Phillips 66 All-Big 12 Men’s Basketball Awards Announced

Kansas’ Jalen Wilson was the unanimous pick as Player of the Year while Kansas State’s Jerome Tang was selected Coach of the Year in his freshman season to mark the Phillips 66 All Men’s Basketball Awards -Big 12 2022-23, chosen by the head coaches. The Jayhawks picked up two more individual awards as Dajuan Harris Jr. was named Defensive Player of the Year while KJ Adams Jr. won Most Improved Player. Keyontae Johnson of the Wildcats was the unanimous pick as Newcomer of the Year, Keyonte George of Baylor won Freshman of the Year and Sir’Jabari Rice of Texas won the Sixth Man award.

Wilson leads the Big 12 in both scoring (19.7 ppg), rebounding (8.4 rpg) and double-doubles (10) while second in minutes played (35.2). The junior forward is in line to become the seventh player, fourth Jayhawk, in Big 12 history to lead the league in both scoring and rebounding. Wilson has two 30-point performances and 17 20-plus-point games this season. His 38 points at K-State on Jan. 17 are the most in a conference game this year. He is a finalist for the John R. Wooden Award and the Oscar Robertson Trophy. Also a unanimous first-team All-Big 12 selection, Wilson was joined on the first team by Adam Flagler of Baylor, also a unanimous pick, Johnson and Markquis Nowell of K-State as well as Marcus Carr of Texas.

Known for his defensive instincts, Harris also leads the KU offense from his point guard position. The junior guard leads the conference in assist-to-rotation ratio (3.4), is second in assists (6.3), fourth in steals (2.0) and fifth in minutes played (34.0 ). He averages 8.6 points and 2.5 rebounds.

Johnson made his triumphant return to the basketball court Nov. 7 in K-State’s season opener against UTRGV after a two-year absence after suffering a medical emergency against Florida State on Nov. 12. December 2020. He was named March Madness National Player of the Week and Big 12 Newcomer of the Week after the Wildcats’ first two games. The senior forward has tallied five Conference newcomer accolades this season as he is second in the league in points (17.8), tied for fourth in rebounds (7.0), second in field goal percentage (.519) and fourth in double-doubles (6). He is a finalist for the John R. Wooden Award.

George entered the season as the Big 12 Preseason Rookie of the Year. He is sixth in the league in goals (16.0), fifth in 3-point field goals (2.4) and sixth in free throw percentage (.794). George holds the program record for most 20-point games by a freshman (12) and his 16.0-point average is sixth best among all NCAA rookies. The guard earned two Big 12 Newcomer of the Week honors.

As the Longhorns’ first bench player, Rice is second on the team in points (12.6), fourth in assists (63) and minutes (24.2) and tied for fourth in rebounds. (3.5). The senior guard has hit double figures 20 times this season and is second in the Big 12 in free throw percentage (.870). He earned Big 12 Newcomer of the Week honors on Feb. 6 after helping UT defeat No. 11 Baylor and No. 7 K-State. He scored a team-high 23 points to lead Texas over No. 3 Kansas in the regular season finale.

Adams has started every game in 2022-23 after getting a rookie start last year in the KU National Championship. He improved his averages to 10.5 points and 4.5 rebounds in 27.2 minutes after recording 1.0 points and 0.8 rebounds in 4.8 minutes as a rookie. He has scored in double figures in 17 games this season after failing to reach double figures in the first seven games.

Picked last in the Big 12 preseason poll, Tang guided Kansas State to a tie for third place with an 11-7 conference rating and a current overall record of 23-8 in his first season as a collegiate head coach. The 23-8 start is the best of any NCAA Division I freshman head coach and the second-best in K-State history. The Wildcats are 7-4 against the top 25 opponents this season, including 3-2 against the top 10 opponents. Tang inherited a squad of just two returning key players and signed 13 newcomers.

Big 12 teams will begin the playoffs with the Phillips 66 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championship March 8-11 at T-Mobile Center in Kansas City.

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