Originally published March 10, 2013 at 06:06p.m., updated March 11, 2013 at 12:01a.m.

Jeff Withey, Ben McLemore selected to All-Big 12 first team

Withey also honored as Big 12 defensive player of year

Kansas center Jeff Withey blocks a shot by Kansas State guard Rodney McGruder during the first half on Monday, Feb. 11, 2013. Earlier in the game, Withey set a new KU career block record.

Kansas center Jeff Withey blocks a shot by Kansas State guard Rodney McGruder during the first half on Monday, Feb. 11, 2013. Earlier in the game, Withey set a new KU career block record.



Kansas' Jeff Withey (5) and Baylor's A.J. Walton (22) position for a rebound in KU's 81-58 loss to the Baylor Bears Saturday in Waco, Texas.

Kansas University senior center Jeff Withey on Sunday was named Big 12 defensive player of the year for the second straight season in a vote of league coaches.

Withey, a 7-footer from San Diego who is the all-time KU and Big 12 leader in blocked shots (289), also was named first-team all-conference with KU freshman Ben McLemore, Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart, Kansas State’s Rodney McGruder and Oklahoma’s Romero Osby. Smart was tapped the league’s player of the year and unanimous pick for freshman of the year.

“This is a big honor to be named the defensive player of the year for two straight years in such a tough conference,” Withey, a unanimous pick, said Sunday. “These are prestigious honors from the coaches, and to have my other teammates listed throughout those awards shows how much of a team we have been (this season).”

KU senior Travis Releford was named second-team all conference with Baylor’s Pierre Jackson, Iowa State’s Will Clyburn, KSU’s Angel Rodriguez and OSU’s Markel Brown. KU senior Elijah Johnson was honorable mention.

Releford and Withey made the all-defensive team and McLemore the all-rookie team.

“I’m happy for all of them,” KU coach Bill Self said. “We knew Ben and Jeff would be on the first team, but I feel sometimes when you have guys on the first team it could split the vote for player of the year.

“Marcus Smart is a very deserving player of the year in leading Oklahoma State to a good finish in the league and an NCAA Tournament bid. Any of those four — Ben, Jeff, McGruder and Smart — could have been player of the year.

“Travis and Jeff both deserve to be on the all-defensive team, and it’s great for Jeff being named the defensive player of the year for the second straight season,” Self said. “I’m glad Elijah is honorable mention. I am so pleased for Travis to make second team. He’s put so much time into this program. He’s the rock nobody talks about.”

Withey is the first player in Big 12 history to win the defensive award outright in back-to-back seasons. Cole Aldrich won the award in 2009-10 after sharing it with Missouri’s J.T. Tiller in 2008-09.

Withey has 124 blocked shots this year, a total that ranks fourth on the single-season Big 12 chart after he set the record with 140 in 2011-12.

Also, Kansas State’s Bruce Weber was named coach of the year, Iowa State’s Will Clyburn newcomer of the year, ISU’s Tyrus McGee sixth man award winner and ISU’s Melvin Ejim scholar-athlete of the year.

McLemore, who on Saturday passed Danny Manning as KU’s all-time leading freshman scorer, has nine games of 20 or more points, including three 30-point efforts against Big 12 competition. Releford and Johnson are appearing on All-Big 12 squads for the first time in their careers. Releford leads KU with 37 steals, while Johnson has a team-high 149 assists.

“I’m happy for all those guys,” Self said. “They are all very deserving. Individual awards are terrific, but I know our guys are focused on team achievements, which mean much more.”

KU tied K-State in winning its ninth straight Big 12 crown — the Jayhawks’ 13th Big 12 title and NCAA-leading 56th overall regular-season conference championship. Kansas had two players on the All-Big 12 first team for the second straight year and the sixth time in the last seven seasons. The Jayhawks have had two first-teamers nine times in the 17-year history of the Big 12, which began in 1996-97.

KU (26-5, 14-4) will meet the winner of Wednesday’s West Virginia-Texas Tech game at 2 p.m. Thursday in Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Nine in a row: Self on Sunday praised his team for winning a ninth straight Big 12 title. “The regular season is over. It was an exceptional regular season,” Self said on his weekly TV show. “To go 26-5 after losing Tyshawn (Taylor), Thomas (Robinson) and Conner (Teahan) and have them play as well as they have for the most part all year long …

“We had a rough eight-day stretch (losing three in a row), which has been well documented. We played poorly yesterday (in 23-point loss at Baylor). We also ran into a team that probably played the best anybody has played against us in a long, long time. That’s a talented team. They put it on us pretty good even though we cut it to six late. We didn’t play well down the stretch.

“I’m proud of this team,” he added. “Nine in a row for these guys ... five for Travis, four for Jeff, four for Elijah and two for Kevin (Young). Whatever it is, they all maxed out. I’m happy for them and proud of them.”

Wiggins finishes campus tours: Andrew Wiggins, a 6-7 senior forward from Huntington (W.Va.) Prep, visited North Carolina last weekend and has completed all his campus visits. The country’s No. 1-rated player will choose between KU, UNC, Kentucky and Florida State at a yet-to-be determined date.

KSU party tonight: K-State, which tied KU for the Big 12 title, will hold a Big 12 title celebration at 6 tonight in Bramlage Coliseum. The celebration will include a net-cutting ceremony and remarks from university president Kirk Schulz, athletic director John Currie, coach Bruce Weber and seniors Jordan Henriquez, Martavious Irving and Rodney McGruder.



Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State, G


Jeff Withey, Kansas, C


Will Clyburn, Iowa State, G


Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State, G


Tyrus McGee, Iowa State, G


Melvin Ejim, Iowa State, F


Bruce Weber, Kansas State

All-Big 12 First Team

Ben McLemore, Kansas G

Jeff Withey, Kansas C

Rodney McGruder, Kansas State G

Romero Osby, Oklahoma F

Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State G

All-Big 12 Second Team

Pierre Jackson, Baylor G

Will Clyburn, Iowa State G

Travis Releford, Kansas G

Angel Rodriguez, Kansas State G

Markel Brown, Oklahoma State G

All-Big 12 Third Team

Isaiah Austin, Baylor C

Melvin Ejim, Iowa State F

Amath M'Baye, Oklahoma F

Steven Pledger, Oklahoma G

Le'Bryan Nash, Oklahoma State G/F

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

Cory Jefferson (Baylor), Korie Lucious (Iowa State), Tyrus McGee (Iowa State), Elijah Johnson (Kansas), Shane Southwell (Kansas State), Michael Cobbins (Oklahoma State), Jaye Crockett (Texas Tech), Eron Harris (West Virginia), Deniz Kilicli (West Virginia)

Big 12 All-Defensive Team

Chris Babb, Iowa State G

Travis Releford, Kansas G

Jeff Withey, Kansas C

Angel Rodriguez, Kansas State G

Michael Cobbins, Oklahoma State F

Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State G

Big 12 All-Rookie Team

Isaiah Austin, Baylor C

Will Clyburn, Iowa State G

Georges Niang, Iowa State F

Ben McLemore, Kansas G

Amath M'Baye, Oklahoma F

Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State G


flloyd 9 years, 5 months ago

After some of the fouls Withey got away with at the last Iowa State game in Ames, he can always get a job acting when his career is over in the NBA! We really dodged a bullet in that game and it saved our bacon for a tie for the Big 12 champs this year. We'll miss Jeff next year.

(If I coud find out who paid off the refs in the ISU game in our behalf, I'd buy them all the beer they could drink at Free State!)


Tim Orel 9 years, 5 months ago

I'll have what he's paying for at Free State.

Rock Chalk 9 years, 5 months ago

Congratulations, Jeff. I know I speak for many when I say we are proud of you.

parrothead8 9 years, 5 months ago

Finishing as a 2-time Defensive Player of the Year and the Big 12 career leader in blocks gets him to the rafters.

hawk_of_ages 9 years, 5 months ago

No disrespect to Jeff, but I don't think conference honors by themselves are enough for a jersey retirement. Especially since the blocks stat wasn't even kept until relatively recently. He needs to at least lead us to a Final Four this year to reach that plateau. (Yes, he was integral to our Final Four run last year, but he wasn't one of the stars.)

That's not to diminish his career at all. I have nothing but admiration for what he's done at Kansas, no matter what happens from here on out.

texashawk10 9 years, 5 months ago

No, although I wouldn't mind seeing a banner in the north rafters (where the banners for olympians all-Americans, etc. are) that recognize who the top 10 career leaders in points, rebounds, assists, blocks, and steals are. I think that would be an appropriate way recognize some players like Langford, Miles, Pollard, Ostertag, and whoever else is in the top 10 of those catergories that were good players that left a significant mark on KU's history but weren't quite good enough to be hanging from the south rafters.

actorman 9 years, 5 months ago

Excellent idea, texashawk. You should write to KU about it.

RockChalk26 9 years, 5 months ago

I love Jeff but the only way he is getting up in the rafters would be him climbing a ladder to change a lightbulb.

hawk_of_ages 9 years, 5 months ago

If he leads us to a title, he'll absolutely be up there. Final Four? Maybe. Anything short of that, no.

ljmhawk 9 years, 5 months ago

I think self deserves COY every year until KU loses their current streak

texashawk10 9 years, 5 months ago

Voters stopped giving MJ the NBA MVP after a time even though everybody knew who the real MVP was.

Steve Quatrocky 9 years, 5 months ago

Agreed, Congrats to Coach Weber, he did every thing BUT beat Kansas so thats as hollow as our backing into a share for number 9

Steve Quatrocky 9 years, 5 months ago

Sorry, but that goes to Marcus Smart, did you watch him against KState, or Us at the end of the game we lost at home? His game is the most developed right now, the most able to take over a game, even though Ben probably has a much higher ceiling because of his shooting %s.

You do know that Bill wanted him, could you imagine if he were on our team this year with him running the point and EJ sharing time with him and Travis?

LLH 9 years, 5 months ago

I'm not normally one to get worked up over individual awards, but there are two instances in time where I have. One being last year when ESPN led the charge for Davis when Robinson was clearly a better overall player. Of course I'm bias, but I still believe Thomas got robbed. On to today. Smart is a hell of a player. It makes sense that if you are the POY and a freshman, then, you probably are also the FOY. That being said, I'm not sure that he really was the POY. Basketball is a team sport, and his team finished 3rd in the league, so apparently the POY is based solely on stats and or impact right? IF that is the case, one could argue that Jackson leading the league in assists and points is just as likely a candidate. Sure his team was 9-9 but 3rd, 6th, who cares, you didn't win the league. Being a KU homer, I would argue that Withey had just as much of an impact for the success of his team as Smart did, and you MAY even be able to say the same for Ben. Oh well, congrats to Smart. My point is I just don't "get" how these things are decided. Withey is the DPOY so apparently he is mainly viewed as a defensive prescence first and foremost. Okay, fair enough, but was Davis not basically the same thing and he is NPOY? Whatevs.

Benjamin Simon 9 years, 5 months ago

It wasn't unanimous. Withey and McLemore split the votes of those going to KU players.

Nonetheless, lot of love going to Iowa State and Okie State this year.

