SDS Mailbag: Basketball players who could play football, hoops Player of the Year and refereeing problems
Weather has wreaked havoc on the men’s (and women’s) basketball schedules in the Big 12 and SEC this past week. Hopefully, you’re all staying safe and warm!
As we enter the stretch run of the basketball season, every game is taking on more meaning for teams. Selection Sunday is on March 14, after all!
Meanwhile, spring practices have officially begun in the SEC, with Florida hosting its first session on Thursday.
With all that going on, here are your questions for this week’s Mailbag:
Which college basketball player do you think would be best at football? Any power forwards who could play tight end, a la Antonio Gates, Tony Gonzalez, Jimmy Graham, etc.?
Oh, believe me, I know how much the NFL loves to take college basketball players and make them tight ends. But, I’m going to go a bit smaller than that with my pick. Gonzaga freshman Jalen Suggs is your answer.
When you watch him play, he looks like a quarterback on the court. And, indeed, he was a highly touted quarterback prospect out of Minnehana Academy in Minneapolis. He was a 3-star dual-threat quarterback in the 2020 class, per the 247Sports composite rankings, and had offers from Georgia, Ohio State, Iowa, Michigan State, Minnesota and more.
He was a 5-star point guard, though, and looks like a guy who has a long, promising NBA career ahead of him. So he probably made the right choice going with basketball.
Still, it’s fair to wonder if we missed out on Suggs following in the footsteps of another famous Jalen — Jalen Hurts.
Is Luka Garza really going to lose the National Player of the Year race? Who would take the top spot if he does?
Honestly, I think it’s a 3-player race right now. Garza is still absolutely the frontrunner, especially after he scored 30 points and had 8 boards in a win over Wisconsin on Thursday. But, Illinois guard Ayo Dosunmu is also making strides lately. He’s been so clutch for the Illini all year. Just look at this shot he made against Northwestern this week:
AYO DOSUNMU IS THE BEST CLOSER IN COLLEGE BASKETBALL 🗣🗣🗣
— #4 Fighting Illini (Fan Nation) (@TheIlliniFN) February 17, 2021
The third guy is Gonzaga’s Corey Kispert, who continues to shoot insane percentages for the No. 1 team in the country. Personally, I think Kispert is in third behind Dosunmu and Garza, but he’s not out of the race yet.
In my opinion, if the Hawkeyes finish the year ranked higher, Garza should win Player of the Year. If the Illini end up higher, Dosunmu should win. It’s that simple.
I would like to know your thoughts and opinions on raising the 1-and-1 bonus from 7 fouls to 10 fouls per half. It seems like 80% of college games end up with teams in the bonus with 9:51 left in the first half.
I like the idea of doing something with the 1-and-1 rule and the bonus rules, in general. But, I think you’d have to do away with the 1-and-1 all together if we move the bonus to 10 fouls. And, honestly, I’d be fine with that.
There’d be no free throws for the first 10 non-shooting fouls in each half. Then, when you hit 10 fouls, it’s an automatic double-bonus. That would be better than the current system, since, as you described, sometimes officials take the game out of the players’ hands and make it a free-throw contest.
But, things aren’t so bad outside the SEC. The big problem is that the SEC calls an insane amount of fouls:
2020 Fouls called per conference:
SEC — 7,746 (553 per 14 teams)
ACC — 6,979 (465 per 15 teams)
Big Ten — 6,466 (461 per 14 teams)
Pac-12 — 5,968 (497 per 12 teams)
Big East — 4,970 (497 per 10 teams)
Big 12 — 4,864 (486 per 10 teams)@KySportsRadio @JackPilgrimKSR @SECNetwork
— ©ody ©ou©h (@29couch) February 18, 2021
These are numbers that need to be shown to commissioner Greg Sankey. Until the foul numbers are down around those in the Big 12, the SEC will continue to be unwatchable at times.
Yes, there are physical players in the SEC. But, that’s the case everywhere. Get the officials together and make it a point to start calling fewer fouls next season. It’s possible to make this game more watchable moving forward.
Which of the 3 worst SEC teams in SEC play — Texas A&M, Vanderbilt and South Carolina — do you think has the best chance to turn things around next year?
That’s a great question. It’s never easy to count out a Frank Martin squad, but if AJ Lawson goes to the NBA Draft, the Gamecocks may have a down year next season. And, I think Vanderbilt will lose Scotty Pippen Jr. to the NBA Draft, so they might need time to regroup, too.
That leaves Texas A&M, which I think is the correct answer. The Aggies will likely get Emanuel Miller back, and he has the chance to become a star next season.
Buzz Williams’ teams are always tough defensively. But, if he can find some guys who can actually score offensively to complement Miller, the Aggies could absolutely finish in the top half of the SEC standings in 2021-22.
Have a question for next week’s Mailbag? Tweet at us using #SDSMailbag or email me at ASpencer@SaturdayDownSouth.com.