Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Media pegs KU’s Udoka Azubuike as Big 12’s top player; Marcus Garrett named to 2nd team

Kansas center Udoka Azubuike (35) dunks against TCU defenders guard Edric Dennis (2), PJ Fuller (4,) Kevin Samuel (21) and Charles O'Bannon Jr. (5) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020, in Fort Worth, Texas. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

Kansas center Udoka Azubuike (35) dunks against TCU defenders guard Edric Dennis (2), PJ Fuller (4,) Kevin Samuel (21) and Charles O'Bannon Jr. (5) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020, in Fort Worth, Texas. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)


Make it two for two for Kansas senior Udoka Azubuike, who was named the Associated Press Big 12 Player of the Year on Tuesday.

And this one was close.

After earning the Big 12’s top prize from the conference coaches on Sunday, Azubuike was named the Big 12’s top player by a panel of media members on Tuesday, joining teammate Devon Dotson as the only unanimous picks for the all-Big 12 first team.

The two Jayhawks split all the votes for player of the year, with Azubuike receiving 10 votes and Dotson getting the other seven.

In talking about the first honor on Monday, Azubuike said getting the news from KU coach Bill Self was emotional. He added that he never would have been in position to record a Big 12-leading 15 double-doubles and average a double-double for the season (13.7 points, 10.5 rebounds) if not for the help of his teammates and coaches.

“It all comes down to my teammates and my coaches,” the 7-foot center said. “They did an unbelievable job, and me winning (this award) wasn’t just about me. It was also about them, too.”

Added Dotson, who led the Big 12 in scoring at 18.1 points per game and also was a unanimous first-team selection by the coaches: “It means a lot. Just getting recognized (for) all the hard work you put in during the season. It’s cool.”

Azubuike and Dotson were joined on the AP first team by TCU’s Desmond Bane, Baylor’s Jared Butler and Oklahoma’s Kristian Doolittle.

KU junior Marcus Garrett, a third-team pick by the conference’s coaches, landed on the AP second team, which undoubtedly made Self, who was not allowed to vote for his own players, much happier.

“I thought Marcus deserved to be better than third team,” Self said Monday.


u-Udoka Azubuike, Kansas, Sr., 7-0, 270, Delta, Nigeria.

u-Devon Dotson, Kansas, So., 6-2, 185, Charlotte, North Carolina.

Desmond Bane, TCU, Sr., 6-6, 215, Richmond, Indiana.

Jared Butler, Baylor, So., 6-3, 190, Reserve, Louisiana.

Kristian Doolittle, Oklahoma, Sr., 6-7, 232, Edmond, Oklahoma.


Marcus Garrett, Kansas, Jr., 6-5, 195, Dallas.

MaCio Teague, Baylor, Jr. 6-3, 195, Cincinnati.

Freddie Gillespie, Baylor, Sr., 6-9, 245, St. Paul, Minnesota.

Jahmi’us Ramsey, Texas Tech, Fr., 6-4, 195, Arlington, Texas.

Oscar Tshiebwe, West Virginia, Fr., 6-9, 258, Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Coach of the year — Scott Drew, Baylor.

Player of the year — Udoka Azubuike, Kansas.

Newcomer of the year — Jahmi’us Ramsey, Texas Tech.

AP All-Big 12 Voting Panel: Eric Bailey, Tulsa World; Abby Bitterman, The Oklahoman; Frank Bonner, Tulsa World; Tom Bragg, Charleston Gazette-Mail; Chuck Carlton, Dallas Morning News; Paul Catalina, ESPN Central Texas; Brian Davis, Austin American-Statesman; Drew Davison, Fort Worth Star-Telegram; Matt Galloway, Topeka Capital-Journal; Jimmy Gillispie, Stillwater News Press; Justin Jackson, The Dominion Post; Randy Peterson, Des Moines Register; Soren Petro, Sports Radio 810; Kellis Robinett, Wichita Eagle; Carlos Silva Jr., Lubbock Avalanche-Journal; Matt Tait, Lawrence Journal-World; John Werner, Waco Tribune-Herald.

