On Sunday morning, hours after the Kansas State Wildcats secured a Big 12 championship in men’s basketball, Barry Brown Jr. became the first Wildcat to win Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year honors, selected by league coaches. The senior guard also was a unanimous selection to both the All-Big 12 First Team and Big 12 All-Defensive Team.
Brown was joined by senior forward Dean Wade on the First Team. Senior guard Kamau Stokes and junior forward Xavier Sneed received honorable mention recognition from the league coaches.
Brown has become a tremendous on-ball defender over his four years at K-State, becoming the school’s all-time leader in steals along the way, 42 ahead of previous record-holder Jacob Pullen. He also is the team’s career leader in games played, with 136 and counting, and among the top 10 in scoring and assists. Brown was a Second Team and All-Defensive Team selection a year ago.
The last Wildcat to be conference Defensive Player of the Year was Rolando Blackman in both 1979 and 1980 in the Big Eight era.
Wade became just the second repeat All-Big 12 First Team honoree for the Wildcats, with the other being Pullen in 2010 and 2011. Entering the postseason, Wade is among K-State’s top 10 in career scoring and rebounding. Together, Brown and Wade are the first tandem to earn First Team conference honors since Mike Evans and Curtis Redding in 1977.
The honor is a first for both Sneed and Stokes. On Saturday night, Stokes became just the 18th Wildcat to eclipse the 1,200 point mark for his career, with 19 points against the Oklahoma Sooners. He also is among the school’s top five for assists and steals. For the past three years, Sneed has been almost as indispensable to the team as the trio of seniors, missing only one game in his K-State tenure, this year’s season-opener against Kennesaw State.