Steve Gantz 9 years, 5 months ago

Do you happen to know where Smart would be on draft boards if he declared? Not trying to be a wise guy, just wondering.

texashawk10 9 years, 5 months ago

Last week I saw one that was McLemore, Smart, and Noel in that order. Make no mistake, Marcus Smart is very high on NBA radars and will be a top 5 pick in June.

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 5 months ago

You gotta figure that he has the most upside than anyone else in the Big 12. He can completely dominate a game w/his passing and scoring. Pretty good on defense as well. Mid-lottery at least.

Phognatic 9 years, 5 months ago

I love me some BMac, but don't be surprised if Smart goes ahead of him in the draft. It really comes down to team draft order really. The association loves shooters but Ben's handle and ability to create his own offensive looks need work and he didn't demonstrate leaps-and-bounds of improvement this year in those areas (IMHO.) Smart is a big (tall and thick) 6-5 NBA GMs swoon.

texashawk10 9 years, 5 months ago

HEM, correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't KU in the last 2 for both Smart and Porter? Can you imagine ridiculously good a line up with Smart, Porter, McLemore, Withey, and whoever between EJ and Releford would be. It's crazy to think just how close KU was to that as a realty for this season.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 5 months ago

And we would have had Porter for last year's run ...

yates33333 9 years, 5 months ago

BSPN. You gotta love it bro!!

I would hate like the Devil to choose between Withey and Smart. I think these things are determined mainly by points scored and Smart was a better scorer. Also, Withey's defense altered many plays and he most assuredly influenced the outcome of lots of games, but in terms of totally taking over a game he came up short of Smart. The Big 12 has only had a handful of players as good as Smart. Of course, it hasn't had too damn many as good as Withey. Too bad there isn't a category most improved player during a career. He'd win hands down.

I think the player who had a job played on him was Jackson of Baylor. They should have chosen a 6 man first team this year. I've seen this sort of thing done earlier by all-star selection committees.

John Randall 9 years, 5 months ago

This selection wasn't by committee, it was coaches vote.

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 5 months ago

BSPN! Instant Classic!

"how can we have a likely #1 draft pick (Ben), and he isnt the BigXII POTYr?" The NBA gives more weight to what they perceive is potential than what they give to statistics. Davis was a OAD while Robinson was three years of construction.

Looking at their first year NBA statistics and Davis comes out on top.

hawksfan08 9 years, 5 months ago

Just for fun...

Davis 14.2 points 10.4 boards 4.7 blocks Withey 13.6 points 8.6 boards 4 blocks

The Davis deal, and to a lesser extent Marcus Smart this year, is purely a media driven freshman hype fest. You also had the WWW/Calipari/shoe company factor in with Davis. Robinson would've needed to average 25 and 12 to win that award. Marcus Smart had a great year and was deserving but I think the real reason for him winning it is the sensationalism about freshmen. It's somehow considered less impressive for a player to put up great stats when they are a junior or senior than when they are a freshman.

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 5 months ago

Davis was the easily the #1 player last year and would have been a lottery pick without going to college. Davis 13 PPG, Robinson 4.7 PPG.

In this years draft, Nerlens Noel, Alex Len, Cody Zeller, Mason Plumlee, Willie Cauley-Stein, Rudy Gobert and Kelly Olynyk will all go before Withey. I hope there is a team that can use his skills while not needing his scoring (or lack of scoring) in the NBA.

Glen Miller 9 years, 5 months ago

Davis is on a horrid team with no bigs that he gets minutes for. Robinson was on a Sacramento team with too many bigs and there weren't many minutes. The stats aren't comparable because the playing time isn't comparable.

Jonathan Allison 9 years, 5 months ago

I'm with you LLH.

I really feel that Withey was Big 12 POY. Marcus Smart is a good overall player who showed the ability to take over games, but his total body of work (assists, TOs, shooting %s all included) doesn't distinguish him as much as Withey. Smart has the physical tools, the leadership ability, and the shill base that have pro-scouts drooling over his potential, but Big 12 POY has nothing to do with any of that.

Marcus Smart was hyped to the moon by the media this year and for good reason, but that doesn't mean that he deserves any POY awards.

FWIW, I don't think that McLemore deserves POY award either. He's a great shooter, a very good scorer, a good defender, and an above average rebounder, but he was inconsistent, rarely created for himself which inhibited him from taking over games, and often relegated to being nothing more than a spot-up shooter. Great player, no doubt. Top pick in the draft, likely. But POY? I don't think so. That said, he has plenty of time to make his case for post-season hardware, and I like his chances of taking home some conference tourney awards and NCAA divisional awards, and HOPEFULLY some Final Four hardware too!

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 5 months ago

I don't think any NBA GM's will have trouble making that decision. McLemore or Smart is a much tougher call. If it was Withey or McLemore, who would you pick?

justinryman 9 years, 5 months ago

A few years back the offensive player of the year in the NFC was Brees, but the QB of the year was Rodgers, or visa versa. But how is that possible??

It's just their way of saying, "we really are not sure who is better so we will split the award so hopefully there are not hurt feelings."

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 5 months ago

Being a quarterback involves a lot more than passing statistics. Personally, I think Brees is the better QB but my vote doesn't count.

Vince Brown 9 years, 5 months ago

Weber COY? I don't think so. At IL he had success in his first year with Bill Self's recruits. At KSU he's working with Frank Martin's players. Vote him COY when he succeeds with players he's brought in.

Topher Peters 9 years, 5 months ago

He led a middle of the pack team to a conference championship.

