The Big 12 conference isn’t anything special this season, but several teams have surpassed expectations. After losing 4 players to the league, Kansas managed to finish with the best conference record at 14-2. Having gone 16-16 last season, the Missouri Tigers were one of the bigger surprises.
The Tigers are ranked 15th in the nation and have an impressive record of 25-6. The KSU Wildcats lost stud Michael Beasley and Bill Walker to the NBA, but still managed to tie for fourth in the conference with Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma State.
The only teams I can really see making some noise come tourney time are Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri. It’s nice to see a college as hideous at sports as Nebraska is take some baby steps though.
Anyways, here are the Phillips 66 All-Big 12 Men’s Basketball Awards:
Craig Brackins- Iowa State
Denis Clemente – KansasSt.
Curtis Jerrells - Baylor
Cole Aldrich - Kansas
Willie Warren – Oklahoma
Cory Higgins - Colorado
Sherron Collins - Kansas
James Anderson – Ok. St.
Leo Lyons - Missouri
DeMarre Carroll - Missouri
AJ Abrams – Texas
Ade Dagunduro - Nebraska
Blake Griffin - Oklahoma
Damion James – Texas
Byron Eaton – Ok. St
Josh Carter- Texas A&M
Analysis: Although Brackins plays for a mediocre at best Iowa State team, averaging 20 and nine is a tough feat to accomplish. The Jayhawks are Collins’ team now, and he has done a great job in leading his guys.
Aldrich is one of the better big men in the country and is a chief explanation for the Jayhawks’ success. I don’t need to say anything about Blake Griffin, and Demarre Carroll has led the run of the mill Tigers team from last year to a ranking of 15th nationally.
The First Team looks great to me, and I don’t see anything wrong with the second or third teams.
Player of the Year
Blake Griffin – Oklahoma
Analysis: Surprised? This was an easy one. Blake Griffin is a supreme being. Griffin is a leading candidate for the National Player of the Year. Arguably the most dominant player in all of college basketball, Griffin is everything you look for in a basketball player.
6'10" of solid muscle. Thirty-seven-inch vertical. Can handle the rock. The forward from Oklahoma led the Big 12 in scoring and led the nation in rebounding. He also led the league in dunking the hardest. Have you seen this guy dunk? Get out of the way!
It’s been awhile since I’ve seen a collegiate player throw it down as hard as Griffin does. If you don’t agree that Griffin is the unanimous decision here, you need to stop watching sports.
Coach of the Year
Bill Self – Kansas
Analysis: KU had their ups and downs this year, but it seems like Bill Self has his Jayhawks on the right track. Kansas lost some key players to the NBA draft last year, but Self has done an excellent job putting together a scrappy KU team that ranks 11th in the nation.
I might argue Oklahoma’s Jeff Capel here, accumulating a 27-4 record and ranking seventh in the nation, but if you would’ve told me Kansas would be flirting with the Top 10 after losing Brandon Rush, Darrell Arthur, Mario Chalmers and Sasha Kaun to the draft I would’ve laughed in your face.
The Jayhawks are 14-2 in conference play and are atop the Big 12. Bill Self is more than deserving of this award.
Newcomer of the Year
Denis Clemente – Kansas State
Analysis: Played two seasons at the University of Miami and had to sit out last season due to NCAA transfer rules. Led the Wildcats in scoring with 15.6 ppg and tied for first in assists with 3.3 apg.
How do you dispute a newcomer who leads his team in scoring and assists?
Freshman of the Year
Willie Warren - Oklahoma
Analysis: Can’t argue this one either. Willie Warren has played outstanding as a freshman, averaging 14.1 pts and 3.1 asts per game. When Blake Griffin was out, Willie Warren proved he can be the go-to guy.
Warren led all Big-12 freshman in scoring. Warren definitely doesn’t play like most freshmen.
Sixth Man Awards
LaceDarius Dunn – Baylor
Matt Lawrence - Missouri
Analysis: This award should be changed to ‘three-point specialist.’ Matt Lawrence knocked down 65 treys for the Tigers, almost twice as many threes as the second player in 3 PM.
Lawrence finished third in scoring for the Tigers. Coming off the bench, Dunn was second on the team in scoring, an average of one point behind the leading scorer, Curtis Jerrells, who averaged seven more minutes of play time than Dunn.
Dunn led his squad in threes made, with 79 sunken treys. These guys seem deserving of their award.
Defensive Players of the Year
Cole Aldrich – Kansas
J.T. Tiller - Missouri
Analysis: Aldrich led the conference in blocked shots with 77. A dominating big man who alters the game with his size and athletic ability. Getting swatted into the bleachers is a risk one must take when taking it to the tin with Aldrich in the vicinity.
Tiller was a candidate for the Big 12 All-Defensive team last year and followed last season’s defensive success up by sharing Defensive Player of the Year with Aldrich. Tiller is known for his outstanding on-ball defense.
He only averages seven ppg, but his offensive skills are not why he is on the floor. J.T. Tiller is one of those players coaches love to have; he leaves everything on the floor. A high energetic, tenacious nightmare to have guarding you.
I can’t disagree with Aldrich or Tiller for Defensive Player of the Year.