Advertisement

Advertisement

Originally published March 9, 2014 at 12:03p.m., updated March 9, 2014 at 11:42p.m.

KU’s Wiggins named Big 12 freshman of the year, Embiid named defensive player of the year

Iowa State's Melvin Ejim wins Big 12 player of the year honor; Embiid in L.A. today

Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins, who most likely will enter the NBA Draft waves to the fieldhouse prior to the senior speeches on Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins, who most likely will enter the NBA Draft waves to the fieldhouse prior to the senior speeches on Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Advertisement

Kansas University freshman guard Andrew Wiggins was a unanimous selection for first-team All-Big 12 and also was named conference freshman of the year by the league coaches on Sunday.

Wiggins, a 6-foot-8 guard from Ontario, Canada, also made the all-newcomer team, but was not tapped the league player of the year. That honor went to Iowa State’s Melvin Ejim.

“I’m happy for Andrew to make first team and freshman of the year. He has had a great season,” KU coach Bill Self said of Wiggins, the third Jayhawk freshman in history to be selected first-team All-Big 12. He joins Ben McLemore (last season) and Brandon Rush (2006). The only other freshmen to make first-team all-league: Kevin Durant (Texas) in 2007, Michael Beasley (Kansas State) and Blake Griffin (Oklahoma) in 2008 and Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State) in 2013.

“Ejim did have a great year, and I can understand with his production how it could go that way,” Self added of the Iowa State player who ranks second in the league in both scoring and rebounding.

KU freshman center Joel Embiid was named Big 12 defensive player of the year and was second-team all-conference. He also joined Wiggins as a unanimous choice on the league’s all-newcomer team and made the all-defensive team.

“I’m happy for Joel. I really think no one in college basketball, when he’s healthy, has the potential to impact the game on both ends more than he does,” Self said of Embiid, who is the first freshman in league history to earn the top defensive player honor. KU’s Jeff Withey was defensive player of the year in 2012 and ’13, Cole Aldrich in 2010 and ’09 and Mario Chalmers in 2007.

“I am certain he is proud of the honor, but the big thing is we need to get him healthy,” Self added of Embiid.

KU sophomore Perry Ellis was named third-team all-league, while starters Wayne Selden and Naadir Tharpe were honorable mention, meaning all five starters were honored.

“Individual awards are usually based on a collection of your team having success, and certainly our team had success throughout the league,” Self said of the regular-season champs. “It’s a sign of balance when you have five guys recognized as the top players in your league. We’re proud of that, and certainly they are all very deserving.”

Texas’ Rick Barnes was named coach of the year and Iowa State’s DeAndre Kane newcomer of the year, while Oklahoma’s Tyler Neal and Oklahoma State’s Phil Forte shared the sixth-man award.

Wiggins is a finalist for the 2014 Naismith Trophy, Wooden Award and Oscar Robertson Player of the Year. He leads all league freshmen in scoring at 16.8 points per game, which is eighth overall in the conference. Wiggins ranks 10th in the Big 12 in field-goal percentage (.452) and ninth in free-throw shooting (.765). He scored 41 points against West Virginia on Saturday, the most ever by a KU freshman. Wiggins is the third Jayhawk to be named Big 12 freshman of the year, joining Jeff Boschee (1999) and Rush (2006).

Self has said Wiggins has had an exceptional season, even though some pundits may have not seen it that way.

“Anything less than 30 and 10 is not going to live up to the hype,” Self said. “He’s handled everything beautifully. He was in a no-win situation. No way he could be what other people that didn’t know him or ever see him play predicted him to be.

“He’s just figuring it out. He should be a senior in high school (he reclassfied last year). He’s a nice guy, great teammate, great athlete. I would say sometimes with ‘Wigs’ he gives the appearance of not playing as hard as some of the guys that guard him. We said the same thing about Archie Marshall when he played here. When you are a great athlete and so smooth, sometimes the appearance is different than what the outcome is.”

“I’m a team player. I play for my team,” Wiggins said recently.

Other first-team all-league players: Ejim, Smart, Juwan Staten and DeAndre Kane.

More on Embiid: Embiid, as the Journal-World reported Saturday night on the KUSports.com website and in Sunday’s newspaper editions, will be examined by a back specialist in Los Angeles today, with a determination to come soon whether he can begin practicing in preparation for Thursday’s Big 12 tournament opener against either Oklahoma State or Texas Tech (2 p.m. Thursday, Sprint Center).