Lance Cheney 9 years, 5 months ago

Only because all the players already had Frank Martin's mental toughness and defensive mindset instilled in them. Yes, he implemented the offense, but that's really all he did. I'm curious to see them in a few years.

Curtis Stutz 9 years, 5 months ago

Same thing for Haith last year at misery, but at least Weber's players didn't get worse as the season went on due to his coaching

JD Roth 9 years, 5 months ago

There was almost a mutiny at K-State last season. Weber did a great coaching job and deserved coach of year. Frank Martin is ancient history. No mock funeral needed for him lol...

Steve Reigle 9 years, 5 months ago

Weber did a good job with KSU this year but being a quality coach requires much more than x's and o's. It also requires being able to get quality recruits who it within your style, will mesh with his teammates, and will be a good ambassador for your school. At Illinois, Weber had a good first two years. But then his own recruits were in the system and he went downhill quickly and did not recover. I don't believe any coach should be eligible for COY in his first two years at a school. Wait until the entire package can be assessed. If he does as well two years from now, great, he's coy.

jgkojak 9 years, 5 months ago

Bruce is a decent coach, probably the top of the line for who its possible for them to get (i.e. if Huggy was a reach, Weber is one notch below).

Part 1 is seeing if they can take someone else's players and make something of them. Part 2 is recruiting. Jury is out on that one.

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 5 months ago

Absolutely..Weber can coach but can he recruit?

Michael Potter 9 years, 5 months ago

I agree with vlbptt. Weber has nothing going for him, I don't think any player he brought in had much of an impact. But, you gotta laugh at these imbeciles out west, they actually believe that they are the champs of the Big 12. Facebook is lit up with these morons saying things like K State is closer to being champs than KU. I don't know who said it but " To be the man, you gotta beat the man." They couldn't beat KU themselves, and brag about winning when someone else does the beating for them. Again, they haven't won anything league wise since 1977 for God's sake, which is also the last time they beat KU in basketball.

CalBBaller 9 years, 5 months ago

K State is acting like a player that scored their first touchdown and make a big deal out of it. They are quickly told to act like they have been there before. I would say the KState fans (players) who really are acting foolishly and saying they won the conference title when they could not beat KU are like that football player. Eventually (maybe never) they may learn to better understand the awards and what it takes to win a championship and what they really mean. For now, just pity them and know that KU is the real conference winner and probably should have won most of the awards, but they all can't go to KU - - like the championships do.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 5 months ago

Wow .. you sound about as smart as Sarah Palin. Good one.

DCLawHawk 9 years, 5 months ago

Wow ... You made fun of Sarah Palin's intellect. Original.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 5 months ago

DC .. I was referring to njjayhawk's reference to Palin below

Steve Gantz 9 years, 5 months ago

I don't get too worked up over these awards, even national POY awards. I can see Weber getting it, he did have a great year, surprising year really, at least to me. Smart was phenomenal. So was BMac and Withey. Let's win our last 6 games of the year and we'll all be happy.

John Randall 9 years, 5 months ago

The conference championship goes to the best record(s) in an eighteen game schedule. If you want it to yourself, you have to win more games than anyone else. If you can't do that, you have to feel lucky they couldn't either. KSU came up short in Stillwater, KU did the same in Waco so they are co-champs.

Ken Tomberlin 9 years, 5 months ago

I don't have a problem with Weber getting coach of the year. It's not who is the best coach, but who did the best job this year. Recruiting is out because none of those players were recruited this year and the result of this year's recruiting are not in. It's who did the best job with his team from November to March and that is clearly Bruce Weber. He can't hold a candle to Self overall as a coach, but he had a great year.

laray1703 9 years, 5 months ago

Next to "Sheriff Joe", you would be correct!

Suzi Marshall 9 years, 5 months ago

Could not stop laughing at that video. Classic Biden.

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 5 months ago

Great video! I heard rumors that Joe (the mouth that keeps on giving) personally trained each and every one both safety and marksmanship.

Topher Peters 9 years, 5 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 5 months ago

You mean like Obama's Nobel Prize? That knocked all the credibility that was left in the award.

ljmhawk 9 years, 5 months ago

I think Pierre Jackson got royally screwed. he should have been first team

hawk_of_ages 9 years, 5 months ago

Ahead of who? Baylor really has not had a good year.

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 5 months ago

These are individual awards, not team awards. I would have thought most people understood that.

hawk_of_ages 9 years, 5 months ago

Uh, didn't you just say that being a quarterback involves more than statistics?

oddgirl 9 years, 5 months ago

The only problem is that the the five players that did make All-Big 12 First Team all deserve it, as well. I wouldn't take any of those guys off the list. So unless they make it a 6-player All-Big 12 First Team, someone is gonna get screwed. Jackson's problem is that his team underachieved (they were picked to finish 2nd in the Big 12). And even though it's an individual award, I think that how the team does still plays into the voting, especially when there are so many strong candidates.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 5 months ago

I'm sorry, you folks that don't think Weber is COY really have your blinders on. KSU's talent isn't near our talent. No players that will get drafted and none that will play in the NBA. They weren't ranked in the top 25 in the preseason, and they were picked to finish 5th in the Big 12. Not only that, but coming in and taking over someone else's players is a huge challenge. To fend off transfers or other issues is a big deal.

Perhaps Weber can't recruit, but he sure as heck can coach.

This was truly the best coaching job in the Big 12. If you can't recognize it, then you truly are viewing life through crimson and blue colored glasses, and without any real objectivity.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 5 months ago

Nah, he might be able to .. but haven't seen him projected to be drafted.

Phognatic 9 years, 5 months ago

Bingo! HEM.

