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Monday, March 11, 2013

AP: Marcus Smart Big 12 player of year; Jeff Withey, Ben McLemore 1st team

Kansas forward Kevin Young defends against a drive from Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart during the first half on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013 at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Kansas forward Kevin Young defends against a drive from Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart during the first half on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013 at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

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Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart is The Associated Press Big 12 men's basketball Player of the Year.

And he's also the league's top freshman. He's only the third player to hold both awards at the same time.

In voting by a panel of AP members released Monday, Smart got 10 of 17 votes as player of the year. He got 14 points for top freshman.

Smart and a pair of Kansas teammates — freshman Ben McLemore and senior Jeff Withey — are unanimous All-Big 12 picks. They're joined on the first team by Baylor's Pierre Jackson and Kansas State's Rodney McGruder.

Travis Releford was the only other Jayhawk honored by the AP, as he earned honorable mention status.

Kansas State's Bruce Weber is the league's Coach of the Year. Iowa State senior guard Will Clyburn, a transfer from Utah, is Newcomer of the Year.

FIRST TEAM:

Pierre Jackson, Baylor, 5-10, 180, senior, Las Vegas.

Rodney McGruder, Kansas St., 6-4, 205, senior, Washington, D.C.

Ben McLemore, Kansas, 6-5, 185, freshman, St. Louis.

Marcus Smart, Oklahoma St., 6-4, 225, freshman, Flower Mound, Texas.

Jeff Withey, Kansas, 7-0, 235, senior, San Diego.

SECOND TEAM:

Isaiah Austin, Baylor, 7-1, 220, freshman, Arlington, Texas. C

Markel Brown, Oklahoma St., 6-3, 190, junior, Alexandria, La.

Will Clyburn, Iowa St., 6-7, 205, senior, Detroit.

Romero Osby, Oklahoma, 6-8, 232, senior, Meridian, Miss.

Angel Rodriguez, Kansas St., 5-11, 180, sophomore, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

HONORABLE MENTION:

Melvin Ejim, Iowa St.; Cory Jefferson, Baylor; Korie Lucious, Iowa St.; Tyrus McGee, Iowa St.; Le'Bryan Nash, Oklahoma St.; Travis Releford, Kansas.

COACH OF THE YEAR: Bruce Weber, Kansas St.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Marcus Smart, Oklahoma St.

NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR: Will Clyburn, Iowa St.

FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: Marcus Smart, Oklahoma St.

Comments

Brad Farha 7 years ago

Why B.S.? Smart is very deserving of the Player of the Year award. He was a man among boys in many respects. Weber also overachieved as Coach of the Year. I'm selfish and want these awards to go to Jayhawks, but others won them this year and rightly so.

Chris Bruning 7 years ago

Wrong, no player was as important to their team as JEFF WITHEY!!!! Total bs, and im a Marcus Smart fan....

jay381 7 years ago

I totally agree. I was just shocked as I was listening to a stream of 810 and even Bruce Webber said the MVP should have come from one of the teams winning the league. He all but admitted since he could not vote for his own player he voted for Withey. Considering the source I was totally surprised. No offense to Smart but no one exhibited the consistency (including McLemore) that was exhibited by Withey.

master16 7 years ago

all these votes are media influenced. Jeff Withey may very well be the most important player on the best team but Smart has all the media attention. He launched himself into NPOY conversation, led his team to give us our only home loss, established himself as a top 10 draft pick (top 5 maybe) and rejuvenated a dying OK State basketball crowd. Not to mention he has some pretty stellar stats for a freshman. That alone is story enough for the media to drool over him.

Dale Kroening 7 years ago

Does he deserve All league yes, All defensive team yes, but POY ? Hes shooting .410 , .291 from 3 , and .783 from the line. Look at Ben's stats , all are better percentages. Jeff or Ben are more worthy imo.

JayHok 7 years ago

Jeff Withey only needs to do one thing to make up for this mistake by the voters. Get the Final 4 MOP award. Get your name up in the rafters.