Self would not disclose the exact nature of the injury to the J-W, only indicating it was more significant than a back strain.

He stressed to the Journal-World that Embiid’s back problem does not require surgery to fix.

Self told the J-W he thought Embiid would be able to play in the NCAA Tournament. The Big 12 tourney remains in doubt, with the goal to have a 100 percent Embiid for the NCAAs.

“Whatever medical things can be done to improve it, it won’t be that,” Self said of surgery. “It’s one of those deals where time makes it better. We don’t have time. If he took four weeks off, it’d be 100 percent. He’ll play with some discomfort. It’s stiffness. It’s not something that will get worse. It could be a matter of, ‘Can you tolerate the discomfort?’ This is something seen in offensive linemen (in football).

“We’ve sent him to the very best to get a second opinion. He’ll see him Monday morning.”

Self said specialists have been consulted regarded Embiid this past month.

“We’ve had a couple people reading different things (test results),” Self said, including the L.A. specialist in that group.

More honors: Wiggins on Sunday was named Big 12 newcomer of the week for the third time this season. The honor is voted on by a media panel. He averaged 25.0 points and six rebounds on 60 percent shooting as the Jayhawks beat Texas Tech and lost to West Virginia. Wiggins had 41 points versus the Mountaineers. Wiggins’ three Big 12 Newcomer of the Week honors in 2013-14 tie for the second most for a Jayhawk in league history. Last season Jayhawk Ben McLemore also had three. Tyshawn Taylor’s four newcomer of the week honors in 2008-09 are the most by a Jayhawk.

Embiid in L.A.: Embiid tweeted on Sunday from L.A. where he’ll be examined by a back specialist today: “I want to live in LA so bad #beautiful.” Also, “Wish I had time to visit more cities in the US!! Haven’t been to a lot of places #Amazing.”

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]

All-Big 12 first team:

Andrew Wiggins, Kansas

Melvin Ejim, Iowa State

DeAndre Kane, Iowa State

Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State

Juwan Staten, West Virginia

All-Big 12 second team:

Joel Embiid, Kansas

Marcus Foster, Kansas State

Buddy Hield, Oklahoma

Markel Brown, Oklahoma State

Jonathan Holmes, Texas

All-Big 12 third team:

Cory Jefferson, Baylor

Georges Niang, Iowa State

Perry Ellis, Kansas

Cameron Clark, Oklahoma

Jaye Crockett, Texas Tech

All-Big 12 honorable mention: Isaiah Austin (Baylor), Wayne Selden Jr. (Kansas), Naadir Tharpe (Kansas), Thomas Gipson (Kansas State), Will Spradling (Kansas State), Ryan Spangler (Oklahoma), Le'Bryan Nash (Oklahoma State), Kyan Anderson (TCU), Javan Felix (Texas), Cameron Ridley (Texas), Isaiah Taylor (Texas), Eron Harris (West Virginia).

Big 12 all-defensive team:

Isaiah Austin, Baylor

xJoel Embiid, Kansas

xMarcus Smart, Oklahoma State

Demarcus Holland, Texas

Cameron Ridley, Texas

Juwan Staten, West Virginia

Big 12 all-newcomer team:

DeAndre Kane, Iowa State

xJoel Embiid, Kansas

xAndrew Wiggins, Kansas

Marcus Foster, Kansas State

Isaiah Taylor, Texas

x denotes unanimous selection

Comments

Rodney Crain 9 months, 2 weeks ago

No real surprises here. Wish Wiggins would have won POY, his defense must have been discounted because as an overall player he was the best in the B12 when you consider both sides of the ball.

Len Shaffer 9 months, 2 weeks ago

As much as I love Wiggins, I disagree. Considering that Juwan Staten not only had ridiculous offensive numbers but made the all-defensive team, I would argue that he should have won POY.

Craig Carr 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Wrong, Wiggins can and did guard anyone other than a center when called upon, Staten can only guard the 1, no doubt he is good but I will take Wigs versatility each and every day.

