Staten, Harris Earn All-Big 12 Honors
IRVING, Texas - For the first time since 2001, an Iowa State Cyclone is the Big 12 Player of the Year as Melvin Ejim has earned the honor to lead the 2014 All-Big 12 Men's Basketball awards. Joel Embiid of Kansas was picked as the Defensive Player of the Year, while teammate Andrew Wiggins is the Freshman of the Year. ISU guard DeAndre Kane was chosen as Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, while Tyler Neal (Oklahoma) and Phil Forte (Oklahoma State) shared the Sixth Man Award. Rick Barnes of Texas was named Coach of the Year for the fourth time.
Ejim ranked second in the Big 12 in both scoring (18.2 ppg) and rebounding (8.6) while placing third in field goal percentage (.513). The senior forward became the fourth player in Big 12 history and the second Cyclone to reach the 1,500-point mark and 1,000-rebound mark for his career. The highlight of the year came on February 8, when he scored a Big 12-record 48 points en route to breaking or tying 10 different conference single-game records. A top student, Ejim has also been named to the Academic All-America First Team.
Embiid is the fifth Jayhawk in the past six seasons to capture the defensive award and the first freshman in league history. The center recorded 72 blocked shots, the third-best single-season total by a freshman in Big 12 history. He tied for fourth in the conference in rebounding (8.1) with eight double-doubles in 2013-14.
For the third time in head coach Fred Hoiberg's four-year tenure, an Iowa State student-athlete has been named Newcomer of the Year. Kane ranked among the Big 12 leaders in scoring (sixth), rebounding (11th), field goal percentage (fourth), assists (second), steals (sixth) and minutes played (fourth). He is one of only two players nationally averaging at least 16.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists.
Wiggins is the first Kansas player since 2005-06 to be chosen as top freshman. A finalist for the Naismith Trophy, Wooden Award and Oscar Robertson Player of the Year, he leads all league freshman in scoring at 16.8 points per game. He ranks 10th in the conference in field goal percentage (.452) and is also ninth in free throw shooting (.765). Wiggins scored 41 points against West Virginia on March 8, the second-best single-game scoring total in Big 12 history.
Neal and Forte are the first players from their schools to win the Sixth Man Award. Neal came off the bench in all 30 Sooner contests, averaging 6.4 points and 3.4 rebounds, scoring in double digits eight times. Forte is one of the league's top long-distance threats, ranking second in 3-point field goal percentage (.452). He also led the Big 12 in free throw shooting, making 85-of-98 (.867) from the stripe.
Barnes ties Bill Self of Kansas for the most Coach of the Year accolades (4) in Big 12 history. The Longhorn mentor led a team that had lost its top four scorers from a year ago to a 22-9 overall record, including an 11-7 mark in Big 12 play. Texas will be the No. 3 seed in the Big 12 Championship and is expected to earn its 15th NCAA bid in 16 seasons under Barnes.
The All-Big 12 First, Second, Third and Honorable Mention teams were also announced, while conference coaches also selected All-Defensive and All-Rookie Teams. Marcus Smart of Oklahoma State was a repeat selection on the first team and the all-defensive team, while Wiggins becomes the seventh freshman in Big 12 history named to the first team.
The official All-Big 12 awards are selected by the league's head coaches, who are not allowed to vote for their own players.
2013-14 PHILLIPS 66 ALL-BIG 12 MEN'S BASKETBALL AWARDS
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Melvin Ejim, Iowa State, F, 6-6, 220, Sr., Toronto, Ontario, Canada/Brewster Academy [N.H.]
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Joel Embiid, Kansas, C, 7-0, 250, Fr., Yaounde, Cameroon/The Rock School [Fla.]
NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR
DeAndre Kane, Iowa State, G, 6-4, 200, Sr., Pittsburgh, Pa./The Patterson School/Marshall
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
Andrew Wiggins, Kansas, G, 6-8, 200, Fr., Vaughan, Ontario, Canada/Huntington Prep [W. Va.]
SIXTH MAN AWARD
Tyler Neal, Oklahoma, F, 6-7, 234, Sr., Oklahoma City, Okla./Putnam City West
Phil Forte, Oklahoma State, G, 5-11, 185, So., Flower Mound, Texas/Marcus
COACH OF THE YEAR
Rick Barnes, Texas [Career: 582-298, 27th season; At UT: 380-164, 16th season]
** - Unanimous Selection
Ties in the voting created an additional spot for the Sixth Man Award and on the All-Defensive Team
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