Monte Morris headlines Big 12 preseason awards

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Iowa State senior guard Monte Morris was named Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year, the conference announced on Thursday evening.

Morris, who has preseason All-American buzz surrounding him, averaged 13.8 points, 6.9 assists (1.6 turnovers) and 3.9 rebounds per game last season as a junior, starting all 35 games for the Cyclones.

Former Iowa State forward Georges Niang was tabbed as the Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year before the start of the 2015-16 season. Those honors eventually went to Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield, who repeated as Big 12 Player of the Year. Melvin Ejim was the last Cyclone to earn the award (2013-14).

Morris is a quality pick given the production he has provided over his first three collegiate seasons. Steve Prohm, who took over the program last season, is known for having high-scoring point guards during his days at Murray State, from Isaiah Canaan to Cameron Payne. With no Niang, no Abdel Nader and no Jameel McKay — three double-digit scorers- don’t be surprised to see Morris’ offensive numbers jump in his final season in Ames.

The rest of the preseason first team included Baylor junior forward Johnathan Motley, Oklahoma State junior point guard Juwan Evans, and Kansas point guards Devonte Graham and Frank Mason. Josh Jackson, who joins Graham and Mason on the perimeter this season, was picked as the Big 12 Freshman of the Year, while Baylor guard Manu Lecomte, the Miami transfer, was selected as the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year.

The preseason poll, which will likely have Kansas atop the list, will be released on October 13.