LESS THAN ONE WEEK, PEOPLE! We are so close to the start of another college basketball season. As it has been for the past several seasons, the Big XII projects to be the best and deepest conference in America. To read about the teams and rosters of the league, check out my Big XII Mega Preview: Part 1 (West Virginia, Oklahoma State, Kansas State), Part 2 (Iowa State, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, TCU), and Part 3 (Kansas, Texas, Baylor). You can also read about the Big XII Preseason Awards as voted on by the coaches of the league here. It’s never too early to start thinking about the individuals who will shape this season in the Big XII and could get some big-time recognition for doing so. Full disclosure, this post doesn’t contain a great deal of discussion about the players referenced herein. If you want detailed analysis of any or all of these players, that can be easily found in the Mega Preview. That being said, let’s get to it.
All-Big XII Teams
Before I give you my picks for these honors, I have tried to organize each team with 2 true guards, 2 true forwards/wings, and 1 true center. Of course, basketball has become an increasingly positionless sport which makes such an endeavor difficult, to say the least. Kansas’s Kevin McCullar, for instance, can probably be described as a guard, a forward, or even a small-ball five. I’ve done my best. I’ve also included each player’s stats from last season where possible.
All-Big XII First Team
After an exceptional freshman campaign for the University of Utah.. Timmy Allen was selected to the All Pac12 Preseason 2nd team lineup.. keep an eye out for the Arizona native. @timmybuckets35 pic.twitter.com/Z9SYCIwJRX— Good Game Edits (@Goodgameedits) October 26, 2019
G: Mike Miles, Jr. (TCU). 15.4 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 3.8 APG, and 1.2 SPG on 38/29/76 splits.
G: Adam Flagler (Baylor). 13.8 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 3.0 APG, and 1.1 SPG on 44/39/74 splits.
F: Jalen Wilson (Kansas). 11.1 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 1.8 APG, and 0.9 SPG on 46/26/72 splits.
F: Timmy Allen (Texas). 12.1 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 2.1 APG, and 1.2 SPG on 49/27/73 splits.
C: Fardaws Aimaq (Texas Tech). 18.9 PPG, 13.6 RPG, 1.7 APG, 0.7 SPG, and 1.3 BPG on 49/43/72 splits. NOTE: He is currently injured but is expected to be ready to return by the start of Big XII play, if not sooner. Also, those stats were accumulated at Utah Valley.
All-Big XII Second Team
G: Marcus Carr (Texas). 11.4 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 3.4 APG, and 0.9 SPG on 39/34/77 splits.
G: Keyonte George (Baylor). True Freshman. 22.8 PPG with Team USA at GLOBL Jam this summer.
F: Emanuel Miller (TCU). 10.3 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 0.9 APG, 0.7 SPG, and 0.8 BPG on 49/24/69 splits.
F: Kevin Obanor (Texas Tech). 10.0 PPG, 5.5 RPG, and 0.5 APG on 47/34/76 splits.
C: Osun Osunniyi (Iowa State). 11.3 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 1.5 APG, 0.5 SPG, and 1.5 BPG on 61/NA/64 splits. NOTE: Those stats were accumulated at St. Bonaventure.
All-Big XII Third Team
G: Grant Sherfield (Oklahoma). 19.1 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 6.4 APG, and 0.6 SPG on 43/33/87 splits. NOTE: Those stats were accumulated at Nevada.
G: Tyrese Hunter (Texas). 11.0 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 4.9 APG, and 2.0 SPG on 39/27/69 splits. NOTE: Those stats were accumulated at Iowa State.
F: Keyontae Johnson (Kansas State). 14.0 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 1.6 APG, and 1.2 SPG on 54/38/77 splits. NOTE: Those stats were accumulated in the 2019-20 season at Florida (the last time he was healthy).
F: Kalib Boone (Oklahoma State). 9.4 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 0.8 APG, 0.6 SPG, and 1.6 BPG on 64/NA/65 splits. NOTE: Those stats are from the 2020-21 season (the last time he was a starter).
C: Tanner Groves (Oklahoma). 11.6 PPG, 5.8 RPG, and 1.6 APG on 53/38/73 splits.
