Player of the Week
LeBryan Nash – Oklahoma State
During the past week there hasn’t been a hotter team in the Big 12 than Oklahoma State, and their senior swingman, LeByran Nash, has been leading the charge. The Cowboy’s premiere scorer and wing defender has averaged 19 points, 5 rebounds, 1.3 blocks and a steal per game as OSU knocked off Texas, Kansas and Baylor in a 5 day span.
Nash’s breakout season has played a key part in propelling the Cowboys past middle of the pack pre-season predictions. Already known as a strong, and athletic defender, it’s his offensive decision making, and ability to get to the line that’s helped take Nash to the next level in 2014-2015. During this three game winning streak, Nash has amassed 24 free throw attempts, in which he converted 19 points. Nash leads the conference in free throws attempted, free throws made, and sits 2nd in the Big 12 in scoring. Heading into the second half of the year, LeBryan Nash locking down defenders and scoring the ball like he has are certainly good signs for the Cowboys as they look to add to their NCAA Tournament resume.
Brannen Greene – Kansas
One if not the best of the shooters in the conference has been on quite a long range tear lately, and that shooter is Brannen Greene. Kansas’ 6’7’’ freshman is currently pacing the Big 12 in 3 point percentage with a sizzling .516%. In Greene’s last 6 games, he’s gone 15-21 from long range, and averaging 10.8 points per game in just 19.3 minutes per contest. The Jayhawks’ long range bomber is also fractions of percentages away from the lofty 50/50/90 club 23 games into the season. As of Monday night, Greene’s percentages were .494% from inside the arc, .516% from deep, and .879% from the charity stripe. Who knows how long this insane hot streak will continue, but regardless of how long Brannen’s already jaw dropping long range clip keeps climbing, he’s asserted himself as a key player for Kansas, and one of the best pure shooters in college basketball.
Isaiah Taylor – Texas
Texas has hit a pretty surprising mid season rough patch, but their sophomore point guard, Isaiah Taylor is seemingly back to his old self after an early season wrist injury derailed his hot start. Over his past 5 games, the 6’3’’ point guard has averaged 19.4 points, 5.2 assists, and 3.8 rebounds per contest. Taylor, who’s often struggled with efficiency is also shooting 43% from the field during this streak, which is up from both his regular season total from this year, and his season clip from his freshman campaign. The bad part is that Texas has lost 4 of these 5 contests. After picking up a key win on the road against Kansas State, in which Taylor went for 23 points and 4 assists, and hosting TCU later this week, Taylor has a chance to lead his team back to their early season form.
Marcus Foster – Kansas State
A once surging Kansas State has seemingly kissed their post season hopes goodbye after dropping 4 straight games and dropping to a pedestrian 12-12 on the season. The first two games in this streak came with sophomore guard, Marcus Foster in the lineup. The last two happened with him suspended from the team for a violation of team rules. His suspension, along with teammate Malek Harris’, is indefinite and ongoing, but as the Wildcats remaining schedule sports a lineup that have all seen time in the top 25 polls at some point in the year, Foster picked a pretty poor time to leave his team hanging.
Now past the halfway point in the conference season, here are my picks for the All-Big 12 teams and awards for the first half of the year.
POTY – Buddy Hield – Oklahoma
DPOTY – Jameel McKay – Iowa State
Newcomer of the Year – Jameel McKay – Iowa State
Freshman of the Year – Myles Turner – Texas
6th Man of the Year – Taurean Prince – Baylor
Coach of the Year – Bill Self – Kansas
All-Big 12 1st Team
All-Big 12 2nd Team
All-Big 12 3rd Team
Honorable Mention: Marcus Foster (Kansas State), Kyan Anderson (TCU), Bryce Dejean-Jones (Iowa State), Isaiah Cousins (Oklahoma), Kenny Chery (Baylor), Naz Long (Iowa State), Ryan Spangler (Oklahoma), Nino Williams (Kansas State), Thomas Gipson (Kansas State), Wayne Selden Jr. (Kansas)
Big 12 All-Defensive Team
Jameel McKay – Iowa State
Myles Turner – Texas
LeBryan Nash – Oklahoma State
Demarcus Holland – Texas
Frank Mason III – Kansas
Follow David Ray on Twitter @DR_NBADraft