Ethan Berger 9 months, 2 weeks ago

I feel like ranting. I hate the current NBA age limit. I hate that ESPN thinks its a right not a privilege to be a pro baller. I hate that kids think they deserve to be in the nba. Wiggins and Embiid are freak talents. But both still have major issues. But will be good ballers. This is what frustrates me. We assume that because you are good that you have reached max potential. Media uses LeBron,Kobe,KG and others as if they are the rule. I have no doubt in my mind that if they went to college min 2 years, they would have been all pros year 1. Freshman are just now getting used to the pace. But now they need to learn how to play the sport. Wiggins needs to work on the timing of his jumper and find ways to get open. Embiid needs to bulk up and keep learning. Now we throw them into the next level, where they have to completely re adjust to speed. It won't be until year 3 before they start learning the sport. Nba needs to do the right thing and bring in smart players who will have a smaller learning curve. Plus I really really want to see Wiggins and Joel for 3 years.

Erich Hartmann 9 months, 2 weeks ago

+100. I think we all would agree with your sentiments.

Aaron Paisley 9 months, 2 weeks ago

I agree partly with what you're saying. Kobe and KG are not exceptions to this rule because those two took about 3 years before either started truly becoming superstars in the NBA. LeBron James is the only true exception to someone being NBA ready out of high school.

I disagree with the pace of play because even from college to the NBA, it's a huge leap forward because the shot clock is 11 seconds shorter in the NBA. That adjustment to the pace of play is there no matter what whether going from no shot clock in HS (at least in most states) to 35 seconds in college to 24 seconds in the NBA.

The biggest issue I have is that HS kids and freshmen just aren't physically developed enough to play against grown men. I'm not saying guys like Joel Embiid don't work on their physical development because I know they do, but the fact is a 19 year old's body just isn't going to be as physically matured and developed as a 22 or 23 year old who is much closer to being fully physically developed. That is the biggest issue to me, not the skill level because truly great players are working to get better every year no matter what level their competing at and that's what separates Kobe's, LeBron's, KD's, and other great players from those who had the same potential but never worked to get better.

Ethan Berger 9 months, 2 weeks ago

From what I see, most struggle with the pace. High school has no shot clock, college at 35, NBA 24. But I think for me the physicality of it impacts the struggle. I agree with you about how ready their bodies are. Its a huge reason the nfl forces three years yet no one complains about that rule.

Jack Jones 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Agree with your analysis about the value of their staying another year, beyond the obvious selfish reason. Don't think they would have been All-Pro in year one NBA.

Walter Bridges 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Damn.. I find myself agreeing with your rant. Either two years of college or an age limit. First time for everything I guess.

Don't forget though that Kobe Bryant spent a lot of time on the bench his first two years and the NBA is all about money. When these kids start seeing dollar signs in their eyes, how can they turn that down? A lot of these kids are supporting families and don't have the luxury of a second year.

Ethan Berger 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Unselfishly its good to see them provide bad thing is many go bankrupt because they never learn how to manage their money.

Len Shaffer 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Would you care to rephrase that in English?

Ethan Berger 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Holy crap lol, saying its sucks they leave for money when so many go bankrupt because they never learn how to deal with all their money.

Matthew Pyle 9 months, 2 weeks ago

While I would love to see them stick around, the assumption that staying in college will make them a "better" basketball player versus playing against better competition in the NBA is extremely flawed. The competition is much better and they have no restrictions on practice, coaching, etc.... most that wash out of the NBA would have done so regardless of how long they stayed in school

Walter Bridges 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Disagree.. Would Withey have been drafted if he left after his 2nd year? Many more players make it into the NBA because they stayed in college long enough to develop their skills.

Matthew Pyle 9 months, 1 week ago

Sure there are kids that wouldn't be drafted but for staying 4 years (that wasn't my point), but many many others can and do go early... some ready and some not. My point is, for those kids who do get drafted, they are getting more attention on improving their games than they would by staying in college.

Sam Constance 9 months, 2 weeks ago

I get what you're saying, but why should a player have to reach "max potential" before they are allowed to be a professional?

Wiggins and Embiid absolutely have areas of their game in which they could improve, but honestly, that's true of pretty much every player that enters the NBA--even four-year seniors. And an argument could be made that the place where certain players (I think Wiggins definitely fits this) are going to do the most growth and maturing at the professional level, where they can spend every minute of their time working on their game, rather than having to balance it with school, social life, etc.

