Wednesday, May 6, 2009


All-Big 12 NBA team full of Jayhawks, Longhorns

Boston’s Paul Pierce celebrates a basket by his Celtics teammates in this file photo. Pierce will be returning to Allen Fieldhouse for the Legends of the Phog exhibition game on Sept. 24.

Boston’s Paul Pierce celebrates a basket by his Celtics teammates in this file photo. Pierce will be returning to Allen Fieldhouse for the Legends of the Phog exhibition game on Sept. 24.



Ben Margot/AP File Photo

ex-longhorn Kevin Durant, right, drives against Stephen Jackson in this Jan. 21 file photo in Oakland, Calif. Durant led all Big 12 products in the NBA in scoring this season at 25.3 PPG.

Reader poll

Who is the Big 12's best NBA player right now?

  • Kevin Durant 6% 91 votes
  • Paul Pierce 82% 1114 votes
  • Chauncey Billups 8% 117 votes
  • Other 2% 30 votes

1352 total votes.

Together, Kansas University and Texas make up nearly half of the Big 12 players currently playing in the NBA.

Of 41 Big 12 players in the NBA, 19 of them (46.3 percent) wore a Jayhawk or Longhorn uniform in college.

It makes perfect sense when looking at the last four seasons of Big 12 hoops. From the 2005-2006 season to the recently completed 2008-2009 season, Kansas and Texas have, between them:

• Faced each other in the Big 12 tournament title game three of the past four years.

• Won the past four regular-season Big 12 titles (KU outright in ’08-’09, ’06-’07; shared in ’07-’08, ’05-’06).

• A combined conference record of 101-27.

• A national championship, three Elite 8 appearances and a Sweet 16 appearance.

Also consider:

The leading Big 12 scorer in the NBA right now: UT’s Kevin Durant (25.3 points per game).

The conference’s leading rebounder: UT’s LaMarcus Aldridge (7.5).

The Big 12’s leader in assists: UT’s T.J. Ford (5.3).

Don’t expect the power to shift any time soon. No. 1 will likely be the only preseason ranking given to the Jayhawks by any publication next year.’s Andy Katz has UT trailing closely at No. 4.

The 19 KU and UT players in the NBA could balloon to nearly 30 in the next two years with names like Sherron Collins, Cole Aldrich, Xavier Henry, Marcus Morris, Markieff Morris, A.J. Abrams, Damion James, Dexter Pittman, Avery Bradley and Jordan Hamilton.

But what about the rest of the conference?

After KU’s 11 NBA players and UT’s eight, only Missouri (four) and Oklahoma State (four) even come close. And, well, it’s not really even that close.

Texas A&M; and Kansas State have three NBA players apiece, while Nebraska (two), Iowa State (two), Colorado (one), Baylor (one), Oklahoma (one; not for long, though) and Texas Tech (one) round out the conference.

Here’s my all-Big 12 NBA team, if I were to vote on a team today:

1. Chauncey Billups, CU, Denver

Mr. Big Shot (17.7 points, 6.4 assists) would be an ideal fit for any team at point guard. Best trade in the history of the Nuggets franchise? Acquiring Billups for Allen Iverson.

2. Paul Pierce, KU, Boston

The Truth (20.5 points, 5.6 rebounds) is the Big 12’s most polished NBA player. This would be a super-experienced backcourt with Pierce and Billups both winners of an NBA championship.

3. Kevin Durant, UT, Oklahoma City

Durant, easily the Big 12 player with the highest ceiling, improved his play in just about every category this season. Durant just completed his second year in the league. His points per game improved from 20.3 to 25.3; his rebounds from 4.4 to 6.5; assists from 2.4 to 2.8; free throws made from 4.9 to 6.1; FT’s attempted from 5.6 to 7.1, which proves he’s becoming more aggressive.

4. Drew Gooden, KU, San Antonio

Gooden’s becoming quite the journeyman (Memphis, Orlando, Cleveland, Chicago, Sacramento, now the Spurs), but his 11 points and seven boards per game are solid.

5. LaMarcus Aldridge, UT, Portland

Aldridge is finally becoming the force the Blazers thought he’d be (18.1 points, 7.5 boards). He averaged just around those numbers in six playoff games this year as well.

Four of these five are Jayhawks or Longhorns. Sounds about right.


waywardJay 10 years, 8 months ago

hmmm im not sure i like that.....

not sure Drew deserves it...... not sure i like moving down the reigning NBA finals MVP for a second year player...... and we are leaving Kirk Off

  1. Chauncey ( no argument )
  2. Kirk Hinirch
  3. Paul Pierce
  4. Kevin Durant
  5. Lamarcus Aldridge.

I think i like that alot better

  1. Daniel Gibson
  2. Dj Augustin
  3. Michael Beasley
  4. Nick Collison
  5. Darnel Jackson ( ofcourse nick and Darnell are interchangable 4 or 5 ) as my benchies.....

