With the Big 12 Tournament beginning tonight, it's time to reveal the results from my informal Bring On The Cats Men's Basketball Awards.
The headline award is Player of the Year, and there is no surprise here. Junior Rodney McGruder wins unanimously with all 11 first-place votes for 33 points. McGruder leads the team in scoring and is second in rebounding. Senior Jamar Samuels was the only other vote-getter, receiving 2 second place votes for 2 points.
More awards after the break.Defensive Player of the Year goes to junior Jordan Henriquez, who received 23 points, well outpacing McGruder (6 points), and Samuels (3 points).
Newcomer of the Year goes to freshman Angel Rodriguez in a landslide. Rodriguez received 28 points. Fellow freshman Thomas Gipson received a solid 9 points. Junior transfer Jeremy Jones received 1 second-place vote for 1 point.
Sixth Man of the Year was a much more evenly contested division. Junior Martavious Irving wins with 14 points, followed by Rodriguez (9 points) in second place and Henriquez and Gipson tied for third place (7 points each).
Most Improved Player of the Year goes to Henriquez with 19 points, trailed by McGruder (12 points), senior Victor Ojeleye (3 points), and Rodriguez (3 points).
Wildcat of the Year had a lot of competition, and Ojeleye took the prize with 16 points. Other contenders were Samuels (9 points), Irving and sophomore Will Spradling (3 points each), and McGruder (1 point).
Game of the Year was a landslide, with the game At Missouri leading the way with 18 points. Other nominees were vs. Alabama (4 points), and Senior Day vs. Oklahoma State, vs. Missouri, vs. Long Beach State, and At Baylor (3 points each).
In our tightest category, the award for Individual Performance of the Year goes to McGruder vs. Baylor (9 points), trailed by a mere 1 point by Henriquez vs. Iowa State (8 points). Other nominees were McGruder at Missouri (6 points), Samuels vs. KU (5 points), McGruder vs. Long Beach State (3 points), and "Something McGruder" (3 points).
Alley-oops from Rodriguez to Henriquez split the vote, but a pair of those alley-oops took the top two places in Play of the Year. Rodriguez to Henriquez at Missouri takes the top prize with 15 points, followed by Rodriguez to Henriquez at Baylor with 9 points. Other nominees include Samuels buzzer-beater and-1 vs. Oklahoma State (4 points), Samuels NOT dunking at Missouri and McGruder momentum 3 at Missouri (3 points each), and Frank Martin yelling at Spradling (1 point).
Opposing Player of the Year had many nominees, led by Iowa State's Royce White with 15 points. Others were Kansas' Thomas Robinson (10 points), Baylor's Pierre Jackson, Baylor's Quincy Acy, and Iowa State's Scott Christopherson (3 points each), and Missouri's Marcus Denmon (1 point).
Opposing Coach of the Year goes to Iowa State's Fred Hoiberg, with 15 points, followed by Kansas' Bill Self and Missouri's Frank Haith (9 points each), and Oklahoma's Lon Kruger (3 points).