Every conference has players who opponents dread facing, and the Big 12 is no exception.
Sometimes, that dread is out of fear of a talented opponent who will have a big game. Other times, that dread is simply out of annoyance. Whether it’s their trash talk or never being able to get in a rhythm due to their physical play, some players just aren’t fun to play against.
Here are the five dirtiest players in the Big 12 based on foul rate and number of technical fouls.
All foul stats are courtesy of StatSheet.com.
Melvin Ejim is a 6’6” post player who averages 9.6 rebounds per game. Clearly, he is aggressive.
However, he averages 3.2 fouls per game, the second-highest rate in the Big 12. Ejim has also fouled out on five occasions, tied for most in the conference. Most recently, he was disqualified in Monday’s loss against Kansas in just 22 minutes of playing time.
Jonathan Holmes has not been able to defend without fouling in his two seasons at Texas. Last year, he averaged 3.3 fouls per game in just 21.4 minutes of playing time.
This year, that number has improved slightly at 3.0 fouls in the exact same amount of minutes, but it is still a number that is third-highest in the Big 12. Holmes has fouled out five times, tied for the highest in the league, and he has fouled out three times in the nine Big 12 games in which he has played.
Georges Niang makes up the other half of Iowa State’s undersized frontcourt. He is a 6’7” freshman who has played well in his first year with 11.6 points per game and 4.6 rebounds per game.
But Niang has had some difficulties staying on the floor due to foul trouble. He is averaging 3.0 fouls per game, ranking fourth in the Big 12, and he has fouled out five times, which is tied for first. Niang has fouled out in each of the last two games for the Cyclones.
Josh Gray is a true freshman who, as can be expected with freshmen, has had an up-and-down season. At times, Gray has had issues with his composure, picking up a Big 12-leading three technical fouls this season. After his third against Baylor on Jan. 8, Texas Tech coach Chris Walker was not happy, according to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.
“This is not the playground,” Walker said. “You have to understand that everyone is watching you, it’s happening way too frequent and it’s not cute. It’s something that you have to learn. In high school, some of that stuff you may get away with. In college, it’s just not the same game.”
Aaric Murray, a transfer from La Salle, became eligible this season, and there were high hopes for him in Morgantown.
Murray has been inconsistent, showing flashes of great play, but the one thing that has been consistent is his foul trouble. He leads the league with 3.3 fouls per game while playing 21.4 minutes per game. He is also one of just two players in the league with multiple technical fouls, having drawn two.