Player of the Year: Thomas Robinson, Kansas
There really isn’t much of a debate here. T-Rob may end up being the National Player of the Year. At worst, he is a First Team All-American. That gets you Big 12 Player of the Year quite often.
Coach of the Year: Frank Haith, Missouri
There is, however, plenty of debate here. I am in Haith’s corner. It may be too strong to say that the program he inherited was in disarray, but it certainly wasn’t an ideal situation. The team has not kept it a secret that they has issues getting along by the end of last season and that selfishness was a problem. While dealing with the NCAA’s issues from his time at Miami, an overwhelmingly negative criticism of his hiring and a season-ending injury to arguably his best big man, Haith managed to get a group of seniors to buy into a brand new system where some would be forced to play out of position. He carried them as high as No. 2 in the country and to a likely two-seed.
Bill Self has been terrific this year as well. He basically has a two-man team — three if you include the nights Jeff Withey shows up — without depth that lost the majority of their recruiting class and led them to another Big 12 title. Fred Hoiberg turned a group of misfits and castaways into the third best team in the Big 12. He deserves mention as well. But I still think Haith has been the most impressive.
Rookie of the Year: Royce White, Iowa State
I know that White is a transfer from Minnesota, but given that he never actually played before this season, I am fine with giving him the award. He’s such a versatile player, leading the Cyclones in points (12.9 ppg), rebounds (9.2 rpg), assists (5.2 apg), steals (1.2 spg) and blocks (1.0 bpg) while running the point as a 6’8″ power forward. Now if he only could figure out how to make a free throw.
Sixth-Man of the Year: Mike Dixon, Missouri
He’s been such an important piece for the Tigers this season. Dixon is instant offense off of the bench, the kind of player that can score 10 or 12 points in a two minute span and change the course of a game. He’s also a very good on-ball defender. He gives Missouri six starters.
Defensive Player of the Year: Jeff Withey, Kansas
He’s a game-changer around the rim. He’s second in the country in block percentage, ahead of Anthony Davis, and its that ability to defend the rim that has allowed Kansas to pressure the ball as much as they do defensively.
All-Big 12 First Team
POY: Thomas Robinson, Jr., Kansas
G: Tyshawn Taylor, Sr., Kansas
G: Marcus Denmon, Sr., Missouri
G: J’Covan Brown, Jr., Texas
F: Royce White, So., Iowa State
C: Ricardo Ratliffe, Sr., Missouri
All-Big 12 Second Team
G: Pierre Jackson, Jr., Baylor
G: Keiton Page, Sr., Oklahoma State
F: Rodney McGruder, Jr., Kansas State
F: Quincy Acy, Sr., Baylor
C: Jeff Withey, Jr., Kansas