Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Save for two games against West Virginia in which he scored six and seven points, Iowa State’s Melvin Ejim produced Big 12 player of the year numbers.

 

IRVING, Texas — Iowa State forward Melvin Ejim was selected Big 12 player of the year by coaches and Andrew Wiggins chosen as the top freshman, turning the unveiling of league awards into Canada Day.

Without a FOIA request, or at least a look at the scratch pad inside league headquarters, we’ll never know how close West Virginia’s Juwan Staten came to winning top-player honors in the coaches vote. But let’s work under the assumption he was second or third, and definitely No. 1 on the made-in-the-USA list. He leads the Big 12 in scoring (18.4), assists (5.94) and minutes (37.5), ranks second in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.88), fifth in field-goal shooting (49.2 percent) and eighth in steals (1.19).

Staten was selected to the All-Big 12 first team—which, in a nod to legitimacy, contains precisely the five members any basketball all-league team should. He also landed a spot on the All-Defensive squad. (Remember that under gentlemen’s rules, coaches are not allowed to vote for players on their own team, lest we have a 10-way tie for every award every year.)

My knee-jerk reactions to Sunday’s list of the lauded:

PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Melvin Ejim, Iowa State
Good guy and a really good player who piled up a league-record 48 points against TCU but wouldn’t have even earned honorable mention based on his two clunkers against West Virginia. Seriously, the Mountaineers had his number: 1-of-9 for six points in Morgantown and 3-of-7 for seven points in Ames. Still, he was second in scoring (18.2) and rebounds (8.6), third in field-goal percentage (51.3 percent) and 10th in steals. (Taylor’s pick: After much internal debate, I like Ejim by a whisker over Juwan Staten. Statistically insignificant differences, but Ejim did it for a team with six more wins against a tougher schedule. … Sentimental write-in: Ejim’s teammate Georges Niang, an icon to savvy, slick-passing rec-league players everywhere.)
COACH OF THE YEAR
Rick Barnes, Texas
Six months ago, he was Mack Brown without the national championship, and UT hoops fans—all 4,500 of them—were pushing for a change. Now Barnes has taken a freshman- and sophomore-dominated team back to the NCAA tournament. Longhorns were picked eighth in the Big 12 in preseason and finished third. (Taylor’s pick: Lon Kruger, who won more games and beat Texas twice despite heavy roster turnover. … Sentimental write-in: Travis Ford, because that’s as close to this award as he’s going to come.)
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Joel Embiid, Kansas
The Hakeem Olajuwon comparisons rained down like confetti for the 7-footer from Cameron, who projects to be among the top three NBA draft picks this summer. Baylor’s Isaiah Austin is a better shot-blocker, but probably lost some votes because he’s not as active on the defensive boards. (Taylor’s runner-up: Austin. … Sentimental write-in: Kevin Noreen who was essentially legislated out of the game when the block/charge call became block/block.)
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
Andrew Wiggins, Kansas
An easy choice, even before Saturday’s 41-point game in Morgantown. Let’s be real, Wiggins could have accepted this award from the moment he committed to Kansas out of Huntington Prep. (Taylor’s runner-up: Joel Embiid. … Sentimental write-in: Chase Connor for three fantastic minutes against TCU.)
NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR
DeAndre Kane, Iowa State
Why does this category exist? Aren’t freshman newcomers? I suppose the rationale lies with the fact that roughly 98 percent of four-year Division I players are expected to transfer during their careers. Such was the case with Kane who made a sage move by leaving behind a C-USA bottom-feeder at Marshall. (Taylor’s runner-up: Kenny Chery of Baylor. … Sentimental write-in: Doing away with this category completely.)
All-Big 12 First Team
Melvin Ejim, Iowa State**
F
6-6
220
Sr.
Toronto, Ontario
DeAndre Kane, Iowa State
G
6-4
200
Sr.
Pittsburgh, Pa./Marshall
Andrew Wiggins, Kansas**
G
6-8
200
Fr.
Vaughan, Ontario
Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State
G
6-4
220
So.
Flower Mound, Texas
Juwan Staten, West Virginia
G
6-1
190
Jr.
Dayton, Ohio

 

