to the point where, honestly ... if we don't hear something in the next couple days it's frustrating, disappointing, whatever word you want to put on it."

Texas (5-4) has also played without forward Jaylen Bond who has missed eight of nine games with a foot injury.

Kabongo averaged 9.6 points and 5.2 assists while starting all 34 games as a freshman. The Longhorns have struggled early with a young roster that includes two seniors and the rest filled with freshmen and sophomores.

"I keep telling them we're going to be good," Barnes said. "There's a long way to go in this season. They've learned a lot. I think the thing they understand now more than anything is how difficult it is to win at a very high level. It's been a tough lesson to learn but we've got to learn and we are learning it."

Self assured

Texas lost to Chaminade. Baylor lost to College of Charleston.

What's going on here?

Kansas coach Bill Self says don't worry about the league's reputation taking a hit during the nonconference season. It'll change when league play starts the first week of January. Plus, Self said, mixed in with those baffling losses are a few dazzling wins, including Oklahoma State over North Carolina State and Baylor at Kentucky.

"Our league is young," said Self, whose ninth-ranked Jayhawks have won six consecutive games since losing to Michigan State Nov. 13. "There's so many young teams. You look at Oklahoma State, unbelievable start. They stubbed their toe once but the win they had against N.C. State is probably the most impressive win our league has maybe had, maybe that and the win at Kentucky [by] Baylor. When you're young, you're going to be up and down. We've had some teams that have been up and down, us included. Hopefully we'll get that ironed out. But once January comes I guarantee you our league will be as good as it has been."

Conference preview

Oklahoma and West Virginia became the first Big 12 teams to play in a nonconference game since 1996. The teams met Nov. 25 in the Old Spice Classic third-place game. The Sooners won 77-70.

Key stats

16Consecutive games with 10 or more points for Baylor senior guard Pierre Jackson, who is averaging 18.5 points and 6.4 assists during the streak.

41-5Home record for Big 12 teams.

500Career victory for Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger when the Sooners beat Northwestern State Nov. 30.

Quotables

"For my sanity, Wendell, I'm really hoping that." -- West Virginia coach Bob Huggins, answering Big 12sports.com correspondent Wendell Barnhouse's question about whether experience will help the 4-3 Mountaineers gel later in the season.

"With exception of the Northwestern game we've had an opportunity to win every game if guys step up and play with courage and make some plays." -- TCU coach Trent Johnson on the Horned Frogs' 6-4 start.

"It never hurts to have some early success but also it's important how you handle it." -- Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford on the Cowboys' 7-1 start, which includes wins over North Carolina State and Tennessee.

Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @FollowtheFrogs

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