All-Big XII Honorable Mention (in order within position groups)
Don’t know how Gradey Dick is underrated. The 6’8 wing averaged 18 PPG for the best regular season team in HS basketball but also shot a ridiculous 46.7% from 3 on 8 attempts per game. He can do it all on offense and is a solid defender. Going to be a star for Kansas. Lotto pick pic.twitter.com/9loEldGqBN— Pistons Draft talk (@happypistonfan) September 7, 2022
Guards (9): Avery Anderson III (Oklahoma State); LJ Cryer (Baylor); Devion Harmon (Texas Tech); Markquis Nowell (Kansas State); Gradey Dick (Kansas); Jaren Holmes (Iowa State); Dajuan Harris (Kansas); Joe Toussaint (West Virginia); Damion Baugh (TCU)
Forwards (4): Kevin McCullar (Kansas); Jalen Hill (Oklahoma); Dillon Mitchell (Texas); Jalen Bridges (Baylor)
Centers (4): Moussa Cisse (Oklahoma State); Eddie Lampkin (TCU); Flo Thamba (Baylor); Tre Mitchell (West Virginia)
Big XII Coach of the Year
1) Scott Drew (Baylor)
2) Chris Beard (Texas)
3) Jamie Dixon (TCU)
4) Porter Moser (Oklahoma)
5) Bill Self (Kansas)
Drew wins because: He’s won it in each of the past 3 seasons and despite losing 3 starters (and his top assistant) and playing a couple of true freshmen, his team is going to be excellent on the floor once again.
Big XII Player of the Year
1) Adam Flagler (Baylor)
2) Jalen Wilson (Kansas)
3) Mike Miles, Jr. (TCU)
4) Keyonte George (Baylor)
5) Fardaws Aimaq (Texas Tech)
Flagler wins because: He was one of the best, most efficient scorers in the league last year and should see his assist numbers climb significantly this year. Probably finishes in the top 3 or 4 in the conference in scoring, FG%, 3P%, and maybe assists which would more than earn him this award.
Big XII Defensive Player of the Year
Tyrese Hunter was one of the most impactful freshman’s in the nation, he’s going to have a big sophomore season and will get drafted. As of now he’s one of the best playmakers and guard defenders. pic.twitter.com/kh10tN1tb7— Pistons Draft talk (@happypistonfan) August 1, 2022
1) Tyrese Hunter (Texas)
2) Moussa Cisse (Oklahoma State)
3) Joe Toussaint (West Virginia)
4) Kevin McCullar (Kansas)
5) Keyonte George (Baylor)
Hunter wins because: He led the league in steals as a freshman and I think he’s going to be on a better defensive team this season. Expect him to continue swiping the ball as well as anyone in the conference.
Big XII Rookie of the Year
1) Keyonte George (Baylor)
2) Elijah Fisher (Texas Tech)
3) Gradey Dick (Kansas)
4) Dillon Mitchell (Texas)
5) Ernest Udeh, Jr. (Kansas)
Keyonte wins because: He’s easily the most complete prospect of these five. Fisher and Mitchell have elite athleticism while Dick projects to be an incredible shooter. George is both. And more. He should lead this grouping in both scoring and assists (and perhaps steals).
Big XII Sixth Man of the Year
1) SirJabari Rice (Texas)
2) Caleb Asberry (Oklahoma State)
3) Milos Uzan (Oklahoma)
4) Joseph Yesufu (Kansas)
5) Langston Love (Baylor)
Rice wins because: He’s an electric scorer and consistent 3P shooter, easily the best long-range shooter on a good Texas team. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up 2nd or 3rd on his team in scoring.
Big XII Newcomer of the Year
Osun Osunniyi is a beast on the inside for @BonniesMBB. Third team all conference and all defensive team for the second straight season.— Next Ones (@NXT1S) June 29, 2020
6'10" sophomore, 83 OVR
10.8 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 2.5 bpg
Watch his full 19-20 highlights: https://t.co/Ywn6GJoJF9 pic.twitter.com/Uv5psL6EXt
1) Fardaws Aimaq (Texas Tech)
2) Grant Sherfield (Oklahoma)
3) Osun Osunniyi (Iowa State)
4) Keyontae Johnson (Kansas State)
5) Joe Toussaint (West Virginia)
Aimaq wins because: If he can come back healthy and look like himself, he’s one of the best rebounders in the nation and a great athlete for his size who terrorizes teams in the PNR game and can also knock down three-pointers.