Michael Bratisax 7 years ago

Smart should have won both newcomer and POY in the Big 12. He was more consistent then either Ben or Withey and a point guard with his size and athleticism is one of those rare combinations NBA scouts drool over.

Weber won National Coach of the Year after his first season in Illinois and also deserved it in his first season in the Big 12. Now he will have to recruit his own players and if he does as well as he did at Illinois, it will be not only the first time he wins Big 12 POY but also his last.

kellerman411 7 years ago

Okay, I'm gonna throw something out there and see what people think....

Bill Self purposefully lost that game against Baylor.

mwmilsted 7 years ago

You are dead on. That game was a gift to Baylor. Self knows what it takes to win (or lose). By staying with a line-up that was not producing, he gave the game away. But Baylor played very well.

JayHok 7 years ago

He held a lot of strategic adjustments back unquestionably. Some of his quotes before the game were curious talking about the more Big 12 teams in the NCAA tourney the better. Baylor is not a team that's beaten often with straight up man to man for 40 minutes.

jayhawkinATL 7 years ago

Not buyin' it...no way in hell does Self give anything to Weber.

Steve Jacob 7 years ago

If you fix a game, you can't make it that obvious!

kellerman411 7 years ago

I don't think he intended on making it that obvious. I think Baylor played better than he thought they would.

texashawk10 7 years ago

I'll disagree that Bill Self purposefully lost to Baylor, but I do think Bill Self didn't try his hardest to beat Baylor because this team doesn't have the depth that Self thought it would have and KU had already clinched a 1 seed in the Big 12 tournament so in that regard, the game meant little. He did the same thing last year in the Big 12 tournament when he essentially took their first round game off to give his very thin team some rest prior to the NCAA tournament. Frustrating to watch, but when one of the team goals each year is to clinch the 1 seed in the Big 12 tournament and they accomplish it before the last game, it's not surprising to see KU take it easy during the game.

texashawk10 7 years ago

Self's comments about not caring too much about NCAA tournament seeding I think lends some credibility to the theory that Self was overly upset about Waco. I was at the game Saturday night and Self's courtside demeanor was certainly not the same as it is in big game situations when there is something on the line that is important to Self.

RockChalk26 7 years ago

Well, this thread just jumped the shark.

Bill, losing on purpose? Come on man!

jayhawkab 7 years ago

To say that you would have to call Bill Self a cheater and a phony do you agree?

sm5561 7 years ago

Everyone knows Bill Self is a closet Bruce Weber fan. Coach Self really wanted to see his buddy get a share of the conference championship so when he saw kstate lose he knew what he had to do.

Alex Thiessen 7 years ago

I really doubt that Bill wanted to lose that game. I do think that he wants his team to figure out how to play without so much help from him. The team should know how to play together and make adjustments at this point and Bill is going to save his bag of tricks for a few weeks.

JayHok 7 years ago

Pretty funny. Had nothing to do with Weber. Adding Baylor to the NCAA field helps the Big 12 so there was no reason to get too fancy with strategy adjustments. Baylor was hot from three, give them credit.

jaybate 7 years ago

Kellerman,

I already speculated on him doing it right after the game.

It was good for his team. Took pressure off Took and save an amount for the conference tourney.

It was good for the conference. Got another team in.

It was mending fences with Scott that needed mending.

It was good for the conference tourney.

And as Self said, it is the conference tourney that will determine the champ.

Last is Baylor an Adidas school. Probably Nike, but if Adidas then helps Adidas.

Self also never made the easy adjustments to the moving screens, nor did he ever get on the refs as he does, when fighting for a big win.

Last evidence: look at the game replay of him walking to the locker room after losing. Not his usual grimness. Looks like a guy who did the rational thing and is content with his choice.

That is a huge stack of circumstantial evidence.

But in the end there is the matter of Baylor being hot and KU being cold, and the fact Self did not need to amp them to share the title.

I think he did his best short of amping them.

