There's been a ton of key performances this year in college basketball, both surprising ones and unsurprising. In a year where we're seeing programs coming back from dumpster fire status to programs that are quickly falling toward that moniker, there's been plenty to talk about, and as we get closer to tournament time I wanted to get an opinion on what you all think have been the best performances this year thus far. Here are a few of mine, and while you may notice a trend regarding mine, it's intentional. Let's observe.
Jerome Tang, Kansas State
Jerome Tang has done a miraculous job in unleashing the potential of the Kansas State Wildcats. In the years following that Elite 8 run in 2017, it's really been nothing but pain for the Wildcats, as they've been bottom feeders of the Big 12. Not this year though, however, as Jerome Tang has done a ton to turn this program around. He has the Wildcats at #12 in the nation, holding a 20-7 record, and had them in competition for a Big 12 regular season title until an unfortunate recent slide. For a team that was fighting to not be in dead last last year, this team has made leaps and bounds, much of it should be accredited to Tang and the transfers he brought in. Overall, a fantastic job.
Dajuan Harris, Kansas
Dajuan Harris went through a January slump after suffering a head injury during the first TCU matchup. For about 3 or 4 games, he just didn't look like what we saw earlier in the season, however after that stretch has turned it around into something that's even better than what we saw previously. Dajuan Harris can SHOOT now and it has only felt like his passing and defense have gotten better. Every time Harris puts up more than 3 points, the Jayhawks win, and he has been one of the main catalysts for the Jayhawks' recent winning ways. He has been very impressive this year being one of the most all-around point guards in the nation, and it's a travesty he is not on the Cousy Award Finalists list. The slump I think did a number on that, but outside of that he has been nothing short of spectacular. A lot of people have turned their back on him, but he is very quickly turning heads once again.
Kobe Brown, Missouri
Kobe Brown has commanded this Missouri team, with team leading stats in both rebounding and points per game at 6 and 16.4, respectively. Not only that, but 56.9% FG percentage and 47.7% 3PT percentage isn't too shabby either. If he got more team help, I think the Tigers would be vying for a spot up high in the rankings, but after being in the doldrums really since 2013, 19-8 is a welcome record for the Tigers. Kobe Brown is one of the main reasons for that, and as a senior he's got that much more of a chip on his shoulder to go out a winner. He's a great guard that has done so much for this Missouri program, and to see him succeed even as a Jayhawk fan has made me happy. Always thought he was a good kid, and has proven he deserves respect for both being a great guard, and making this team light years better than what they were even a year ago.
The trend, by the way, was that they were all local players and coaches. We are seeing some of the best college basketball in the KC area that we've seen in years, and the fact that it's somewhat gone underappreciated doesn't sit right with me. With the way it's going, it's only going to get better. Jerome Tang has time to improve this team even from this year, Dennis Gates as well, and then we arguably have the best basketball coach in the country right now in our backyard in Bill Self who has impressed this year yet again. College basketball is finally fun to watch again for two out of the three major local schools (It was never not fun for KU I mean come on) and I am 100% here for it. The question is, are you? Who has impressed you the most? How long do you think these successes last? Are these teams going to get better or worse next year? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
Burn Notice: 10/10 February is almost over, March is almost upon us...