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Tech-nical difficulties resolved?
Even without Fardaws Aimaq, Red Raiders may have a solution in the middle. Plus, FSU loses a versatile defender, Cincinnati adds yet another 2023 recruit, and much more.
Congrats to Aaron Judge who finally hit home run No. 62. It’s an impressive feat, more so because he’s a 16 home runs ahead of Kyle Schwarber, who’s hit the second most this season. Is it a record? Sure. Is it the record? Didn’t think it was a matter of opinion. Regardless, is it’s not the most memorable stat in baseball lore.
But that prompts a question that our readers could help with: What’s the single most memorable stat/record in college hoops history?
Not a team record, like UCLA’s 11 national titles. What’s the record or stat associated with a single person? Pistol Pete’s scoring average? Coach K’s win total?
Email us at Fieldof68Daily@gmail.com. We’ll share the feedback next week.
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Let’s get to the news.
We’re highlighting transfer portal winners this week. Want more about the portal winners? Buy your copy of The Almanac. A bargain for $20.
1. The looming question in Lubbock
Texas Tech is no stranger to the transfer portal. The Red Raiders built a Sweet 16 squad last season with four newcomers among their top eight players. Same story this season: Four transfers — De’Vion Harmon (Oregon), Fardaws Aimaq (Utah Valley), Kerwin Walton (North Carolina) and Jaylon Tyson (Texas) — figure to either start or play significant roles.
Aimaq’s recently diagnosed broken foot will potentially sideline him for up to three months. They’ll certainly miss his production (18.9 ppg, 13.6 rpg), and his defensive coverage; the 6-11 senior could end up as the Big 12 Defensive POY. That is … unless sophomore Daniel Batcho (also 6-11), can handle it.
From the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal:
“I’m trying to do whatever the team needs from me,” Batcho said. ”It’s going to be hard to put up stats like Fardaws, but I’m going to do my best.”
And his biggest fan? Fardaws Aimaq.
“The time I had practicing with him, he’s got abilities that you really can’t learn or teach,” said Aimaq, who’s on a month-to-month timetable with the injury to his left foot — which was in a cast Monday. “He just plays hard and his ability to play 110% every-single second that he’s on the floor just puts him in the right position. The sky’s the limit for him.”
Still, there are questions. Let’s say Batcho ensures there isn’t a huge drop-off defensively. Texas Tech still needs to ensure the offense doesn’t stagnate, hope there aren’t any further injuries (or delays in Aimaq’s recovery), and figure out essential chemistry questions. It worked last year. Can it work again?
That’s the essential question posed in The Almanac.
2. Seminoles lose a key piece
If Leonard Hamilton created a prototypical Florida State player — anywhere from 6-5 to 6-10, with long arms, strong and mobile — it might look like Jaylan Gainey.
The transfer from Brown is 6-10, 220-pounds, and was the Ivy League defender of the year while averaging 2.2 blocks and 6.1 boards over his last 54 games. But Hamilton will have to wait to play Gainey, who’ll miss the 2022-23 season because of a knee injury.
It’s tough, too. The Seminoles couldn’t escape the injury bug last season. Picked to finish in the top 4 of the ACC, they finished 17-14 and 10-10 in the league as four of their five starters missed significant time with injuries.
Gainey’s injury won’t derail FSU’s season, but it’s not small. He started two of their three games during summer exhibitions in Canada and averaged 8.7 points, 7 rebounds and 1.7 blocks. It puts more pressure on freshman Baba Miller to produce as the first big man off the bench and reduces some of Hamilton’s lineup versatility.
But hey, maybe it’s a new era. Hamilton came away from that Canada trip thinking the ‘Noles could be a “pretty good scoring team.”
3. Cincinnati nabs Jizzle James
Cincinnati took another step toward a stellar 2023 recruiting class on Monday night.
Jizzle James is the second top-60 prospect to commit to Wes Miller and the Bearcats — and perhaps a sign of what’s to come with forward Arrinten Page and point guard Isaiah Collier both leaning toward the ‘Cats.
James, the son of Colts legend Edgerrin James, is a 6-2 guard with an explosive first step and doesn’t shy away from contact. He’d be a defensive-oriented player to start thanks to his strength and slowly improving jump shot, and it’s easy to envision him thriving in physical Big 12 games.
Also in recruiting news:
Northwestern added 6-4 point guard Parker Strauss, its second 2023 commit.
Armoni Ziegler will be part of Saint Peters’ 2023 class.
Nicholls State reportedly added JUCO guard Corinthian Ramsey.
4. A tale of two schedules
Kentucky and Gonzaga both released finalized schedules on Tuesday. On the surface, there’s not an obvious connection beyond their Nov. 20 matchup (that was locked in weeks ago), but it’s an interesting contrast in how games are grouped for a Power 6 conference and what Gonzaga squeezes into its non-conference schedule.
Kentucky’s got four true tests before January, all of which are either neutral court settings (Michigan State, Michigan and UCLA) or the Spokane game against Gonzaga. (Technically a home game for the Zags, but it’s not at The Kennel. It’s like when Kansas plays in Kansas City. Sure, it’s a fan-friendly setting and travel is nothing, but it’s still not your home court.) The rest is a series of tune-up games, not to mention fun storylines for the exhibitions.
Compare that to Gonzaga’s front-loaded schedule: neutral vs. Michigan St, at Texas, Kentucky, the Phil Knight Legacy tournament (Portland State, then likely Purdue and Duke), neutral court vs. Baylor, home against Kent State, Washington, Northern Illinois, then at Alabama.
That’s eight games against Power 6 schools, five of which are Top 25 teams. When you see someone bemoaning Gonzaga’s resume in March, just shake your head and walk away. They clearly didn’t pay attention.
5. What might have been
Victor Wembenyana was never playing college hoops. The 7-3 phenom from France is an incoming cheat code for whichever NBA team lucks into the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 draft.
But Scoot Henderson? Woulda been nice to see him for a year in college. Is that selfish on my part? Probably. Henderson re-classified to the class of 2021 and has been playing with G-League Ignite since 2021. That professional development has clearly paid off though. His game Tuesday night against Wembenyana was an incredible showcase of playmaking, creativity and incredible athleticism.
Guess we’ll settle for highlights, rather than the full experience.
THE FAST BREAK
Links as you listen to Loretta Lynn. RIP.
The Southern Conference’s transfer obstinance strikes again.
Jahmar Young, Jr. still hasn’t been cleared to play by SMU officials.
The secret’s out on these scrimmages. More coming this week.
SNY will air 16 men’s and women’s Stony Brook games this season.
Meaningful insights from one basketball game rarely happen. Why would a snapshot on a dating app be any different? Try Blink Date and see why there’s a better way to date than swiping.
*This sponsored content helps produce The Field of 68. To learn more, please connect with us.
THE GOODMAN AND HUMMEL PODCAST
Back into the swing of things (almost)
Jeff Goodman and Robbie Hummel enjoyed a pod-free summer before hopping back into this week with not one, but TWO pods! It’s almost like the season is approaching…
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