Big 12 Awards: Did the Coaches Get It Right?
Yes, Frank, I was as surprised as you are.
Today the coaches released the All-Big 12 team and individual awards, and there are some interesting selections.
You can go check out what a bunch of guys that get millions of dollars to coach basketball think, or you can do the smart thing and keep reading and see what the Big 12 Awards should have been according to yours truly.
You know what? Since these are my awards, I'm going to make up some new ones that they don't even give out in the Big 12. You're welcome for that.
Most Outstanding Player and Most Valuable Player: James Anderson, Oklahoma State
Normally I think these awards should go to different people. Many times there's a player on the best team that isn't really that valuable because of how good the whole team is, but James Anderson is Oklahoma State basketball this year.
Defensive Player of the Year and Newcomer: Ekpe Udoh, Baylor
The coaches screwed the Defensive Player Award up by over-thinking. There were only two real choices here: Cole Aldrich and Ekpe Udoh. The decision is really simple—Udoh has more rebounds and more blocks than Aldrich.
No, I don't want to hear about how Aldrich strikes fear into his opponents, so his game impact is greater than his stats. Udoh is the reason Baylor was good this year, he got his numbers playing in a zone defense, and he doesn't start alongside All-American-caliber big men. He starts beside Josh Lomers. Think about that.
Freshman: Tommy Mason-Griffin, Oklahoma
With all due respect to Alec Burks and his 16 points per game, TMG was clearly the best freshman in the Big 12. Well, not the best—that's Xavier Henry—but he did the most of any freshman in the Big 12. He was asked to carry the load for his team, and he did a good job of it.
He averaged three fewer points per game than Burks, but TMG had more assists, a higher three-point percentage, and a higher assist-to-turnover ratio than any other freshman in the Big 12.
Sixth Man: Jamar Samuels, Kansas State
This one was pretty easy.
Coach(es): Mark Turgeon and Scott Drew
Sorry, Bill Self, but you don't get to win Coach of the Year if you were preseason No. 1 in the country. That's just not how this works.
"But Aubrey, you're an idiot; Frank Martin finished ranked in the top 10 in the country and is the two seed in the Big 12 Tournament." Yes, I realize this. Frank Martin did a brilliant job this year. Wally Judge wasn't the all-star people were hoping, but the Wildcats didn't miss a beat.
But Kansas State was picked fourth in the conference. They also didn't really face many in-season obstacles. For these reasons, and nothing against the job Martin did at K-State, the most outstanding coaching jobs this season were clearly done by Turgeon and Drew.
Scott Drew's Bears were picked 10th in the preseason coaches' poll. This is a combination of glorious underachieving last season and the fact that all of the Big 12 coaches hate Drew. But the Bears didn't finish 10th—they finished tied for second. Drew grew up a little bit as a coach after last season, and the Bears responded by exceeding everybody's expectations.
Mark Turgeon should be co-coach because of what they dealt with in the middle of the season. I know that every team has injury issues, but not every team faces them with a senior leader like Derrick Roland. This wasn't a normal injury either; his leg literally snapped in half in the middle of the court DURING A GAME.
The Aggies could have packed it in and cruised to a mid-pack finish, but they didn't. Turgeon regrouped, and the Aggies finished up tied for second in the conference with Baylor and Kansas State.
Just for fun, here are a few other random players that deserve some recognition.
"Who are these guys?" Team (Most Improved): Tweety Carter, Baylor; David Loubeau, Texas A&M; John Roberson, Texas Tech; Cade Davis, Oklahoma; Entire Colorado Roster
Team You Better Get a Hand Up On (Best Shooters): Lace Dunn, Baylor; Keiton Page, Oklahoma State; Denis Clemente, Kansas State; Obi Muonelo, Oklahoma State; Tommy Mason-Griffin, Oklahoma
We're Going to Miss You (Best Seniors): Donald Sloan, Texas A&M; Sherron Collins, Kansas; Tweety Carter, Baylor; Damion James, Texas; Bryan Davis, Texas A&M
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