McGruder at only 6'4" = SG in NBA without freak athleticism = undrafted (at best he goes in the last 5 picks.)

texashawk10 9 years, 5 months ago

I personally though Lon Kruger should've won it this year. Weber certainly did a good job this year, but Ithought Kruger turned the corner with OU this year. I don't know if voting was done before they lost to TCU yesterday and if that hurt Kruger, but he was my choice this year.

jaybate 9 years, 5 months ago

HEM, I don't want to agree.

But I guess I have to. :-)

RJ King 9 years, 5 months ago

Speaking of objectivity, the numbers for McLemore vs. Smart are very even, and each was playing within the team they were on (example: Smart probably got more rebounds if OSU shot more threes). One thing is clear - KU would've been better off with Ben touching the ball more. Shooting more 3's or shooting free throws might've resulted in higher point totals for him (and one more victory for Kansas?)

As far as the Davis vs. Withey debate mentioned above, on paper at least Davis gets the nod.

JayHawkFanToo 9 years, 5 months ago

You have to factor that Withey plays in a much tougher conference than Davis did. This year the Big 12 is ranked 3rd and the SEC 7th; this is the lowest of the big 6 conferences. If Withey would play in the SEC, his number would be that much better.

hawk_of_ages 9 years, 5 months ago

I don't know about Ben touching the ball more. Nothing against him at all, but he got a lot of touches against Baylor and had several bad turnovers. He's had a great season, but given his ball-handling issues (not unusual for a freshman), I have to conclude that Self has given him about the right amount of touches over the course of the season.

parrothead8 9 years, 5 months ago

McLemore is a very good player, and I know he'll be a lottery pick, but this year proved how much he still needs to learn.

RealityBites 9 years, 5 months ago

Highelitemajor: thanks for the brutal honesty. It's the truth and a lot of fans don't want to believe it. Also, we lost to Baylor by 23. Twenty three. KSU had zero bad losses and we had two. Finally, we had to beat KSU TWICE in order for us to tie them for the championship. KSU had a great season and weber is a great coach.

ljmhawk 9 years, 5 months ago

if weber is such a great coach he wouldn't have been ran out of Illinois

Jack Wilson 9 years, 5 months ago

You're missing the point here. Good coaches get run all the time. You have to be able to recruit. Weber is generally a poor recruiter. Case in point Sherron Collins. Self beat him for the Chicago kid. Julian Wright too.

I love Weber as a coach .. pure coaching ability .. can't stand listenting to him talk.

Jeff Kilgore 9 years, 5 months ago

You'll be called a KSU plant, but you're not, and neither am I. As you age, if you ever gain any wisdom, you appreciate the athletic abilities of your rivals. Weber walked in without knowing much about his team and did a really fine job. Of course, Self did what Self does, so to me, a co-COY award would have made as much sense.

Mick Allen 9 years, 5 months ago

KSU's loss to KU at Allen was a bad loss.

Mick Allen 9 years, 5 months ago

You don't consider the ass whipping the mildcats got in Allen, a bad loss?

Jack Wilson 9 years, 5 months ago

A loss to a potential #1 seed is considered a good loss.

Losing to TCU .. bad loss.

Losing at unranked Baylor by 22 .. bad loss.

Topher Peters 9 years, 5 months ago

How did Pierre Jackson not get 1st team? Led the league in scoring and assists and McGruder gets his spot?

jayhawkinATL 9 years, 5 months ago

Guess the league felt like it HAD TO select a rep from a team that tied for the title.

Topher Peters 9 years, 5 months ago

Don't get me wrong, I hate K-State, but if Weber isn't COY then who the hell is? It damn sure isn't Self, KU had another title in the bag and they lost to TCU (and thus they share a title). If it's not Weber then I don't know who is.

RealityBites 9 years, 5 months ago

And to the fans who are bashing kstate, remember there are three years in our current streak where we tied (once with ou and twice with Texas...and they beat us head to head in those years. So if you want to bash KSU for sharing then remember we shared too. Otherwise you'll just look like a fool. It's the reality.

JayHok 9 years, 5 months ago

I don't think more than a handful of millions Kansas fans worldwide have anything negative to say about KSU. We lost to Baylor that had nothing to do with anyone but ourselves. Our team knew deep down the worst we could do with a loss was share a title with a team we beat twice. Unfortunately it showed and allowed Baylor to beat us soundly but also allowed another Big 12 into the NCAA. The fans and teams in the big 12 are all good. Good clean fun. Thank God Mizzou is gone. The head to head matchups you refer to were away games where KU played them once and once only.

Danny Hernandez 9 years, 5 months ago

and Kansas won the games against the team, Texas that we tied in the Conference tourney championship

Curtis Stutz 9 years, 5 months ago

I was thinking they were both ties with Texas when they had homecourt those years? I'd have to look for sure. Pretty sure KU went on and won the Big12 tourney to seal the deal as the superior conference champ in both those cases though. I guess it was a tie with OU in '05 and neither of us won the Big12 tourney.

JayHok 9 years, 5 months ago

With the one game being played in Norman.

Andy Godwin 9 years, 5 months ago

Those were in the days when you did not play everybody twice.

Curtis Stutz 9 years, 5 months ago

Congrats to the award winners.

Go get some more hardware in KC!

Robert Brown 9 years, 5 months ago

Weber is clearly Coach of the Year in the Big 12. The only close that come close is Lon Kruger. Both OU and KSU exceeded expectations. Self and Ford probably met expectations. Hoiberg struggled on the road so I would give it to him.

I doubt KSU would have done as well this year had Frank Martin stayed. It will be interesting if Martin fades into obscurity or if he will ascend to the status he got as KSU's coach.