All-Big 12 Second Team
Joel Embiid, Kansas
C
7-0
250
Fr.
Yaounde, Cameroon
Marcus Foster, Kansas State
G
6-2
200
Fr.
Wichita Fallas, Texas
Buddy Hield, Oklahoma
G
6-4
208
So.
Freeport, Bahamas
Markel Brown, Oklahoma State
G
6-3
190
Sr.
Alexandria, La.
Jonathan Holmes, Texas
F
6-8
240
Jr.
San Antonio, Texas

 

All-Big 12 Third Team
Cory Jefferson, Baylor
F
6-9
220
Sr.
Killeen, Texas
Georges Niang, Iowa State
F
6-7
240
So.
Methuen, Mass.
Perry Ellis, Kansas
F
6-8
225
So.
Wichita, Kan.
Cameron Clark, Oklahoma
F
6-7
211
Sr.
Sherman, Texas
Jaye Crockett, Texas Tech
F
6-7
210
Sr.
Clovis, N.M.

 

Big 12 All-Defensive Team
Isaiah Austin, Baylor
C
7-1
225
So.
Arlington, Texas
Joel Embiid, Kansas**
C
7-0
250
Fr.
Yaounde, Cameroon
Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State**
G
6-4
220
So.
Flower Mound, Texas
Demarcus Holland, Texas
G
6-2
185
So.
Garland, Texas
Cameron Ridley, Texas
C
6-9
285
So.
Richmond, Texas
Juwan Staten, West Virginia
G
6-1
190
Jr.
Dayton, Ohio

 

Big 12 All-Newcomer Team
DeAndre Kane, Iowa State
G
6-4
200
Sr.
Pittsburgh, Pa./Marshall
Joel Embiid, Kansas**
C
7-0
250
Fr.
Yaounde, Cameroon/
Andrew Wiggins, Kansas**
G
6-8
200
Fr.
Vaughan, Ontario
Marcus Foster, Kansas State
G
6-2
200
Fr.
Wichita Fallas, Texas
Isaiah Taylor, Texas
G
6-1
170
Fr.
Hayward, Calif.
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  • TruthTeller

    Have you sheeple not realized that WVU changed conferences? They are no longer playing in the Big East. It takes a team some time to adjust to new teams, traveling further than before, and handling new adversity like
    the bias that exist in the Big 12. I have never seen such bias refs in my life. If you would of removed the refs from the Big 12 games, WVU would of won most of the games and would be going to the NCAA tournament. The refs kept most the Big 12 teams in the game by putting them on the foul line to shrink the lead and give them some momentum. For two straight years WVU has been shafted by phantom fouls. Fouls that were no more fouls than if a fan was fouling the opponents. Iowa State gets creative and starts implementing martial arts karate kicks into their game and nothing is called. Let go Mountaineers!!!

  • J

    "...a C-USA bottom-feeder at Marshall." will surely get Marshall fans fired up, even though it's true. Actually, what doesn't get MU fans fired up?

    • Bullhalsey

      That's what you picked out of this article? LOL. You wvu fans are something else.

  • Dave

    Congratulations to Juwan Staten on making the 1st team and the defensive team. I think he should have been player of the year too. Eron Harris got snubbed. You can't tell me that scoring 18 points per game, 4th in 3 point field goals and 3 point field goal % and free throw shooting at 85% that Eron isn't one of the 15 best players in the conference.

  • Allen

    What a ripoff!

  • Me

    How long do we have to wait until the men's BB team finally gets into March Madness?

    Anyone else think that Huggins best days of recruiting are behind him?

    • Aaron

      No

      • wow

        +1

  • TW EAGLE

    I'm guessing the "man of the year " award belonged to OSU till their guy went on safari chasing down rabid fans . . . the ISU guy played for a team that attained more wins . . .
    too bad it took coach Huggins more than half a season to find a way to integrate Staten's talented motor into the framework of a very serviceable Mountie team . . . and forget the fact the Mountaineers were playing man D almost exclusively for the first 20 games . . .NOW , don't the Mounties play much better D when employing a zone ?

  • Mark

    If I'm Eron Harris I'm playing with a MAJOR chip on my shoulder this year and beyond. Might end up being a blessing in disguise after he comes out next year and annihilates the Big 12.

  • clark manning

    Eron Harris not even second or third team......Give me a break.

  • J the C

    Congrats to Juwan! Being first team all conference in what is arguably the best conference in the country is quite an honor. If the conference also gave a "most improved player" award, Juwan would also have to be high on that list.