Eric Sorrentino 10 years, 8 months ago

I based a majority of my first team on realistic positions. Durant's never been a 4 in his pro career and actually started out his career in Oklahoma City as a 2, before they moved him to the 3 this year. And I love Darnell as much as the next guy, but Darnell over Gooden on your second team?

yates33333 10 years, 8 months ago

Aldridge, Durant, Pierce, Beasley, Billlups. MVP: Billups.

InfiniteJ 10 years, 8 months ago

I'm surprised Chalmers isn't on there anywhere, he had a very solid rookie season.

drum1984 10 years, 8 months ago

Using a system where you get a point for every Point, Rebound, Assist, Steal & Block, and you lose a point for every missed Field Goal, missed Free Throw and Turnover, the Big 12's Top 20 would be as follows:

  1. Kevin Durant (Texas) 1677 (22.7pg)
  2. Paul Pierce (Kansas) 1555 (19.2pg)
  3. LaMarcus Aldridge (Texas) 1553 (19.2pg)
  4. Chauncey Billups (Colorado) 1469 (18.6pg)
  5. T.J. Ford (Texas) 1146 (15.5pg)
  6. Michael Beasley (Kansas St.) 1042 (12.9pg)
  7. Mario Chalmers (Kansas) 1022 (12.5pg)
  8. Nick Collison (Kansas) 944 (13.3pg)
  9. Keyon Dooling (Missouri) 783 (10.2pg)
  10. D.J. Augustin (Texas) 779 (10.8pg)
  11. Linas Kleiza (Missouri) 754 (9.2pg)
  12. Drew Gooden (Kansas) 693 (13.6pg)
  13. Joey Graham (Oklahoma St.) 632 (8.1pg)
  14. Darrell Arthur (Kansas) 603 (7.9pg)
  15. Maurice Evans (Texas) 601 (7.5pg)
  16. Kirk Hinrich (Kansas) 567 (11.1pg)
  17. Brandon Rush (Kansas) 557 (7.4pg)
  18. Daniel Gibson (Texas) 531 (7.1pg)
  19. Tony Battie (Texas Tech) 493 (6.4pg)
  20. Mikki Moore (Nebraska) 470 (6.7pg)

Kansas-7 Texas-6 Missouri-2 Colorado-1 Kansas St.-1 Oklahoma St.-1 Texas Tech-1 Nebraska-1

Eric Sorrentino 10 years, 8 months ago

Yates, nice list. My only tough decision was the 4 spot. Beasley over Gooden long-term, absolutely. I chose Gooden just based on this year. Beasley looked brilliant at times, but raw at others. Next year, if we come back to this exercise, I bet Beasley makes my first team.

Drum, those are pretty fascinating numbers. Your final tally leads to my poll question of the Big 12's best player...Durant or Pierce.

esj2003 10 years, 8 months ago

E-Sorr, don't listen to all this Tom Foolery. You nailed it. Trying to squeeze Kirk Hinrich into the starting lineup is a little too heart-stringy of a move. The four is the only spot that's not definitive. Gooden's had a better career (mainly based off tenure) than Beasley, so he's the better pick. Collison could maaaaybe get consideration, but Gooden is better.

No one else comes close to breaking up that starting five.

Luan Do 10 years, 8 months ago

Did I just read the Morris twins and NBA in the same sentence? OK that's the funniest thing I've read all morning.

kuballa09 10 years, 8 months ago

Would you have believed Darnell would be in the NBA after his freshmen year? Give em a couple more years and at least Marcus will be ready for the league.

Sf Boggsz 10 years, 8 months ago

Eric good article. You're right, there is more to come especially considering what is in the pipeline for both teams in terms of the recruits incoming the next two seasons, combined with the players currently on rosters.

As good as the Billups trade has worked out for the Nuggets, I'm not sure if this is the best trade in their history. I would have to rank the Dan Issel trade number one from the Kentucky Colonels via the Baltimore Claws? Issel scored over 27,000 points in his ABA/NBA career.

Jacobpaul81 10 years, 8 months ago

Good information Eric. Of course, the glaring absence of any centers in all of these lists is worrysome. The only Big XII Center ranked in the top 10 on drum1984's list is Nick Collison. Meanwhile, T.J. Ford is 5th on that list, but he closed out the season riding the pine behind Jarrett Jack and Brandon Rush... Rush meanwhile closed out the season scoring double figures in 12 of the last 13, averaging 17 pts per contest. That's good enough for the starting 2 position on an all conference team when you look at the 2 guards from the Big XII playing today.