Big XII Most Improved Player
1) Tre Mitchell (West Virginia)
2) Ismael Massoud (Kansas State)
3) Daniel Batcho (Texas Tech)
4) Eddie Lampkin (TCU)
5) Flo Thamba (Baylor)
Mitchell wins because: He’s probably West Virginia’s best player and I expect his production to be much closer to where it was at UMass (18 PPG, 7 RPG, 2 APG, 1 SPG, and 1 BPG on 49/34/74 splits) than it was with Texas last season (9 PPG, 4 RPG, 1 APG, 0.7 SPG, and 0.7 BPG on 48/32/80 splits). If his scoring and rebounding production jumps by 40-50%, it could win him this award.
Big XII Glue Guy of the Year (not an actual award handed out; but it should be)
.@TexasTechMBB @Kevin_McCullar tells me he’s healthy & ready to go. If so, he’s one of the best defenders in the country. Red Raiders are a “dark horse” to win @Big12Conference Title. Transfer portal good to them & key guys return. pic.twitter.com/5Yip5uJY58— Fran Fraschilla (@franfraschilla) October 25, 2021
1) Kevin McCullar (Kansas)
2) Jalen Hill (Oklahoma)
3) Jalen Bridges (Baylor)
4) Camryn Carter (Kansas State)
5) Tre King (Iowa State)
McCullar wins because: He’ll take a back seat to Dick and Wilson in terms of a lot of the statistical production for Kansas this year. He’s still gonna put his fingerprints all over games by playing harder and tougher than anyone else on the floor in just about every game he’s in.
Big XII Comeback Player of the Year (again, not a real award; but it should be)
Keyontae Johnson is tremendous. Two nice reads to cutters, knocks down a smooth catch-and-shoot 3, calls for the lob and finishes in transition: pic.twitter.com/49T2eTBHsO— Jackson Frank (@jackfrank_jjf) April 9, 2020
1) Keyontae Johnson (Kansas State)
2) Fardaws Aimaq (Texas Tech)
3) Langston Love (Baylor)
4) Shaada Wells (TCU)
5) Bobby Pettiford, Jr. (Kansas)
Johnson wins because: Once his conditioning is up to speed, he should be an electric player and one of the more heartwarming comeback players in America considering his story.
Best Guess to Lead the Big XII (in conference play only)
Scoring: Mike Miles, Jr. (TCU) on ≈ 16 PPG
FG%: Eddie Lampkin (TCU) at ≈ 60%
3P%: LJ Cryer (Baylor) at ≈ 43%
FT%: Grant Sherfield (Oklahoma) at ≈ 86%
Rebounding: Fardaws Aimaq (Texas Tech) on ≈ 12 RPG
Assists: Markquis Nowell (Kansas State) on ≈ 5 APG
Steals: Tyrese Hunter (Texas) on ≈ 2 SPG
Blocks: Osun Osunniyi (Iowa State) on ≈ 2 BPG
Best Non-Conference Matchups Featuring Big XII Teams
1) Baylor v Gonzaga (December 7, 2022)
2) Texas v Gonzaga (November 16, 2022)
3) Texas v Creighton (December 1, 2022)
4) Kansas @ Kentucky (January 28, 2023)
5) Texas @ Tennessee (January 28, 2023)
6) Baylor v Arkansas (January 28, 2023)
7) Kansas v Duke (November 15, 2022)
8) Oklahoma v Arkansas (December 10, 2022)
9) Kansas v Indiana (December 17, 2022)
10) Oklahoma v Alabama (January 28, 2023)
My picks are on the record now. Get in those comments to tell me how wrong I am. Who got snubbed? Who is being overlooked? Who is gonna shock the world this season? Who is being severely overrated? If, on the other hand, you just so happen to agree with everything I’ve said, you’re probably very smart and you should also feel free to gas me up in the comments. I am so excited to see the Bears and the rest of the Big XII embark on this new season in the coming days. Sic em!
Stats courtesy of sports-reference.com; baylorbears.com; 247sports.com; and/or espn.com.