The NBA Draft is officially in the books, and college basketball fans can now set their sights on the 2012-13 season.
The Big 12 is bringing in one of the strongest recruiting classes in the nation, but is also retaining a good number of star players from last year.
That said, one of the easiest ways to win in basketball is to have a great 1-2 punch and Big 12 basketball will not be lacking in that department next season.
The following is a prediction of the top three 1-2(-3) punches that the conference will see next season.
No. 3: Myck Kabongo & Cameron Ridley/Jaylen Bond (Texas)
The Texas Longhorns are bringing in a deep recruiting class this season, including one of the best centers in the nation in Cameron Ridley.
Ridley is an absolute monster down low and can use his strength and size to power through just about any defender. He still needs to refine his offensive skill set, but it will most certainly grow as he adjusts to the college game.
Jaylen Bond, on the other hand, should see an increase in minutes next season. He is an interesting player that will use next season to make a name for himself.
As for the man dishing out the ball, Myck Kabongo will be one of the best point guards in the Big 12 next season.
Kabongo was overshadowed by J’Covan Brown last season, but will definitely have the ball in his hands more this upcoming season.
Look for Kabongo to pass directly to Ridley or Bond, depending on the rotation, and put up large assist numbers.
No. 2: Elijah Johnson & Jeff Withey (Kansas)
Jeff Withey was one of the Big 12’s biggest surprises last season. His performance in the NCAA tournament helped to make a name for this strong center. On top of that, his blocks in the tournament outnumbered Anthony Davis.
He is still bringing his offensive game up to his defensive level, but Withey will put up greater numbers next season.
Elijah Johnson, on the other hand, is already well known to most college basketball fans.
He is a strong point guard that looks to pass first. He will work hard with head coach Bill Self in the offseason and grow into an even better floor general.
A lot of hype is surrounding the premiere of Ben McLemore, who will finally get the chance to play for the Jayhawks; but Elijah Johnson and Jeff Withey will be a formidable duo next season.
No. 1: Pierre Jackson & Isaiah Austin/Cory Jefferson (Baylor)
Pierre Jackson is not only the Big 12’s best point guard going into next season, but one of the nation’s best.
He is a pure athlete, gifted shooter and a true point guard in that he looks to pass the ball above all else.
Isaiah Austin is one of the top five players coming into college next season and has the potential to be a Kareem Abdul-Jabar-like figure on the court with Jackson feeding him the ball.
The best part of the pair is that Austin can shoot from anywhere on the floor, including beyond the arc, which is certainly going to help Jackson dish the ball out all over the field and rack up the assists.
Lastly, Cory Jefferson is one of the biggest sleepers in the Big 12 next season.
He already has a great set of moves in his short playing time, but is getting better each and every time he sets foot on a court.
With him and Austin being the main targets for Jackson next season, Baylor will have the deadliest 1-2(-3) punch in the Big 12.
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