But he is saving the amp for winning the conference tourney. He knows a conference tie and a conference tourney win will get KU a higher seed, than a conference win and a conference tourney loss.

jaybate 7 years ago

Anyone that got a C or higher in math knows Smart only got it because of the divided vote for Jeff and Ben. Both Jeff and Ben were way better and won a title. Its just how the split vote goes. Next.

Cody Riedy 7 years ago

Actually, per the above article, Smart got 10 out of 17 votes, meaning that at least for the AP vote, Smart won a majority of the votes no matter how Withey or BMac split or didn't split the votes. I suppose it's possible that some votes, said, "Geez, I can't decide between Jeff or Ben, so I'll just vote for Smart," but in terms of the recorded results, split votes didn't cost Jeff or Ben. Smart got 14 out of 17 votes for Freshman of the Year as well, which, since nearly all the voters thought he was a better freshman than Ben, would suggest that Ben probably got very few if any votes for player of the year.

jaybate 7 years ago

Windmill,

Yes, you are absolutely right, though not in the way you wish to be. Split votes occur in the minds of the voters, not necessarily on the ballots. Split votes occur also, because two great player allow a coach to play through both and spread it around, rather than have to route everything through, say, a Smart.

Good lord, man/woman, imagine Ben's scoring average if Self had not been able to spread it around as much as he did. Ben would smoked Marcus Smart's numbers. Smart only had two other guys that Ford could play through. Self had three others to choose from, plus a fourth and fifth once EJ got his pop back and Dir started getting inside. This KU team is actually crazy with scoring options now.

If every game, CBS/ESPN/Big12 Network had been hyping just Ben, or just Jeff, and if every game, Self had had to play through just Ben, or just Jeff, the way Stumpy Ford had to play through Marcus Smart, either Smart would have lost, or barely won in the vote.

Its pretty clear that Ben Mac could score 30/game within a team frame work. He's a monster. Marcus Smart was pretty much maxed out. The main thing Smart had distinguishing him was doing what he did as a freshman.

The other advantage Smart held was position. Playing point guard historically gives a player a leg up in such popularity contest voting. Coaches tend to be former guards and so they tend to overvalue the contributions of point guards in their minds. Classic case of experience bias. Also, when sports journos are doing the voting, they are more queer for the ball handlers other things being equal, because they, like the fans, rarely understand the fine points of the other positions.

Anyone that knows the KU team for instance, knows that Travis Releford is probably more important to the team than Ben Mac. Why? Because Ben Mac would have to play a lot more defense without Travis taking the toughest guy all the time. Ben's ppg would fall precipitously if he had to really guard the toughest guy. Ben is the better go get a basket guy, but in every other way Travis is the better college basketball player.

Bottom line, basketball civilians fall for ppg over everything else.

jaybate 7 years ago

Basketball insiders understand Ben couldn't come close to the numbers he did without Travis and that Smart couldn't do what he did without Brown.

I don't have any trouble with Smart being on the first team, though if I had to choose between them this year, I would choose Travis any day over smart.

I would choose Ben over smart as a pro prospect, too.

And I would choose Jeff over both of them to build a college team around.

Jeff assures you the other team only about 2-3 times a season will shoot a better FG%; that is money in the bank. Once you've got that, you've got something no one else has and its just a matter of scraping together perimeter players that are just a little better, or a little worse than each other around the league.

Jeff and Travis are the backbone of the team. EJ would have been a third were he healthy, because he would have been able to do everything Travis did, plus shot 40% from trey.

None of these guys would be as good of triggermen as Ben. Ben is a great, great shooter and scorer. But he's 1-2 seasons away from being a serious defender.

Now, just so you don't dirty your pants. I'm not saying Ben won't be a great pro. If he can muscle up somemore and become a possessed defender, then I think Ben is destined to be an all pro and have a great career leading some team to some rings.

FWIW, Marcus Smart has Jason Kidd plus 2 inches written all over him. He will be the kind of guard that will play a long time, but he will never be able to carry a team in the NBA. Like Kidd, he will need a great player or two to carry the team, while he gives the team great muscle and control at the point.