Personally, I think the NBA's age limit is stupid. It's nothing more than a way for the league to protect GMs from themselves. My ideal rule would be allowing HS players to jump straight to the pros, but forced them to attend at least 3 years of school if they went to college out of high school, but that's just my selfish, fan-of-college-basketball perspective talking.

The bottom line is that there is no way to craft a rule or set of rules that is ideal for every player. And the last place I want us to end up is paying college athletes to play for their school. The best way for that to happen is to allow any player who wants to enter the draft to do so.

Mark Lindrud 9 months, 2 weeks ago

I agree and believe it should be 2 years before they can go pro. People can talk about how other sports they can start their pro careers at a younger age and honestly I wish they couldn't. Let a kid be a kid and grow and do kid things before hitting the big money and being an adult.

We are expecting a 19 year old kid to handle endorsement contracts, fame, fortune and everything else when he just after being in college for a year, which as I can tell you second semester they are hardly students. When someone is going for a degree they must meet specific requirements so that they can go to the place of business and be a success. Well, in sports they are still growing into their bodies typically until the age of 20 so by giving them 2 years of college ball they have transitioned themselves from high school while making the next step in their growth where they aren't scrutinized by media moguls and what not, but can be protected while developing themselves.

I would also like for men's basketball to move the shot clock from 35 to 30 like women's because it is just ridiculous not to make them the same.

Ben Schwartz 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Wiggins is a guard. He plays a guard position, is listed on the official roster as guard, and has only contributed in the post maybe 2% of the minutes hes played at KU (he will also play guard in the NBA). So why does it say "forward"?

Wiggins should have been POY, and it is hilarious to see Embiid on the second team. Based on stats it is probably warranted, which makes it funny when you have seen the kid play.

Lonnie Ross Dillon 9 months, 2 weeks ago

he plays the "3" which is typically the small forward spot. Selden was the 2 (off-guard). Granted in Coach Self's system the 2 and 3 can be interchangeable as is the 4-5. But forward is technically correct.

Ben Schwartz 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Eh, you are correct of course. I would argue that a 3 that plays outside the arc is a "guard" and many roster listings agree with me in regards to Wiggins being a guard.

Jabari Parker is a SF, Wiggins is more of an oversized SG or a Swing, he really has no physical prowess in the paint unless his man is mismatched.

It originally irritated me because a.) this is supposedly a J-W report and being as though they cover KU basketball, I wouldn't think it would cross their minds to call him a "forward", and b.) because later in the article it says "Andrew Wiggins, Kansas, G, 6-8, 200..." I won't nit pick any further though.

Yonatan Negash 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Not sure, 8 losses helped Wiggins case in winning POY.

I cringe every time I think of a 10 loss season.

It's never happened in Bill Self's era

The last time Kansas lost 10 games in a single season dates back to 1999 - 2000.

Sadly, this could be the year we lose 10 games in a season. Not sure, I can get used to that.

Despite the tough schedule we had, we've lost way too many games this year. We've lost games, we should have won (i.e., Colorado, Villanova, West Virginia, Oklahoma State). In my opinion, with true leadership on the floor and true point guard play, not sure we'd be staring at a 10 game loss season.

Confidence in Naadir Tharpe is at an all time low at this point. In short, we just don't have a true point guard.

We've all seen flashes of greatness with Tharpe but for the most part it's been horrible to watch.

Unless something miraculously changes, which I have some serious doubts by the way, 10 loss season is inevitable.

The only time Kansas won a National Championship with 10 or more losses, was during the miraculous season 1988.

Ed Fox 9 months, 2 weeks ago

If KU gets to 10 losses, then it can't win the National Championship. KU currently has 8 losses. If it loses in the Big XII tournament, it gets to 9. If it wins the NC, it will still be at 9. If it then loses in the NCAA, it will get to 10, but of course, no NC. If it wins the Big XII tournament, then it stays at 8, and can't get to 10 either way. In other words, it's either NC or 10 loses, it can't be both.

And, yes, there is room for criticism of Naadir, but without some of his bigger games, there could be 2, 3 or more losses. It's a team game, with team wins and team losses. It's a rare game that one player is responsible for losing alone.

Sam Constance 9 months, 2 weeks ago

If anyone wants to see how spoiled KU fans have become, this is the post you should look at.

