What’s the Big deal? (12/10)

Random musings from the Dec. 10 Big 12 coaches’ conference call:

APPARENTLY, Bob Knight now has beef with the Associated Press. The backstory isn’t clear — probably stemming from his recent incident on which he was reportedly hunting on private property — but when an AP writer asked a question Monday, the Texas Tech coach said, “I don’t have any interest in talking to the Associated Press.” Then, once the writer hung up, Knight said, “Don’t put any questions from the Associated Press through to me again.” Just to make clear he was heard, he told moderator and Big 12 director of communications Rob Carolla, “Did you catch me on that Associated Press thing?”

THE consensus, if there is such an animal during these calls, is that Michael Beasley has a better-than-average chance of being named a first-team All-American. Shocking news, I know.

TEXAS A&M coach Mark Turgeon has taken to being back in the Big 12, saying Monday, “I think we’re better than we’ve been,” in response to a question about what the league has shown so far. He had some other interesting things to add, specifically how he’d schedule weaker non-conference foes if he could do it over again at Wichita State. Why? “Because it comes down to how you do in the league,” Turgeon said. And on the topic of star freshman DeAndre Jordan, a probable Top 10 pick whenever he decides to make himself available for the NBA, he said his biggest concern isn’t whether Jordan likes him or not. “My biggest concern is making him better,” he said.

SEAN Sutton says it’s the Big Three — Kansas, Texas and Texas A&M — and then everybody else, basically a big clump of teams in the middle, which isn’t to be confused with mediocrity. The Oklahoma State coach believes, as most do, the Big 12 is much better, as evidenced by a strong showing against the Pac-10 in the recent Hardwood Series. Baylor coach Scott Drew echoed that theme, saying he’d heard a lot of people suggesting the Pac-10 was the best conference in the country. Including the Series, the Big 12 is 8-6 against the Pac-10 this year.

FRANK Martin says you’re not going to find a league with better coaches in it than the Big 12. Isn’t it amazing how much he sounds more and more like his predecessor each day?

PERHAPS Michael Beasley’s biggest competition for Player of the Year — at the one-third mark of the season — is Texas point guard D.J. Augustin, who was just named Big 12 player of the week. His coach, Rick Barnes, loves him. “He’s special,” Barnes said. “… He’s unbelievable. He does so many things for you… He’s a great leader. His leadership skills have improved so much… He gives his teammates great confidence, and that’s what you want from a leader.”