Big 12 Blogger Postseason Awards

Over the weekend, I took a vote of SB Nation's Big 12 bloggers for several postseason awards.  The results are below, and at the bottom is my ballot.

Participating blogs: 12th Manchild, Clone Chronicles, Rock'M Nation, Rock Chalk Talk, Double T Nation, Crimson and Cream Machine

Player of the Year: Michael Beasley, Kansas State

Unsurprisingly, this was a unanimous vote among the participating bloggers.  I guess that's what happens when you average 26.5 points per game, 12.5 rebounds per game, and break the national freshman and Big 12 overall records for double-doubles in a season.

Coach of the Year: Rick Barnes, Texas

Peter summed it up well over at Burnt Orange Nation, but Barnes' work this year at Texas was amazing.

Instead, Texas won a school record number of games during the regular season, knocked off UCLA, Tennessee, and Kansas in the process, and won the Big 12 title. Coach of the year, indeed. Whatever happens this postseason, I'm enormously pleased with this season. The results speak for themselves, but the greatness of the season following the departure of a player of Kevin Durant's caliber continues the momentum that started with TJ Ford. If that momentum peaked during the KD Show, the outstanding 2007-08 season has kept Texas in the national spotlight, further confirmed the greatness of Rick Barnes, and, equally important, positioned Texas perfectly for a monster 2009 recruiting class.

A close runner-up was Baylor's Scott Drew.  Just two short years ago, the Bears weren't even allowed to play non-conference games in the aftermath of the Dave Bliss disaster.  This year, Drew has likely positioned the Bears for an NCAA tournament berth, and has assembled an impressive, guard-oriented team that scores points by the bushel.

Most Improved Player: Darnell Jackson, KU

Way back in the 2006-07 season, Darnell Jackson was an afterthought at KU, a player who Jayhawk fans expected more of and opposing fans joked about as a wasted talent.  He averaged a mere 5.5 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 15.3 minutes per game.

Apparently the criticism got to Jackson, or maybe Bill Self finally got through to him.  Either way, the results have been impressive.  He is fourth on a balanced KU team in scoring, at 11.8 points per game.  He also leads his team in rebounding, grabbing 6.9 boards per game.  Those numbers have made him worthy of 24.6 minutes per game on KU's crowded front line.

Others Receiving Votes: Damion James (Texas), Martin Zeno (Texas Tech), Alan Voskuil (Texas Tech), Longar Longar (Oklahoma)

All-Conference First Team

Michael Beasley, Kansas State

The first of two unanimous selections to the all-conference team, Beasley is also the bloggers' conference player of the year.  His 26.5 points and 12.5 rebounds per game have led K-State to a 20-10 record (10-6 in conference) and a third-place league finish.

D.J. Augustin, Texas

Augustin is also a unanimous all-conference selection among the Big 12 bloggers.  The ironman for the Longhorns, Augustin averages an amazing 37.2 minutes per game, and leads Texas in practically every statistical category except rebounds.  For the season, Augustin puts up 19.8 points per game (second in the league) while shooting 44.7 percent from the field (36 percent from three-point range).  He also helps his teammates out with 5.7 assists per game.  On defense, he snatches just more than one steal per game.

Blake Griffin, Oklahoma

Griffin narrowly missed being a unanimous all-conference selection, which is probably attributable to his bouts with knee injuries this season.  Despite the injury trouble, Griffin averaged 15.2 points and 9.2 rebounds per game.  Even more impressive, he put up those stats in only 28.6 minutes per game.  Defensively, Griffin averages approximately one steal and one block per game, as well.

Aleks Maric, Nebraska

At midseason, this is not a pick I would have foreseen.  But Maric's play improved steadily throughout the year, and it showed in the results as Nebraska made a solid stretch run to finish 7-9 after an 0-4 conference start.  Maric averaged a double-double this year with 16 points and 10.2 rebounds per game, all picked up in less than 30 minutes played per game.  Maric is also a load on defense, swatting 47 shots and grabbing 37 steals in 29 games.  Despite some Husker fan frustration with his "short-game," Maric shot an impressive 57 percent from the field.

Mario Chalmers, KU

Chalmers is the KU guard with the venus fly-traps for hands, and is a terror for opposing guards.  He averages more than two steals per game with 72 total, and also has 18 blocks for the year, impressive for a guard.  Offensively, he's been a reliable threat for KU, scoring 12.1 points per game and leading the team at 46.8 percent three-point shooting.  Top all that off with a better than 2:1 assist-to-turnover ration, and Chalmers' spot on the first team is well-deserved.

Darrell Arthur, KU

A tie in the voting led to a six-player first team, and Arthur is the final member.  Arthur leads the Jayhawks' balanced scoring attack with 13.4 points per game and has developed into a serious post presence offensively.  He also leads KU with 44 blocks on the year and was second on the team with 6.1 rebounds per game.

Official BOTC Ballot
Player of the Year: Michael Beasley, Kansas State
Coach of the Year: Rick Barnes, Texas
Most Improve Player of the Year: Darnell Jackson, KU
All-Conference First Team:
Michael Beasley, Kansas State
D.J. Augustin, Texas
Blake Griffin, Oklahoma
Aleks Maric, Nebraska
Darrell Arthur, KU

Thanks again to all participating bloggers.

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