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Baylor Basketball

SicEm365's All-Big 12 Awards

March 7, 2020
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Baylor coach Scott Drew loves to remind us that the Big 12 was the top-ranked RPI conference in the nation for six straight years—a stat that speaks to league’s parity.

But let’s be real.

Instead of “balanced,” the Big 12 in 2019-20 was as lopsided as it’s been in its 24-year history. Or perhaps “top heavy” is the better phrase.

Entering the final week of the season, the Jayhawks and Bears were the No. 1- and No. 4-ranked teams in America. No other school was even in the poll. Kansas finished first in the standings at 17-1 and Baylor was No. 2 at 15-3. The four teams that tied for third (West Virginia, Texas, Oklahoma and Texas Tech) lagged a full six games behind at 9-9.

Think about that. The third place teams, or teams, finished 9-9.

Another crazy stat: Kansas and Baylor combined to go 16-2 in Big 12 road games. The rest of the conference went a collective 15-57 away from home.

“It used to be, you’d get down to the last five games and there’d be four teams with a chance to win it,” KU coach Bill Self said. “This year it’s a tougher league at the top compared to what it has been.”

The Bears and Jayhawks are both slotted as No. 1 seeds in Joe Lunardi’s most recent NCAA tournament bracket. No other Big 12 team projects higher than a No. 8.

As mediocre as the conference’s second tier has been, it shouldn’t lessen the accomplishments of Baylor and Kansas, which are both Final Four contenders.

And after such historic regular seasons for both programs, it only seems fitting that the Bears and Jayhawks dominate SicEm365’s All-Big 12 basketball teams in 2019-20.

 

ALL-BIG 12

 

FIRST TEAM

Udoka Azubuike, 7-0, senior, Kansas - Averaged 13.7 points and 10.5 rebounds while shooting 74.8 percent from the field; Led the league in rebounding and field goal percentage and ranked second in blocks (2.6); All-American candidate and one of 15 finalists for the Wooden Award.

Jared Butler, 6-3, sophomore, Baylor - Averaged a team-high 16 points while shooting 42 percent fro the field and 38 percent from three-point range; Had 22 points in Baylor’s first-ever win at Kansas; All-American candidate and one of 15 finalists for the Wooden Award.

Kristian Doolittle, 6-7, senior, Oklahoma - Ranked fourth in the league in scoring (15.8 points) and rebounds (8.9); Elite mid-range scorer who has a chance to play at the next level; Shoots just under 80 percent from the foul line.

Devon Dotson, 6-2, sophomore, Kansas - Averaged a team-high 18.1 points and a Big 12-best 2.1 steals per game for the conference champion Jayhawks; One of the fastest players in the country; All-American candidate and one of 15 finalists for the Wooden Award.

Freddie Gillespie, 6-9, senior, Baylor - Ranked third in the Big 12 in rebounding (9.6) and blocks. Defensive presence who alters shots and doesn’t back down from physicality; Former Division III player has transformed himself into a potential NBA forward.

 

SECOND TEAM

Desmond Bane, 6-6, senior, TCU - Ranked second in the league in scoring (16.6) and made a Big 12-best 90 three-pointers; shot 44 percent from distance.

Marcus Garrett, 6-5, junior, Kansas - Averaged 9.2 points and a Big 12-best 4.6 assists; one of 10 finalists for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year award.

Davion Mitchell, 6-2, sophomore, Baylor - Averaged 9.9 points; One of 10 finalists for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year award.

Oscar Tshiebwe, 6-9, freshman, West Virginia - One of the more physical forwards in America regardless of age; Will be one of the top big men in the country if he returns next season.

Mark Vital, 6-5, junior, Baylor - The tone-setter for Baylor’s trademark energy and intensity; stat-sheet filler is one of 10 finalists for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year award.

 

THIRD TEAM

Matt Coleman, 6-2, junior, Texas - 12.7 PPG; 3.4 APG

Brady Manek, 6-9, junior, Oklahoma - 14.4 PPG; 6.2 RPG

Cam McGriff, 6-7, senior, Oklahoma State - 12.4 PPG; 6.7 RPG

Jahmius Ramsey, 6-4, freshman, Texas Tech - 15.0 PPG; 42.6% 3PFG

MaCio Teague, 6-3, junior, Baylor - 13.9 PPG; 40% 3PFG

 

Most Valuable Player: Udoka Azubuike, Kansas - No team the country boasts a weapon like Azubuike, who is hoping to lead Kansas to the Final Four for the second time in three years. Azubuike’s commitment to re-shaping his body—he lost 50 pounds during the offseason—has changed his entire game. He’s also playing with a drive and determination that makes him downright scary. He’s the only player in the Big 12 to average a double-double.

Freshman of the Year: Oscar Tshiebwe, West Virginia - The third McDonald’s All-American to ever suit up for the Mountaineers, Tshiebwe plays like a seasoned college senior. He ended the regular season averaging 11.2 points and 9.3 rebounds while shooting a respectable 70.8 percent from the foul stripe. Other than Azubuike, Tshiebwe is arguably the most physical post player in the Big 12. Remember his name, as Tshiebwe will be in the NBA sooner rather than later.

Newcomer of the Year: Davion Mitchell, Baylor - A transfer from Auburn, Mitchell gave opponents nightmares all season with a menacing, physical style of defense. He earned the nickname “Off Night” because, most times, the player Mitchell guarded ended up with terrible shooting and turnover stats. Mitchell has been labeled numerous times by analysts and opposing coaches as “the best on-ball defender in the country.”

Defensive Player of the Year: Marcus Garrett, Kansas - The Dallas native was all over the court this season for Kansas, ranking third in the league in steals while continuing to draw the top defensive assignment each and every game. With long, lanky arms and a wide base, Garrett is almost impossible to penetrate against, and his wingspan clogs up passing lanes. Garrett also led the Big 12 in assists.

Sixth Man of the Year: Devonte Bandoo, Baylor - The Bears wouldn’t be in line for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament if it wasn’t for Bandoo. His clutch performance in tough road environments at Oklahoma State and Texas Tech—and also in an overtime home win over Texas Tech on Senior Night, when he scored 18 points—were the keys to Baylor victories. Bandoo is one of the top 3-point shooters on the roster and would start at most schools.

Most Underrated Player: Chris Clarke, senior, Texas Tech - Clarke, a grad transfer from Virginia Tech, plays the Mark Vital role for the Red Raiders. He doesn’t score a lot but he ranks in the top 10 in the Big 12 in assists (second) and rebounding (ninth). Clarke is also an elite defender who sets the tone for the physical Red Raiders.

Coach of the Year: Scott Drew, Baylor - Now in his 17th season, Drew has taken one of college basketball’s worst programs and turned it into one of its best. And this is undoubtedly his best team. Baylor’s defensive intensity and overall team chemistry speaks to the culture Drew has helped create. Under Drew’s leadership, the Bears won a Big 12 record 23 straight games during a span that lasted more than three months. At 26-4, they are in line to receive a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament for the first time ever. Drew will also be a top candidate for national coach of the year.

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