Cody Riedy 7 years ago

I follow and agree with most of your points. Ben is the best pro prospect of the three: Ben, Jeff, Smart. But in terms of player of the year, I only saw it as a race between Smart and Jeff. To me, taking away those two players has the most significant impact on the outcome of their teams' seasons and the outcome of the Big XII standings. When it comes to voting between the two, its hard not to vote for Smart over Jeff in the same way its hard not to vote for a QB in the Heisman or MVP in the NFL: the ball is simply in their hands much more. That doesn't mean it's a perfectly fair vote. I would have voted for Jeff because his team won the league, but I can't criticize a vote for Smart. He wasn't perfect against us in both games, but in both games, he was able to force his will upon the game in ways that KUs players as individuals rarely do.

In regards to Ben, I agree, he hasn't actually been asked to do a lot this year, but what he has been asked to do, he's done exceptionally well: shoot. Despite his size and athleticism, he was rarely asked to be a shutdown defender against the opposing team's star; besides in transition, he struggles to create his own shot and in fact, I think he could be quite a bitter better and more aggressive at utilizing his screens to get open. Despite these weaknesses in his game, he's had a pretty phenomenal year, despite the fact, that in a weird way, he's been a role player. As you say, his success and the team's success relied primarily on Jeff, Travis, and EJ. Still, Ben's NBA ceiling is the highest. Improving his D and his use of screens, he can be a Ray Allen type player. If he improves his handle, he can be a big time scoring, and not just a shooting guard.

jaybate 7 years ago

Thanks for the exchange. I learned from it.

JayHok 7 years ago

Complete respect to Piere Jackson too. What a player.

jgkojak 7 years ago

I think Baylor was shooting lights out/playing to win.

Self took everyone out with 2 min. left - we could have challenged and seen how close we got it-

worst case would be an injury trying to mount a crazy comeback that really doesn't mean anything in the end.

JayHok 7 years ago

It was a 6 point game with 5 min to go and Self stayed man to man. During the Baylor game I had the feeling KU's players sat in a hotel watching the KSU-OSU game. A good lesson for the tourney. Go shoot at an outdoor court and stay away from watching. A hundred times smarter than developing a rooting interest. Work on getting your body ready and smooth for game action, don't just expect to show up and be on fire.

texashawk10 7 years ago

Why would Self abandon man defense at that point? Zone defense has 2 big weaknesses and Baylor was excelling at both. Zone defense encourages 3 point shooting and makes it much harder to box out for rebounds. Baylor was making their threes and were already outrebounding KU for the game so a zone defense would've done more harm than good.

JayHok 7 years ago

Not once did Baylor have to make an adjustment. I'm just saying Self wanted to beat them one way only to get his team ready for bigger games otherwise we would have seen more cat and mouse where Self outprogrammed Drew.

texashawk10 7 years ago

Tell everyone what's like to have such a horrible life that trolling under multiple ID's on a sports website becomes fun? And Born and Raised, I'm not referring to you should the poster this is directed at gets banned again.

ParisHawk 7 years ago

POY or MVP? Even on our team, Ben is one and Jeff the other. Smart is both for his team, plus he imposes his will on the contest more than any of our guys do.

JayHok 7 years ago

Congratulations are in order for KSU from all teams associated with the Big 12. First title in thirty plus years. Hopefully they stay away from cutting nets or anything like that. If a team loses twice to its co-champion and cuts nets it's a sign of showmanship. Surely they won't do that.

JayHok 7 years ago

Obviously something that insecure would be driven by Weber. I don't think he's stupid enough to put a target on his back. Something that stupid would mark him for life in the Big 12 as having major insecurity issues that can be attacked during game planning strategies. Surely he wouldn't open himself up this easily.

BainDread 7 years ago

Don't be upset. Let the Wildcats celebrate and enjoy their first basketball trophy in 30 plus years. They took care of business and had no bad losses all year. I'm pretty sure if the Jayhawks were to be co-champs of Big 12 football next year, there will be one whale of a celebration in Lawrence, even if the co-champ beats us during the season.