I'm also tired of the recent trend that KU fans have shown of trashing our point guards. Taylor. Johnson. Tharpe. It's becoming cliche.

Tharpe has issues as a point guard, but most of those issues, in my estimation, are defensive. He's undersized and lacks the athletic ability to compensate for his size. On top of that, he just doesn't always show great defensive awareness. It's the trifecta of point guard defensive liability. But his offense and floor generalship has been very good this year. He has a fantastic A/TO ratio and is shooting quite well from outside. There are multiple games that we've won this year because Tharpe has been solid down the stretch.

To say that "for the most part" he's been horrible to watch is just overblown sensationalism. When we've lost, it's been a team effort and any suggestion otherwise simply isn't borne out by facts.

Jonathan Allison 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Sam, I agree with you about KU fans bashing the point guard. I get the feeling that if we were fans of any other team we'd still find plenty of reasons to bash the PG. People even bashed Sherron when he was PG. Nobody's perfect. Especially in college, no one will play with the consistency of an NBA all-pro, and at the PG spot those bad days get amplified because you have the ball or are guarding the ball so much during the course of play.

Bottom line is that we need to support our players. No matter what players Self sends out on the court. Tharpe has been crucial to winning the conference this year, and will remain crucial to whatever we end up doing in the postseason. He should be tremendously proud of himself for what he has accomplished and being a leader of a top 10 ranked team at one of the premier college basketball programs in the country.

Mark Lindrud 9 months, 2 weeks ago

My issue is our point guards are undersized and that has been my main complaint. If you are going to be small then you need to be really quick, which Tharpe is not. I find if Tharpe isn't shooting well then he is off and that is an issue. Mason is very quick, but only knows how to drive and doesn't seem to understand yet when to pass and set people up on a regular basis. I don't call it being spoiled I call it wanting to win and from seeing what it has taken us to get to the Final Four under Self we can at least give the view point of what the PG should be and at this moment our PG is an inconsistent position for us.

Yonatan Negash 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Spoiled is not the case. I’m hoping you have better expectation from your starting point guard than what Naadir has shown. Heck, if you want to debate this, I welcome it. See stats below, for proof on how horrible it’s been to watch your starting point guard at one of the most prominent basketball program in the nation. The dude has averaged 5 points per game in the 8 games we lost.

No, No, No….it has nothing to do with being a spoiled Kansas fan. I just have more expectation from a seasoned point guard that’s been in the system the past three years.

Frankly, it’s not even the scoring that matters most, it’s the leadership shown or the lack of leadership shown, and he just doesn’t have it. Do you not see that?

I’ll stick with my initial assessment and I will repeat, it's been horrible watching Naadir play for the most part, end of story.

Villanova 5 points in 36 minutes

Colorado 8 points in 28 minutes

Florida 2 points in 29 minutes

San Diego State 5 points in 34 minutes

Texas 3 points, 26 minutes

KSU 13 points, 38 minutes

OSU 6 points, 34 minutes

West Virginia 0 points, 16 minutes

Aaron Paisley 9 months, 2 weeks ago

The only thing I see that I take major issue is Andrew Wiggins not being on the all defensive team. I would easily put Wiggins ahead of Austin, Holland, or Ridley.

Charles Wood 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Wiggins not being on the all defensive team is a joke.

Sam Constance 9 months, 2 weeks ago

I'd argue that you could replace ANY player on the All Defensive team with Wiggins. Including Embiid.

The fact that they named six players to that team and omitted Wiggins is proof that all they look at when voting for that team are the glory stats--steals and blocks.

Steve Corder 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Coach of the Year, Rick Barnes? Voted by fellow coaches is spelled is by no other name than "envy".

Bill, you should have come in 4th so you could have won COY, because you lost your entire starting line-up from last year.

Spread the wealth around at awards time?

Steve Corder 9 months, 2 weeks ago

This coaches's vote is a joke. How do you reward a kid like Smart on the 1st team after his suspension?

Where did Self place in the voting? Probably close to Fred Hoiberg? Who did a great job (sarcasm intended, in case someone missed it) coming in 4th (seeding) with 2 on first team and 1 on 3rd team while having the player of the year.

Self will never say a word, and shouldn't (he's too classy), but the players ought to be outraged. Put the hammer down in the tourney, guys!