KULA 9 years, 5 months ago

Congratulations Jeff. You are "El Jefe."

Sam Constance 9 years, 5 months ago

ATTENTION: The COY award is not a "who exceeded expectations the most" award. It's also not a "give extra credit to the guy who had the 'tough' job of coaching someone else's players" award.

I'm not going to sit here and say that Weber was undeserving of the award, but I don't think he deserves the award head and shoulders over anyone else (including Bill Self) either. For one thing, how do you give the COY award to a coach who couldn't beat another coach (in two tries) who was also a worthy COY candidate? Self defeated Weber head to head twice, and it was never really in doubt either time.

And who's to say that anything KSU went through this season was harder than the three-game skid that KU went through? These message boards were catatonic with people worried that we were going to end the conference title streak. The fact that they came through that terrible skid and won several tough games down the stretch to ensure that they didn't NEED the Baylor game to win the title should count for something.

The thing that really annoys me is the "UNANIMOUS" win for Smart, and the fact that he got POY. I know he's a physical, big point guard who can rebound and get a lot of steals, but I'm not sure why everyone seems to be okay with ignoring the fact that he's not a good shooter. He finished the season 41% from the floor and 29% from three. He also had an A/TO ratio (1.30) worse than Elijah Johnson's (1.60), and fewer assists than him.

Shawn Otrimble 9 years, 5 months ago

Here is my argument for why Bill Self should be Coach of the Year;

  1. 9th in a row conference championship
  2. Number 2 recruiting class in the nation coming in next year (with or without the number 2 or 3 picks added)
  3. winner of 3 overtime conference games. (say what you want but coaching has a lot to do with winning close games)
  4. Best over all record of any big 12 team this year.
  5. The year in and year out ability to reload and have each team play defensive minded first, team ball.
  6. The development of talent, this year with Withey, Releford, and Young. (all of which I never thought would get much playing time, based off their first years here)
  7. The ability to adapt to other teams playing styles. (something Roy was not good at)

I believe I have at least made a case for Coach Self.

Robert Brown 9 years, 5 months ago

I would agree that so far the season, when looked at in its entirety, has been slightly below expectations. No one expected a shared title especially around Christmas time. You got to give some credit to the coaches of the other conference teams. To me, the overachieving teams were KSU and OU.

Steve Gantz 9 years, 5 months ago

Or we could have/should have 2 more losses than we have, of course you could probably write that every season. The only loss that you can say we flat out got beat was Baylor, maybe OU, the rest were decided in the waning minutes, but of course we won some in the waning seconds as well that could have gone the other way.

Suzi Marshall 9 years, 5 months ago

If Self can do it again next year for 10, with an entirely new team....he will for sure be COY. Perhaps even National COY again.

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 5 months ago

All of those statistics show why HCBS is an elite coach but in choosing this year's COY, you need to throw out #1, #2, #4 and #5. None of those have anything to do with choosing this years COY. You really can't penalize Weber for what happened in the Big 12 before he arrived and factoring in next year's recruiting class also has nothing to do with COY.

We had a top 10 recruiting class this year, only Ellis made any impact and it was marginal at best. McLemore and Traylor weren't part of this year's class. Before we anoint next year's class, we should at minimum wait until the start of conference play in 2014.

nuleafjhawk 9 years, 5 months ago

Regarding the 2012-2013 Big 12 Conference Championship:

If you're elated, hungover and planning a ticker tape parade - you are a K-State fan.

If you're ticked off, disgusted and feel like you just got punched in the face - you are a KU fan.

DanR 9 years, 5 months ago

If we win the big 12 tournament, I'll feel a little better about the league title. I don't blame K-state fans for celebrating and rubbing it in a little, but they let the whole thing slip away too... starting about the time Weber called a timeout while they had momentum and a nice lead down there in Stillwater.

Danny Hernandez 9 years, 5 months ago

That's exactly how I feel as a Kansas it greed, call it entitlement and expectations...either way, I haven't celebrated yet nor have I shouted from the rooftop, 9 time Big12 champs

BigAl 9 years, 5 months ago

A couple of things about Weber I have noticed. When he loses, he rarely gives credit to the opposing team or coach. It is almost always about how his boys didn't play up to their ability. In the KU loss at AFH, which was a blowout loss, he still didn't give credit to KU. Again, it was about his team missing opportunities. After the loss to OSU, he complained about a perceived bad call on Angel Rodriquez vs Marcus Smart saying "Smart flopped like he always does." Where does that come from? I don't think I have ever seen Marcus Smart "flop". Just like it did in Illinois, I believe Weber's act will run thin.

jayhawkinATL 9 years, 5 months ago

Exactly...the nation (well, except KSU) knows what he did to a program that Self resurrected.

DanR 9 years, 5 months ago

Huh? Smart flopped so many time in the KU game at Stillwater he had to leave the game due to his own self-inflicted injuries.

jayhawkinATL 9 years, 5 months ago

I'm sure many of us feel the same way about sharing OUR title with KSU as KSU does with sharing THEIR title with OU (in f-ball). Ironically, KU b-ball managed the same feat as KSU f-ball...choking at Baylor!

JayHok 9 years, 5 months ago

Hasn't Bill Snyder won fifteen or so big 12 championships that are not shared?

Jonathan Allison 9 years, 5 months ago

I'm trying to figure out who's going to compete with us next year for the Big 12 title.

I'm seeing LeBryan Nash listed in a lot of mock drafts, but I only saw Markel Brown listed in one. So OK State could have Brown back, but would be losing Smart, Nash, and Jurick, which will hurt. They've got a couple of good guards coming in, but no bigs.

