2009-10 All-Big 12 picks
The official 2009-2010 All-Big 12 college hoops team will be revealed in the next few weeks, but here's my take on what the list should look like right now:
All-Big 12 First Team
G: Sherron Collins, Kansas senior
Reasoning: Collins may be 12th in the league in scoring (15.1 ppg) and fifth in assists (4.36), but there's still not a better point guard in the Big 12. As 6Sports director Kevin Romary put it on the latest Spodcasters: Take Collins away from Kansas, and the impact would be huge. Arguably more significant than any player in the conference.
What Collins also has working for him is a Heisman-like moment, pictured above. On Jan. 30, the determined drive to the bucket at K-State in overtime, where a cramped-up Collins hung in the air and banked in a brilliant shot, all while drawing the foul, resonates with everyone.
These are individual awards, but should the Jayhawks finish the season 16-0 in the league, it'd be tough to leave Collins off.
G: Jacob Pullen, Kansas State junior
Reasoning: Pullen's the third-leading scorer in the Big 12 with 18.8 points per game. In playing nearly the same amount of minutes as last season, Pullen has improved in nearly every significant statistical category, and is one of the most improved players in the league.
Pullen's always been a threat to drive to the basket, but his ability to knock down the three-point shot has elevated his game this season. You could sag off Pullen a bit more last season, when he only converted 33.5 percent of his threes. This season, he's hitting a respectable 39.6 percent of his threes and is second in the Big 12 with 2.81 trifectas made per game.
It seemed last year, Denis Clemente, a second-team all Big 12 selection in 2009, was the Wildcats' go-to guy. Pullen, who merely garnered honorable mention honors in 2009, should be a unanimous first-team choice this season.
F: James Anderson, Oklahoma State junior
Reasoning: Talk about a unanimous, no-brainer selection. Anderson leads the Big 12 and is fourth nationally with 22.5 points per game. Anderson has topped the 20-point mark in nine of Oklahoma State's 13 conference games.
He's the second-most prized NBA prospect in the Big 12 (behind KU's Xavier Henry), according to NBADraft.net, which has Anderson being drafted No. 13 overall.
Right now, Anderson is my pick for conference player of the year.
F: Damion James, Texas senior
Reasoning: James is a double-double machine. The senior averages 17.7 points and 10.7 boards per game. Only three players in the Big 12 (James, KU's Cole Aldrich, Baylor's Ekpe Udoh) average a double-double.
James, who leads the conference in rebounding, has been the one consistent player on a disappointing Longhorns team that's 22-6, but started the year 17-0. That said, if James' consistency rubs off on some of the freshmen like Avery Bradley, J'Covan Brown and Jordan Hamilton, this could be a scary 6-8 seed come March.
C: Cole Aldrich, Kansas junior
Reasoning: A quick glance at the stat sheet reveals Baylor's Ekpe Udoh sporting better averages than Aldrich in rebounds (10.3 to Aldrich's 10.2) and blocked shots (4.26 to 3.75).
However, Udoh plays 35.1 minutes per game. Aldrich, on a Jayhawks team with a deeper front court, plays 26.8 minutes per contest.
So basically, Aldrich is more efficient. His adjusted defensive rebound percentage for the time he's on the floor, and his block percentage is better than Udoh's.
Furthermore, Kansas is No. 1 in the country in field goal percentage defense. The main reason is Aldrich.
If Udoh's numbers were considerably better than Aldrich, my pick might be different, but my nod goes to Aldrich, who's averaging 11.5 points and 10.2 boards per game.
Here's how my All-Big 12 Second Team would look:
G: Tweety Carter, Baylor senior (Big 12 assist leader at 6.09 per game)
G: LaceDarius Dunn, Baylor junior (Big 12 three-point leader with 3.33 made per game)
F: Marcus Morris, Kansas sophomore (since conference play started, leads Big 12 in field goal percentage at .556; 12.7 points, 6.3 boards per game for season)
F: Craig Brackins, Iowa State junior (16.7 points and 8.4 boards per game)
C: Ekpe Udoh, Baylor junior (Big 12 blocks leader at 4.26 per game)
For reflection purposes, here's how the All-Big 12 first team looked one year ago in 2008-2009, as chosen by the league's coaches:
G: Sherron Collins, Kansas
F: Craig Brackins, Iowa State
F: DeMarre Carroll, Missouri
F: Blake Griffin, Oklahoma
C: Cole Aldrich, Kansas
Here's a look at the 2007-2008 All-Big 12 first team, which had six players on the squad:
G: D.J. Augustin, Texas
G: Curtis Jerrells, Baylor
G: Brandon Rush, Kansas
F: Michael Beasley, Kansas State
F: Blake Griffin, Oklahoma
F: Darrell Arthur, Kansas
Are any of your picks for this year different? As always, discuss.