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Big 12 Conference Wrap-Up

Player of the Year

Buddy Hield – Oklahoma

Buddy HieldBuddy HieldThere’s no surprise with this one. The reigning Big 12 Player of the year recently scooped up his second straight Big 12 Player of the Year honor, and it’s hard to argue with that pick. The senior lead the league in scoring with a lofty 25.1 points per game, and did so with a season long display of pure shooting. Hield knocked down 124 threes to the tune of .473% and just narrowly missed out on a 50/40/90 collegiate season. His improvement from his junior to senior seasons is a testament to his work ethic, and drive to improve. Not to mention, his Sooners went 24-6 and are looking like a dangerous team when the Big Dance kicks off in a couple weeks.

Runner-Up

Perry Ellis – Kansas

Another stalwart of Big 12 play for the past 4 seasons, Perry Ellis capped of his final season of regular season play with his highest scoring average (16.8) assist average (1.4) field goal percentage (52%), and three point percentage (45%). His brand of not-so-flashy, but oh-so-skilled basketball has slowly progressed over his 4 seasons, and he’s doing it for the #1 team in the country in his final campaign. While Georges Niang was also in the running for this title, it’s the Jayhawk’s team success, and what Perry Ellis has meant to their run, is what pushes him ahead, if only by a little.

Freshman of the Year

Jawun Evans – Oklahoma State

Although his season ended early, due to injury, Jawun Evans certainly made his mark for the Cowboys. Going toe to toe with Buddy Hield, he dropped 42 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists against Oklahoma in a 2 point loss. Less than a week later, he had a line of 22 points, 6 rebounds and 8 assists, in an upset victory over Kansas, thus clearly establishing himself head and shoulders above the rest of the Big 12 rookie’s in terms of production. For the season he put up 12.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.9 assists, and shot great clips from all three categories. Evans will most likely be back next season, and with a fully recovered shoulder, be prepared for an even better sophomore campaign.

Draft Sleeper

Taurean Prince – Baylor

A player I spoke very highly of last season before his appearance in the Pan Am Games, and Nike Skills Academy, Taurean Prince has had a terrific season year, and has a few key traits that will help him in the NBA game. Blessed with good athletic ability, a 6’11.5’’ wingspan, and an 8’10.5’’ standing reach, Prince has the ability to take his prominent defensive ability to the NBA level. His 15.5 points per game was a career high, and despite a slight dip in his 3 point percentage, his shot, with continued reps, is pretty solid for a small forward. Looking to the next level, Taurean’s ability to guard multiple positions will be his calling card, but he’s got the offensive tools to develop into more than strictly a defender. Whether he gets scooped up in the late 1st, or in the 2nd round, I feel Taurean Prince can stick in the NBA.

Coach of the Year

Bill Self – Kansas

While Tubby Smith did a wonderful job guiding Texas Tech from the bottom of the conference to a likely NCAA Tournament team was a truly admirable coaching job, Bill Self has continued to rack up hardware at a near record setting pace. This season the Jayhawks collected their 12th Straight Big 12 title, only one shy of John Wooden’s 13 straight at UCLA. In addition, this season was very much in the flux for KU when they dropped 3 out of 5 games in mid-January, and had many wondering if the streak was dead. Bill Self’s Jayhawks responded with 11 straight victories, a Big 12 regular season title, and a #1 ranking nationally. If Self can add a Big 12 Tournament Title and a Final 4 run to the 2015-16 collection, then it could go down as one of his best seasons at the helm in Lawrence.

Biggest Surprise

Texas Tech

I knew Texas Tech’s sophomore class was chalked full of talent, and that they had a Hall of Fame coach leading them, but I honestly though the Red Raiders might be making a push for the NCAA tournament in 2016-17. Tubby Smith’s squad decided they had other ideas, and pushed up a tournament berth another season. Wining 9 Big 12 games, including 3 straight over ranked opponents, TTU just got things done on the court. While their NCAA berth is not 100% solidified, a 19 win season in a difficult conference, 3 wins over ranked opponents, and the #1 RPI ranking, things are looking up for a team many picked to do much worse.

Biggest Disappointment

Cheick Diallo’s NBA Readiness

By no means am I jumping to any conclusions about Cheick Diallo’s upside, but after watching him for the duration of the regular season, I feel he’s nowhere near ready to impact an NBA team next season. This season Diallo showcased great timing as a shot blocker, his high revving motor, and a natural ability to inhale rebounds, but it was still very clear the NCAA game was still very fast for him. Diallo was prone to rushing shots, outlet passes, and as a result, his tendency for unforced errors eventually lead to a decrease in minutes despite starting a game this year. For Cheick’s development, another season in Lawrence would do him a lot of good, where he could see more minutes as a sophomore, and work his way into an NBA gig. He still may bolt, but I feel he was nowhere near as NBA ready as previously advertised.

First Team All-Big 12

F - Georges Niang, Sr. – Iowa State
F - Perry Ellis, Sr. – Kansas
F – Taurean Prince, Sr. - Baylor
G - Buddy Hield, Sr. - Oklahoma
G – Monte Morris, Sr. – Iowa State

Second Team All-Big 12

F – Rico Gathers, Sr. - Baylor
F – Ryan Spangler, Sr. - Oklahoma
G- Wayne Selden, Jr. - Kansas
G – Frank Mason III, Jr. - Kansas
G – Isaiah Taylor, Jr. – Texas

Third Team All-Big 12


F – Devin Williams, Jr. – West Virginia
F – Jameel McKay, Sr. – Iowa State
F – Wesley Iwundu, Jr. – Kansas State
G – Isaiah Cousins, Sr. – Oklahoma
G – Jaysean Paige, Sr. – West Virginia

All Freshman Team

F – Dean Wade – Kansas State
G- Jawun Evans – Oklahoma State
G – Barry Brown – Kansas State
G – Eric Davis Jr. – Texas
G – Kerwin Roach Jr. – Texas

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