What to play for?

Many bracketologist have Kansas projected not only as a No. 1 seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament, but most likely as the overall No. 1 seed.

With that in mind, a couple of Jayhawks on Monday were asked what they had to play for in Kansas City at this week’s Big 12 tournament. Their answers carried with them a theme.

“I think momentum,” Self said. “You know, if you lace them up, you might as well win. Kids are competitive. I get a kick out of (people who say), ‘Well, guys may not play as hard if you don’t need it as much.’ Well, if that’s the case, then you probably don’t have the guys you wish you had. So, in our case, I know we’ll go over there and try. It doesn’t mean we’re going to play great, but I’d like to see us be jacked. I’d like to see us validate the regular season (title). But I also know that as soon as the last game is over, whenever that is, nobody will be talking about the Big 12 tournament and everybody will be focused on the NCAA Tournament.”

Added Dotson: “We’re going to take every game seriously and try to come out on top. Any time we’re playing a game or a tournament, we’re going to try to win.”

Houston or Indy?

For the first time since its inception year, a new NCAA rule that allows the No. 1 overall seed to choose its path through the tournament could impact Kansas.

While Omaha, Neb., is the strong favorite to be where the Jayhawks’ postseason run begins for Rounds 1 and 2, March 20 and 22, the path from there becomes a little less clear.

Houston (South) and Indianapolis (Midwest) are both regional sites this year, and both offer Kansas different advantages.

While Houston is a roughly 230 miles farther away from Lawrence than Indy, it also rests in Big 12 country and could be less likely to attract large crowds from other programs because of the Midwest regional’s proximity to programs like Kentucky, Louisville, Creighton, Michigan State and Dayton.

Self said this week that several teams in the running for the No. 1 overall seed had to turn in their choice to the NCAA by last Friday. Kansas did that. But just because the selection is in does not mean Self is talking about it.

“I was told that every team that’s in consideration for the tournament, or something to that extent, puts in their request,” Self said Monday. “So all we did was do what everybody else in America has done. But we are obviously in a position where it could potentially happen. But we’ll wait and talk about that if it does.”

As for how much time he spent making up his mind between the two destinations?

“Quite a bit,” Self said. “We all did, the administration and everybody talked about it. It’s a hypothetical, obviously, but if we get a chance to talk about it then that means we’ll probably have done fairly well this weekend.”


Joe Black 2 years, 9 months ago

Wow Scott Drew is amazing. He took a team with 5 players named on the 1st-3rd teams in the conference (and the sixth man of the year) and was able to finish 2 games behind the league champion. Meanwhile Bill gets shafted again for winning the league with three players in the 1st-3rd team. Interestingly enough, KU had to improve the same as Baylor in order to win the league as Baylor finished two games behind KU last year as well. So both teams improved the same and KU's coach wins the league but Scott Drew gets named Coach of the Year. Something doesn't smell right. (I am using the Big Twelve's conference teams not the AP teams in my statements)

Freddie Garza 2 years, 9 months ago

Scott Drew: loses 3 of his last 5 Media: Coach of the Year.

Joe Black 2 years, 9 months ago

KU improved at the same rate as Baylor compared to last year's standings but Scott Drew is coach of the year. Why? because for the first time ever, his team didn't play zone every second of the game and his defense was better. It only took him 17 years to figure it out.

John Strayer 2 years, 9 months ago

Exactly! Tailed of at the end. And how much momentum did they lose heading into March Madness?

Dale Rogers 2 years, 9 months ago

Apparently, to be named Coach of the Year you first have to establish several bad or mediocre years. Then when you have a stellar year, you must be Coach of the Year. But if you have stellar teams year after year after year, then you are not seen as having done something special just because you won the conference again.

Kit Duncan 2 years, 9 months ago

I don't think Bill would trade his Hall of Fame selection just to be named Big XII Coach of the Year, year after year. HOF outweighs B-XII COY by a huge margin. Drew will never be in the HOF. No way, no how!

