Jayhawks well-represented on coaches' Big 12 teams

Self wins coach of the year; Marcus Morris, Taylor named to All-Rookie team

All-Big 12 first-teamer Cole Aldrich, right, walks off the court with Big 12 Player of the Year Blake Griffin of Oklahoma.

All-Big 12 first-teamer Cole Aldrich, right, walks off the court with Big 12 Player of the Year Blake Griffin of Oklahoma.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Kansas fights back, defeats Texas to win title

Trailing by 14 in the opening half, the opportunity for five straight Big 12 titles was slowly fading for the Kansas men's basketball team.

Kansas University’s inside-outside combo of Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich earned first-team All-Big 12 recognition on Sunday.

Collins, KU’s 5-foot-11 junior guard from Chicago who averages 18.3 points and 5.0 assists a game, and Aldrich, a 6-11 sophomore center from Bloomington, Minn., who averages 14.8 points and 10.5 boards, were joined by Blake Griffin (Oklahoma), DeMarre Carroll (Missouri) and Craig Brackins (Iowa State) on the first teams of both the Associated Press and the league coaches.

Collins and Griffin were unanimous choices by both groups.

“I’m really happy for Sherron and Cole. Both are very deserving of first-team honors,” KU coach Bill Self said. “Without exception, you could say they have been two of the most consistent players in the Big 12. As the two leaders of this team, it is also a reflection of how their teammates have matured throughout the year.

“The bottom line is, the reason we got better and won the league is because we had other players step up that didn’t get individual recognition, but made our team better.”

KU had no players represented on the second and third teams or honorable-mention squad.

However, freshmen Tyshawn Taylor and Marcus Morris were named to the coaches’ all-rookie team.

Aldrich was named the coaches’ co-defensive player of the year with Missouri’s J.T. Tiller and also was named to the all-defensive team.

“Cole has been impressive. He played four minutes a game last year and averaged a double-double this year,” Collins said. “He’s improved so much. I’ve been able to watch it. It’s been terrific to see.”

Collins has been pleased with his own progress this season as well.

“I think I started slow. I was going uphill,” said Collins, who reported back to school out of shape following offseason arthroscopic knee surgery. “I think I had a good year leading the team. Coach did a good job with us (him and Aldrich). We bought into his system and have worked hard.”

Of Collins, Aldrich said simply, “He’s been our leader all year.”

Griffin was unanimous for the AP’s Player of the Year award. Griffin enters the postseason averaging 22.1 points and 14.2 rebounds.

“He’s the best player in the country,” Self said. “He’s athletic, tough, wants to be a player, is a nice young man, seems to be a good teammate. He has all the pieces to be great (in NBA). Blake gets you 22, 23 (points) and 10-12 (boards) a night.”

Both the AP and coaches named Kansas State’s Denis Clemente the Big 12’s newcomer of the year and Oklahoma’s Willie Warren freshman of the year.

Recruiting: Doran Lamb, a 6-4 junior from Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va., tells Rivals.com he has a current list of KU, UConn, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Rutgers, Seton Hall, St. John’s, Syracuse and Xavier. He’s the No. 21-rated player in the Class of 2010. ... John Wall, a 6-4 senior guard from Word of God Christian Academy in Raleigh, N.C., attended Baylor’s 66-62 loss to Nebraska on Saturday in Waco, Texas. Wall is considering BU, Memphis, KU, Miami, Duke and North Carolina State.

2008-09 Phillips 66 All-Big 12 Men's Basketball Team Awards

Player of the Year
Blake Griffin, Oklahoma

Defensive Players of the Year
Cole Aldrich, Kansas
J.T. Tiller, Missouri

Newcomer of the Year
Denis Clemente, Kansas State

Freshman of the Year
Willie Warren, Oklahoma

Sixth Man Awards
LaceDarius Dunn, Baylor
Matt Lawrence, Missouri

Coach of the Year
Bill Self, Kansas

All-Big 12 First Team

Craig Brackins, Iowa State
Cole Aldrich, Kansas
Sherron Collins, Kansas
DeMarre Carroll, Missouri
Blake Griffin, Oklahoma

All-Big 12 Second Team

Denis Clemente, Kansas State
Willie Warren, Oklahoma
James Anderson, Oklahoma State
A.J. Abrams, Texas
Damion James, Texas

All-Big 12 Third Team

Curtis Jerrells, Baylor
Cory Higgins, Colorado
Leo Lyons, Missouri
Ade Dagunduro, Nebraska
Byron Eaton, Oklahoma State
Josh Carter, Texas A&M

All-Big 12 Honorable Mention (Listed alphabetically by school)

LaceDarius Dunn (Baylor), Kevin Rogers (Baylor), Jacob Pullen (Kansas State), J.T. Tiller (Missouri), Austin Johnson (Oklahoma), Terrel Harris (Oklahoma State), John Roberson (Texas Tech), Alan Voskuil (Texas Tech).

Big 12 All-Defensive Team

Cole Aldrich, Kansas
J.T. Tiller, Missouri
Ade Dagunduro, Nebraska
Terrel Harris, Oklahoma State
Justin Mason, Texas
Derrick Roland, Texas A&M

Big 12 All-Rookie Team

Marcus Morris, Kansas
Tyshawn Taylor, Kansas
Denis Clemente, Kansas State
Zaire Taylor, Missouri
Willie Warren, Oklahoma