Aaron Paisley 9 months, 2 weeks ago

KU was picked to finish first in the Big 12 this season, KU did finish first in the Big 12 this season. Bill Self did a great job this year as he has every year, but Michael Jordan didn't win every MVP during his prime. Rick Barnes actually showed an ability to be successful without a Kevin Durant or LaMarcus Aldridge, or a TJ Ford on the roster. Texas was pick 8th in the preseason and ended tied for 3rd this year. Rick Barnes did a helluva a job with that group this year that was supposed to miss the NCAA tournament again, but Barnes got them to be a solid team this year capable of beating anyone in the league and he deserved winning COY this year.

Steve Corder 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Aaron, KU was not the favorite. OSU and even I-State were the most talked about. I recall Bilas saying, early in the year, that Iowa State was the best team in the conference. All Self had was a promising freshman class and NO returners.

Barnes had a good year, no argument. But coach of the year? This is the coaches vote, and these B12 coaches can't wait for anybody to knock KU & Self off the top. This entire vote, top to bottom, is a sham!

If being the COY has to do with getting the most wins out of a so-so group then vote for Barnes, but remove recruiting prowess from the definition and you get the "also-rans" each year because nobody thought they'd be worth a penny in pre season polls yet finish in 3rd or 4th place. If the TCU coach gets 7 wins next year will he be the odds-on favorite for coach of the year?

Aaron Paisley 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Your words, This is the coaches vote.

My question to you, who did the coaches pick in the preseason to win the Big 12? The answer is that vote was split 5-5 between Kansas and OSU. See where I'm going here with this. Because this was the coaches voting on it, so more than like it was really the SID's at the schools, Texas finished with the biggest positive discrepancy from where they were picked in the preseason in the final standings and Rick Barnes was rewarded for significantly overacheiving with so-so talent as you put. Could Self have won, yes, but so could have Lon Kruger and I would've been fine with that as well. Based on you're other posts, it appears you've got your crimson and blue glasses on so tight that you can't step back and realize players and coaches outside of Lawrence are also capable of putting a quality product on the floor.

Sam Constance 9 months, 2 weeks ago

The problem with basing a COY vote based on where teams are picked in the preseason is that it fails to account for the fact that sometimes those preseason picks are just wrong.

It turns the COY award into a "Which Coach Finished Higher Than People Expected Award"

I don't personally mind Barnes as COY. But if we're giving it to the team that most exceeded expectations, then I think Weber was probably more deserving, as much as it makes me throw up in my mouth a little bit.

Joe Joseph 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Everybody knows stats drive these awards. Wiggins would have averaged 20 ppg if he played on any other team in the Big XII. He's a victim of the system he plays in and the talent that surrounds him. There's a reason that very few players that play for Self average a ton of points. Though I wouldn't trade that system for any other.

Anyone in the know - coaches included - knows that Wiggins is the best player in the conference.

Charles Wood 9 months, 2 weeks ago

I disagree that Wiggins is a victim of the system. Wiggins had 5 or more games that he disappeared and scored less than 10 points. A couple he scored 4 or 5 points. Self gave Wiggins the green light all year, and had to beg Wiggins to be more aggressive. I think that Wiggins had a great year and am not dogging on him. My beef is with those that think that Self's "system" does not allow a star to shine. We hear it all of the time nationally that our system is the reason that Andrew does not have the stats to match the other Freshmen in this class. If Wiggins had been as aggressive all season as he started to be lately, he would have averaged 20 & 9.

Beau Woolsey 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Ku lost 5 games it should have won against Okstate Villanova Colorado WV and KState. But in their best KU beat Duke, and won the toughest conference. KU's ceiling is the highest and if KU goes into the tourney with something to prove and a razor sharp focus. The rest will be history

Danny Hernandez 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Wigs got screwed, Ejim was awesome but Wigs was better, plus his play helped Kansas win the Big12. Did Ejim's?

Jack Jones 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Agree ~ Wiggins is the best pure player in the league ~ both sides of the ball. Wonder when the actual "voting" took place? If, held after the West Virginia game the outcome could well have been different. Your comment on his impact on our being Big 12 Champions, particularly given the lack of support by his teammates in too many games, is the key factor.