1st Team:

PG - Chauncey Billups SG - Brandon Rush
SF - Paul Pierce PF - Lamarcus Aldridge C - Nick Collison

2nd Team:

PG/SG - Mario Chalmers PG/SG - D.J. Augustin SF - Kevin Durant PF - Michael Beasley PF - No one can defend the 5, but pick your poison: Kleiza, Gooden, Graham

Top 5 Big XII NBA players? Billups, Pierce, Durant, Chalmers, Aldridge

Big XII Player of the Year? Chauncey Billups Big XII Rookie of the Year? Mario Chalmers

100 10 years, 8 months ago

Nice job LJW. Keep the hoops articles coming

Joe Baker 10 years, 8 months ago

Interesting B12 input...But frankly there's no comparison when you look at the best all time B12 players in the NBA right now. There's no contest:

Pierce Billups Collison Gooden Heinrich

These all have one common denominator: EXPERIENCE (i'd have them play any team in the NBA right now and would love to see the outcome)

None of the others have been in the NBA long enough to even hold a candle to any of these guys!! Give the 1-2 yr B12 NBA players another two years and they'll be ready to compete with these individuals. Wow! What NBA coach would refuse the above guys on their rosters!! LOL

Eric Schneider 10 years, 8 months ago

Everybody can laugh all they want about the idea of Marcus Morris in the NBA. But kubolla09 is right. Marcus will get drafted. And probably very high. Remember the NBA drafts on potential. And very few big men have his skill set. He has a good mid-range game and is an excellent ball handler for a big man. If he shows the kind of improvement over the next two years that he showed during his frosh year, he will be a lottery pick after his junior season. I'll guarantee that.

yates33333 10 years, 8 months ago

I would pick Collison over Gooden. Collison defends his position. The Big 12 will have a good center in the NBA next year or the year after when Cole Aldrich goes. Didn't Lamarcus Alridge play center at Texas?

I think I agree that Collison should be on the team instead of Beasley, but Beasley has way more tools. He has had trouble adjusting to not being the man at Miami. If I were Chalmers I think I'd hate to play with Wade. I like Collison a great deal. I wonder why OKC doesn't get a center and use Collison at power forward?

Jacobpaul81 10 years, 8 months ago

yes, Aldrich will be an NBA center if he bulks up. Aldridge was a center at Texas and has played Center when the trailblazers starting centers have been hurt. He's undersized though due to his frame. He is listed by the NBA as a Power Forward, while Greg Oden is the starting center in Portland.

waywardJay 10 years, 8 months ago

I chose Darnell over Drew on intangibles.....

Darnell will play SOLID basketball.... Drew will Play Athletically but will be a bonehead. You have three SOLID scorers in dj booby and the beas..... down load you ned people to clean up their misses......

As for Durant playing the 4..... DOn't you think it's round about time a 6'11 guard gets eliminated from basketball.... considering that NO ONE is posting him up..... You can sit out on the perimeter and shoot all you want... but when i hear over the intercom.....

And Your shooting guard...... at 6 foot ELEVEN !!!!!

It makes me wanna grab stilts and play GUARD !

He's an NBA 4 Who has the mushy soft consistancy of Richard SImmons...... so he plays the 3.....

At least PP EARNS his spot at the three being 6'7 and 240ish

waywardJay 10 years, 8 months ago

and what about the NBA big 12'ers that never lived up to their potential via injury.....

case in point..... Lafrentz, Danny, Donnie Boyce....... all lost to knees..... could the big O still be playing had his body not said otherwise......

couldn't any of those guys be on this list ( possibly starting ) other wise......

i tend to look at situation when factoring in...... when durant is 6'9 215 ( yes 215 after two years of NBA "conditioning" he's got the body of markieff Morris..... ) would BOMB over anyone at the two position because they average between 6-3 an 6'7 depending on the team and the player against he's playinig.....

kirk is listed at 6'3 190..... 6 inches and 15 pounds lighter than KD

Kirk shoots a worse percentage by .14 percentage points.... but creates more turnovers and defends the positions better..... with less oppurtuniotes from the field because he's now benched behind a team of Combo guards......

Eric Schneider 10 years, 8 months ago

Look for Brandon Rush to start moving up this list next year. The Pacers' brass here in Indy all love his game. I got to go to a couple of the games he started down the stretch. One thing was very evident. The Pacers are a much better defensive team when he's on the court. He was also showing a lot more confidence on the offensive end. Combine all that with the fact that we don't know when Mike Dunleavy will be close to 100% and Brandon should be an integral part of the team next year.

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