JayHok 7 years ago

I actually congratulated them.

JayHok 7 years ago

Is this for real? Weber seriously did this? O.M.G. He's much more insecure than ever imagined. There's a huge hole in the scouting report apparently only three big 12 teams know about. Way to show your cards to the rest of the big 12 Weber. This reminds me of those Tshirts their football fans made for owning all Texas schools. It's not like that won't come back to haunt them or anything.

texashawk10 7 years ago

They made the Texas state champs shirts for basketball too which is just plain embarrassing since SFA may very well be the only team from the state of Texas that makes the NCAA tournament this year.

http://shop.kstatesports.com/catalog/product/Kansas_State_Wildcats_NCAA_Mens_Basketball_Texas_State_Basketball_Champions_T-Shirt_-_Purple

arch007bak 7 years ago

Just saw the video of it. Not only did they cut their own nets down at the Octagon of Dumb but Weber mentioned if it hadn't been for bad calls, they would've won it on their senior night. He also said he became Baylor's biggest fan Saturday night.

JayHok 7 years ago

He whined too at the net cutting about referees? That's an absolute no-no in the coaching fraternity. Is he trying to get other coaches and referees to read his headlines? He has officially been black-balled already by the Big 12 that didn't take long. Looking at the one call he was whining about in the OSU game he was so incredibly wrong. If he's whining about the ISU game I'd like to hear him whine an explanation regarding the goal tending call on KU or the phantom fouls on Withey. Bruce Whiner. He's begging to be interviewed now.

arch007bak 7 years ago

Saw it on KSHB 41 tonight at 10:30. As much as old man Jack hates KU, I'm sure he'll make sure it gets posted.

arch007bak 7 years ago

May have to find that video myself. I thought he was whiny about bad calls on their senior night but they won that one didn't they? Either way I know he mentioned bad calls.

arch007bak 7 years ago

K-statehd.tv

Fast forward to about 22:00. Not sure what game he's talking about.

jaybate 7 years ago

How can a guy be such a good player and choose Ford over Self?

I know. Chemistry is everything. Self can't click with everyone. But if ever there were Self kind of guy, Smart seems like one.

Chris1955 7 years ago

T Boone Pickens money under the table?

TulsaJayhawk 7 years ago

Okie State paid attention to his buddy Forte. That was the clincher.

Dale Stringer 7 years ago

I think the 1st team is perfect and every one of them were legitimate POY candidates. 2nd team, I'm not so sure about. Angel is definitely there, but there could be 20 players that could be in those four other slots.

JayHok 7 years ago

How did Kevin Young not make 3rd team? These lists alone should have our starting five riled up.

jgkojak 7 years ago

Awaiting angry tweet from Rio:

Man, in any other conference, I'd be player of the year

texashawk10 7 years ago

It's back, and stupid enough to make multiple posts using the same theme it always uses. What happens after it runs out of highways to use?

texashawk10 7 years ago

He posted twice in about 5 minutes trolling as a KSU fan using Ft. Riley 18 and as an Okie St. fan using Cowboybackflip 51 with the state highway signs with those numbers for the avatars.

texashawk10 7 years ago

If it was really a good troll, it wouldn't get banned in less than 30 minutes after posting now. Good trolls make fans not in the know believe they're really fans like wildjayhawk and squakhawk do while those who have been around know who they are.

Michael Luby 7 years ago

Releford should have gotten second team.

Yolanda Gay 7 years ago

I think for Ben, if he had performed better in road games, he would have been hands down freshman of the year and/or POY.

For Withey, he was ineffective in the Iowa State and Baylor game because of the way the teams played him while they had the ball. They pulled him away from the basket. Plus, in the Baylor game, his man went off.

For Releford, there were several games, most notably the Baylor game where he just disappeared.

Marshall Ballard 7 years ago

I am not sure if anyone else noticed this, but this list is incorrect...Osby made First Team and Pierre Jackson made Second Team...according to the Big 12 website...if Jackson made Second Team, someone explain how?

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