K-State is losing Henriquez, Irving, McGruder, but they'll still be pretty good next year as long as Rodriguez, Spradling, Southwell and co can pick up some of McG's scoring.

ISU loses Babb, Clyburn, Lucious, and McGee so they will likely be weaker next year. They have some Juco talent coming in with a ~top 30 class.

Baylor loses Jackson, Austin, Walton, and maybe Cory Jefferson, but they'll still have talent... just never enough talent to compete for the championship. They have a top 20 recruiting class, but no one too exceptional...

OU loses, Osby, Fitzgerald, Pledger, and probably M'Baye, they're backcourt will be in fine hands probably, but they'll need BIG help for the big men.

Texas just loses Kabongo, but who knows whether or not they'll compete with KU and KSU.

KU should have the talent to take #10 in a row, and if we land Randle (or Wiggins) then we have no excuse.

Tony Bandle 9 years, 5 months ago

Next year's scholarship team will be uber-talented and uber-young [ counting Randle and a red-shirt Lucas], 7 freshmen, [Ellis, Jamari, White, Adams] total 4 sophomores, 1 junior [Tharpe], 1 senior [Wesley - that could be the shortest Senior Night on record!!].

I foresee a pretty rough start [2-4 losses including Duke] but the team getting formidible by conference play.

Regarding this year's team, if they can get to the championship game of the Big 12 Tourney and get to the Sweet Sixteen, that will guarantee another 30 win season. [If they get to 31 wins it will mean HCBS has AVERAGED 30 wins a season for 10 seasons!!]

My Labor Day prediction for the 12/13 team was 29-8...looks like I'm going to be close.

jaybate 9 years, 5 months ago

"In Praise of All Injured Conference Elijah Johnson"

Part 1

There ought to be an All Playing Injured Team.

Elijah made Honorable Mention All Conference WITHOUT KNEES.

It is scary to think how great he could have been.

Coulda, woulda, shoulda is okay to engage in after the fact, especially if it helps inspire a guy like EJ to work to come back the rest of the way.

Had EJ been healthy this year, the team would be undefeated, and almost a certain National Champion.

Had EJ been healthy this season, this would have been Bill Self's version of Lute Olson's Arizona ring team with Mike Bibby and the two other wing guys I can't recall right now.

EJ exploded for 39 points with no knees; that 39 was a flash of the EJ that Self had recruited back in Vegas--a flash of the kid who played with big kids when he was only 5--a flash of what he could have been, when the body was working and the pop was there.

But one big game did not mean the hardware went away. One big game did not mean the knees were good as new. One good game did not mean he was what he could have been.

Think about it.

EJ quarterbacked a team to a tie for a conference championship with no knees.

EJ is one of those incomparable athletes that comes along once in awhile that gets more than his share of curve balls.

EJ came to KU a 6-2 jack-in-the-box PG.

EJ was a bit young for his age, as a freshman.

EJ took awhile for the neural nets to grow in, which seemed then no big deal.

Then suddenly between freshman and sophomore seasons, EJ had a growth spurt that took him to 6-4 and gave him the PG body of the next Oscar Robertson.

It seemed like the greatest blessing possible turning a shortish PG into a near can't miss NBA stature point guard.

But it meant EJ had to take another year to grow into the new body and learn to move as gracefully and quickly with it as he had before.

Again, it didn't seem like that big of a deal--that bad of a trade-off. What is a sophomore season of development, when he was going to come out of the chrysalis Big O 2.0?

The only hitch came some where late in that sophomore development season, he seemed to suffer a shoulder injury that impaired his sweet stroke.

But that was okay because Tyshawn and TRob could do it all and EJ could still lock down. And, oh my god, how he could defend. He was one of the most beautiful and effortless defenders at the 2 guard I have ever seen.

And then his junior season came.

KU had Tyshawn, who was ripe to run the point, so EJ slid over to the 2 and, like all incomparably great athletes, he assumed the role of starting in a new position as if it were easy as breathing.

Ty and EJ formed one of the most perfectly complementary back courts I have seen.

And best of all, EJ fought through a shooting slump that seemed mostly due to him struggling to find slightly new mechanics to compensate for his shoulder injury from the previous season.

Steve Gantz 9 years, 5 months ago

Arizona's Miles Simon and someone named Dickerson are the etched in my memory, trying to suppress it, but I just can't.

jaybate 9 years, 5 months ago

Part 2

I say seemed, because it turned out that he also injured his knee that junior season. His superb athleticism and some masking of duties by Self and staff covered up the injury to this fan much of the season. But there were stretches where the game seemed to dictate him to penetrate and he did not penetrate. This fan began to wonder. Maybe he was more injured than he seemed. It was so hard to tell, because he could do more injured than most of his teammates could healthy.

No matter. By the stretch run, EJ found a stroke that was not quite as good as his original one, but very good--good enough to win us several games late in the season, and somehow he learned to guard, with teammate help and make it all look effortless.

But then came the summer cut to "clean up" his knee.

And the long, slow heal.

The heal that never really came 100%.

The heal that involved quilts on knees, and god only knows what kinds of treatments.

The heal that lead eventually to limping, and leg dragging, and no paint touching and missing easy shots and no aerial acrobatics.

The healing that finally lead to two blue hub caps--one strapped on each knee.

The healing that finally did not yield any "pop" at all until very late February.

Marcus Smart was awarded first team All Conference guard. He ought to thank Elijah Johnson. Had Elijah Johnson been healthy Marcus Smart would have been second team. Period.

No KU player that I can recall has played point guard without knees and lead his team to a conference title. No Big 12 player that I can recall has ever done it either.