Dirk Medema 2 years, 9 months ago

Someone said the last game was going to show who the better coach was, and that Drew was just under appreciated.

Funny how that worked out. Some players and coaches are just so far ahead of their peers that doesn’t feel right not to share awards. Glad that’s not the case with games.

It’s also interesting that Coach has come out and indicated that the conf tourney isn’t as important to him this year and that the experts seem to agree. It would be great to get everyone healthy for the final push.

Benjamin Shear 2 years, 9 months ago

Coach of the year comes down to expectations and what you did with what you have. The truth is, people expect KU to be great and easily take for granted the level of excellence that Self brings to the program. He makes it look easy and effort less and he does it year after year. That puts him at a disadvantage for coach of the year awards. I honestly don't care about that award and neither, I would strongly guess, does he.

Since 2008 KU has only lost 3 times on the first game of the week in the NCAA tournament. Meaning that when Self has time to prepare and scout another team, he usually wins. In the last 12 years, only 3 NCAA losses have come on the first game of the round. This is because his attention to detail is unsurpassed.

Robert Brown 2 years, 9 months ago

It amazes me how some people love to manufacture outrage. KU was ranked third in preseason poll and Baylor was ranked 16th. That Scott Drew’s team performed to where they will probably get a #1 seed is more worthy of being named Coach of the Year than have the Preseason #3 team end up at #1. And that is not to take away anything from Bill Self’s accomplishments this year.

Craig Jackson 2 years, 9 months ago

Curious...why would a writer from Charleston vote on Big12 awards? Not enough quality rags in Big12 country? Gerrymandering at its finest!

Dirk Medema 2 years, 9 months ago

Because Charleston is the capital of WV, the biggest City, and where the states major paper is? Gerrymandering is the Big12 when WVU joined.

Craig Jackson 2 years, 9 months ago

Curious...why would a writer from Charleston vote on Big12 awards? Not enough quality rags in Big12 country? Where did that Tom guy go?

Robert Brown 2 years, 9 months ago

Isn’t Charleston in West Virginia which is in the conference.

Mallory Briggans 2 years, 9 months ago

a couple stories off topic .......It doesn t look good for Danny at Wake Forest . Rumor is he may be bought out , the Deamon Deacons havent done well in the ACC . Wishing nothing but the best for Danny .....always a Jayhawk

Harvard grad transfer Seth Towns has Kansas as one of 6 landing spots he still is eligible to play for 2 years 6'7" small forward pretty smooth and shoots over 40% from 3 I think that would be a great addition given the fact we lose Moss and more than likely Dotson

Dane Pratt 2 years, 9 months ago

It has not gone well for Danny since he took over at Wake. I think the only reason he is still there is because of his buyout.

Dirk Medema 2 years, 9 months ago

Wake is a tough place to win, and hasn't happened much there. A few isolated players led teams to good performances, but has there ever been sustained success? I'm sure he got a bit longer leash for that reason, but ultimately coaches are paid to win.

Dirk Medema 2 years, 9 months ago

Unless we loss more than Dok & Dot, we've already got 13 players.

  1. Marcus

  2. Ochai

  3. Braun

  4. Wilson

  5. Enaruna

  6. Harris

  7. Thompson

  8. Jossell

  9. Grant Foster

  10. McCormick

  11. Lightfoot

  12. DeSousa

  13. Muscadin

That's a solid team.

Adam Bengtson 2 years, 9 months ago

Does anyone think since KU beat Baylor, they have shown who they really are. Coach who can’t coach, transfer guard from UNC Asheville who thinks he needs to phone home after every 3. Division 3 transfer who has been exposed as just that. Guards who media tells me are so good but yet can shoot a lick.

Mallory Briggans 2 years, 9 months ago

Dirk we will be solid although guard heavy .In regards to Towns hes 6'7' wing hes played Division 1 basketball former player of the year in his conference shot 44% from 3 .....I would redshirt Jossell an unknown.. for a proven player in Towns...also Desouza isnt a given to return . You always take a better player when available ...I would take that trade without a doubt.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.