KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KSNT) – When asked if they could sum up the Big 12 conference in one word, some of the coaches threw out some good ones.
Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger wanted to expand more than just one word.
“The best conference in the country,” Kruger said. “Not one word but, extremely challenging.”
Just one of many questions that were asked at the Sprint Center when Big 12 held their media day for men’s basketball.
The coaches eventually elaborated on why they chose their word. We start with the veterans that have been there for a while.
“Tough,” said Scott Drew, Baylor head coach. “Every night is a grind. If you don’t bring your ‘A’ game, you don’t give yourself a chance to win.”
Next, we find out more from the ones that have a year under their belt.
“Talented,” said Steve Prohm, Iowa State head coach. “You look at the successes of the coaches and then you look at the draft picks this league has produced in the last so many years.”
“Fun,” said Shaka Smart, Texas head coach. “It’s a big time challenge. You got a lot of phenomenal teams and phenomenal coaches and the chance to compete against them is a lot of fun.”
Finally we get to a coach who was in the Big 12 a few years back, and has returned this year to take over the helms in Stillwater.
“Awesome,” said Brad Underwood. “Great players, great coaches, great venues, passionate fans at every stop. How can that not be awesome.”
The conference also walks the walk, as the Big 12 has had the No. 1 RPI in the last three years.
However on the other side, that shows how difficult it is playing in the Big 12, something many of the experienced players know all too well.”
“You’re not going to win any where and any night,” said DJ Johnson, K-State senior forward. “Everybody’s going to come out and play. No one’s going to lay down for and let you win at our place or on the road. It’s going to be a dog fight every night.”
“We let the other guys know not to take it easy because you can quickly come away with a ‘L,'” said Landen Lucas, Kansas senior forward. “I haven’t won at a couple places yet. At Oklahoma State or West Virginia during my time here, and I’ve been here for a long time.”
Lucas of course hoping to extend the Jayhawks regular season conference title streak to 13, something that each of the coaches know and will hope to end this year.
The Big 12 schedule won’t kick off until January, but the teams will start playing their first games within the next few weeks.