Jack Jones 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Afraid the "razor sharp focus" is our Achilles Heel this season. The pure individual talent is there, as we saw in the Duke, Texas and Oklahoma State (home games). However, every one of our top 8 or 9 players (Wiggins included) have had too many games when they seemed to disappear for more than a few minutes during the games. I believe there is a direct correlation between this and the fact that we have been more inconsistent from game-to-game, than any KU team in the recent past ~ something I believe our almost complete lack of experience ~ incoming, as well as returning players, have contributed toward. I certainly still have hopes for a National Championship ~ however, with our inconsistent individual play, and by extension, team play ~ I,m thinking it is going to be tough road due to the fact that the margins for error are reduced ~ and the pressure is greater given the one-and-done factor. I know one thing for sure, Wiggins will need more help from his teammates than he has been given. Also, the Embid back situation is obviously a real will-or-won't fact of life.

Beau Woolsey 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Wiggins is a player I am not worried about what so ever coming into the tournament. Also Ellis caught on in the post season last year and I think he could do that again given how little attention he has been given lately.

DaNeille Davis 9 months, 2 weeks ago

This team is too inconsistent to bet on winning any more games...you never know which team is going to show up!

Craig Carr 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Wiggins not on the all D team? Hilarious, probably the best overall defender in the league. He has guarded point guards through guys like Parker from Duke when needed. This entire list has much to be desired... Rick Barnes?, 2 guys on 1st team from the 4th place team and Hoiberg still getting huge credit. Don't get me wrong as I think he is a very good coach but 1 plus 1 doesn't equal 2, if you have 2 of the best 5 and finish 4 out of 10 what gives? Prayers to Joel as it appears his back is much worse than hoped.

Ben Schwartz 9 months, 2 weeks ago

I agree Joel, you need to visit more US cities if you think LA is beautiful enough to live in.

No offense LA Jayhawk fans.

Tony Bandle 9 months, 2 weeks ago

HEY..I disagree..as long as you don't have to drive there, work there, pay taxes there or breathe there, it's like heaven!!!!

Joe Baker 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Congrats to the KU players. I would rather have a NC which takes a team, not individual awards. Both awards would be nice. However, a NC any day over individual awards. I think the players would agree too. But, if someone has to win them, why not KU players.

Sam Constance 9 months, 2 weeks ago

There are only a couple of major fails on this list of postseason awards, as far as I'm concerned.

1) Wiggins being left off the All Defensive Team is a travesty. As I noted in a reply above, it's because the voters clearly have to base their votes on the glamor defensive stats--blocks and steals--and not based on watching what a player actually does on the defensive end. As far as I'm concerned, you could replace ANY player on the All D team with Wiggins and not be wrong. I personally think he was a better defender for our team this year than Embiid and would have been a good choice for DPOY. The fact that Smart, a guy who plays defense in large part by falling down to draw BS foul calls, is on there is downright offensive.

Speaking of Marcus Smart...

2) Smart being on the 1st team is also offensive. He still can't shoot for crap, has a mediocre A/TO ratio for a point guard, and plays the game with a terrible attitude. If there weren't an abundance of talented players in the Big 12 this year, then maybe you ignore his asinine attitude and put him on the first team. But there ARE a ton of great players in the conference this year. Players who had better years. For example, Smart's very own teammate: Markel Brown. I think the two of them should have been flipped on the 1st and 2nd teams.

Everything else here is pretty reasonable. I don't know about Barnes for COY, but any more, that award seems to basically mean "which coach had the biggest difference between how people expected him to finish and where his team actually finished". The problem with that approach is that coaches like Barnes, who likely contributed to people's low expectations this year with his terrible results with great talent in years past, benefit from their own past failures. And coaches like Self, who is now given a bump in expectations based on his ridiculous track record of success, suffer from their own past accomplishments. It's not like Barnes was working without talent--Holmes was an all-conference player, and Ridley was a McD's AA once upon a time. I think if we're looking at who did the most with the least, Bruce Weber (fighting urge to throw up) is probably the most deserving coach.

Now here's to hoping that Embiid sits in the Big 12 tourney (with perhaps an appearance if we make it to the title game) and gets his back right for the NCAA tournament. I, for one, am glad that the pressure that goes with a 1-seed isn't something this young and inconsistent team will have to deal with.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.