Elijah Johnson should not only be first team All Injured Conference Player, he should be in the All Injured Hall of Fame.

And the rest between now and the Big 12 tournament is likely to give him one more game with some pop, but then two without pop., since the conference tourney is 3 in 3.

And then the Madness starts.

And one of the greatest injured players of all time at KU (joining Bill Bridges and Sasha Kaun and BRush his senior season) gets to start the hunt for a ring in a series of two game tournaments in which he will have pop for the first of each two game series.

Elijah Johnson is right where a great injured player needs to be.

He has a shot to become the second great injured KU player to lead KU to a ring.

Brandon Rush. Send our Elijah a text message right now. Tell him that it can be done. And tell him one more thing.

Tell him: Elijah, you can be the first KU player with two bad knees to win a ring!!!

Get it done, injured superstar, get it done.

jaybate 9 years, 5 months ago

(Note: this is another take on this theme I raised earlier in the season. My apologies for recycling, but Elijah is a special case and deserves a ton of recognition for what he is fighting through and what he has so far accomplished.)

yates33333 9 years, 5 months ago

JB. The coaches were very kind to Johnson. Enough said. Jake (HJY)

Sally Presson 9 years, 5 months ago

What a great year the Jayhawks have given us fans, thank you so much and congratulations to our guys who received the special awards!! But what a team we have, it's been a fun year as a fan and looking forward to the rest of the season at the final 4!!! Jaybate has given Elijah all the credit he deserves, I just hope he feels the love from all of us who have watched him through the years and espeically this year when he's given us his all playing hurt, I can't imagine what pain he's gone through and still plays and give us his all. Thank you thank you Elijah, there's no one like you!!! And thanks so much to Travis, taking a red shirt, and keeping that winning attitude he has, you are one special man Travis, we are so blessed to have you.

Bottom line---I'm so proud of all of our players and the pride they have in KU and each other, that family atmosphere is a special gift you guys have for one another and it shows at every game. And that doesn't happen at every school.

Sam Constance 9 years, 5 months ago

Neither of them deserved POY.

Jeff Withey was CLEARLY the Big 12 Player of the Year in my opinion.

I love Ben as well, but he didn't deserve the award. But neither did Smart.

Ryan Michael 9 years, 5 months ago

Withey doesn't have the offensive game to deserve POY imho... Smart deserved it more than BMac or Withey as a more complete package. That being said, Pierre Jackson did something no player has done in quite some time leading the league in Avg points and assists. I think he deserved it more than anyone...

But he's not as big of a name that'll end up a lottery pick with fame, so he's not considered. It's a shame really.

Sam Constance 9 years, 5 months ago

The idea that Smart is a "more complete package" is an illusion.

For starters, I think it's pretty insane to say that Withey doesn't have the offensive game to "deserve" POY. The guy who won it took 2.6 more shots per game than Withey and translated it into 1.5 more points per game. If Withey doesn't have the offensive game to be POY, then neither does Smart. How does someone who barely shoots 40% from the field "have the offensive game to deserve POY"?

But more to the point, Withey is close enough to Smart's offensive impact for his unparalleled defensive ability to push him over the edge. This is when things like DPOY hurt candidates like Jeff. He doesn't get any credit for his defensive ability in the POY race because all the voters take the easy way out and say "well, he'll get my vote for DPOY, so this way I don't have to hurt my brain thinking of how to compare to players who are hard to compare, given the different things they do for their team and the different positions they play.

Smart won this ward because there was no standout candidate, so voters fell back on the fact that Smart is a point guard who rebounds because it gives the illusion of his being a more "all around" player. The reality is that Jeff is the best "all around" player in the conference this year. He allowed Kansas to play defense in a way no other team in the league was capable of playing defense. Smart, on the other hand, was far from unstoppable and certainly didn't enable his team to play defense in a completely different way than they might've otherwise played it without him.

Jackson didn't deserve it because team success has to play a part in POY. Who cares what random point guard on a terrible team did?

Sam Constance 9 years, 5 months ago

Again, agree that Smart more worthy than McLemore.

My problem is that Withey was the most deserving to win the award. He was SO good on defense that he allowed Kansas to play a way they couldn't have played without him. He finished the year with an astounding ratio of blocks to fouls, and averaged nearly a steal per game as 7-1 center.

Now, if his offense was complete garbage and limited to dunks and layups that his teammates got for him, I would agree that you can't give it to him on defense alone. But we all saw that KU played better when the ball was going inside to Withey for a running hook or up and under or baseline jumper/hook shot. He averaged more points per shot than Smart, and if you normalize their minutes so that they both played 30 per game, Smart would have scored 13.5 ppg compared to Withey's 13.2

Both Withey and Smart were certainly players that impacted the game in multiple ways. I just think Withey's impact was greater and therefore more deserving of the POY award. He's had a better season than Smart.

If you want to debate Jackson v. Withey, the argument changes a bit, because Jackson is a better offensive player than Smart, but his team didn't fare as well during the season.

oddgirl 9 years, 5 months ago

KU was picked to finish 1st. They finished t-1st. Kansas State was picked to finish 5th. They finished t-1st. I think it's pretty clear that Weber deserves Coach of the Year. Aside from McGruder, I don't know if there is one player on the Wildcats who would see significant playing time if he was on the Jayhawks. I don't like Kansas State as a rule, but I have to give Weber credit for the job he did with the team this season.

As for Self, yes, he deserves COY consideration pretty much every season. But that's the disadvantage of coaching a team that is strong year after year -- you aren't going to win these awards very often, because voters simply expect your team to do well. I would bet that guys like Coach K, Pitino, Donovan, etc rarely win the COY Award in their conference, as well.

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