At his Big 12 Basketball Media Day interview, Coach Barnes said they’d play 11 this year – which says to me: they’ve got confidence in everybody’s ability to play defense and contribute on the offensive end (including Lammert (F) and Holland (G) – both guys with good length, but two youngsters we weren't sure were ready for Division 1 ball).
The other highlight: twin towers Prince Ibeh and Cameron Ridley will sometimes play together! I was wondering about this last week… with Prince at center and Cam at the 4 (or vice versa), that also gives us a big, strong and skilled wing on the perimeter (Holmes, Papa, Lammert) making for a big, strong, athletic and long frontcourt the likes of which we haven't seen in quite a while. With those 2 big guys on the floor at the same time we should be nails tough on the defensive end, and get much better rebounding on both ends of the floor. It should give us an advantage at the 4 against most anyone we face with Ridley’s hands, length and strength, and it also lets us match up with a big 3 on pretty much everybody in the league.
Clearly, that's not going to be our starting line-up or our main rotation, but it showcases how much more depth we'll have this year over last, and how much more flexibility we'll have with frontcourt rotations. Now the big question is whether or not Myck Kabongo will end up missing any games. If he does, we'll have to hope newcomer Javan Felix can make up for the loss in speed with basketball savvy. A promising indicator - the 5'10" Felix snuck a layup in around 6'10" high-end shot-blocker Ibeh at a recent practice. If he's got some of DJ Augustin's explosive penetrating ability to go with his passing instincts, then Felix could give us some very valuable minutes this year.
One last nugget: during a media day interview, forward Jonathan Holmes described freshman forward Ioannis Papapetrou as a 6'8" guard - sounds like a baller. We'll need one because the Big 12 is going to be a really competitive league this year.