PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
MARCUS MORRIS KANSAS
Brothers Marcus and Markieff Morris came to Kansas as highly rated recruits from Philadelphia.
Fortunately for Jayhawks coach Bill Self, he doesn’t have to decide who is the better twin.
Both players were worthy of Big 12 player of the year, but Marcus gets the Tribune-Herald ’s vote by a slim margin.
Marcus was one of the engines behind the Jayhawks’ latest Big 12 championship run as he averaged 17.3 points and seven rebounds while shooting 59.7 percent from the field.
Fitting for twins, Marcus’ stats weren’t much different than Markieff’s, who averaged 13.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and shot 59.8 percent from the field.
“When you look at Marcus, who has been more consistent?” Self said. “He shot almost 60 percent and can stretch it from 3 and is one of our best passers and rebounders. When you average 19 points in league play, that’s strong.”
Self believes Marcus’ stats could have been even greater if he had played on a less-balanced team. The Jayhawks led the Big 12 with an 82.7 scoring average with a deep bench and scoring from a lot of positions.
“Because we’re so balanced, Marcus took single-digit shots sometimes,” Self said. “I think the right guy won player of the year because he was on the team that won it.”
Offensive success in conference
In Big 12 play, Marcus averaged 18.8 points and 7.6 rebounds while shooting 60.6 percent from the field to rank in the top five in all three categories.
Marcus has been a great contributor to the Jayhawks since his freshman year and has improved each of his three seasons. As a sophomore last season, he averaged 14.2 points and 7.3 rebounds and shot 56.1 percent from the field.
“Everybody matures from his freshman to junior year,” Self said. “He could always shoot and stretch the court, but he’s gotten stronger and more mature. He can really body up now and has become a great teammate.”
Self likes the leadership Marcus gives his team.
“When you worry about the right things — winning and sharing — you have a chance to play pretty well,” Self said. “He’s one of those guys who does that.”
FRESHMAN, DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
TRISTAN THOMPSON TEXAS
When Texas coach Rick Barnes signed forward Tristan Thompson and guard Cory Joseph out of Findlay Prep in Nevada, he knew he had two of the jewels of the 2010 recruiting class.
They haven’t disappointed.
Thompson and Joseph have both helped to solidify the Longhorns after a weak finish at the end of last season. Though both have Big 12 freshman of the year credentials along with Baylor’s Perry Jones, Thompson is the Tribune-Herald ’s choice because of his great play on both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor.
The 6-8 Thompson ranked 15th in the league with a 13.5 scoring average while finishing second with a 7.7 rebounding average. But he was also one of the best defenders for a strong Longhorns defense as he led the Big 12 with 2.3 blocks per game.
Thompson is also the Tribune-Herald ’s defensive player of the year over teammate Dogus Balbay.
“Tristan and Cory have been two of the best freshmen we’ve ever had,” Barnes said. “They had no sense of entitlement when they got here, and they just wanted to learn from their teammates. They’re way ahead of the game in their maturity level.”
Joseph has contributed to the Longhorns by averaging 10.4 points and three assists, and has made a nice sidekick for Thompson.
“Tristan and Cory have contributed from day one,” Barnes said. “They’ve put in a lot of minutes and have continued to grow and work. They never step back and say ‘We’re pretty good.’ They’re always among the last guys to leave the floor.”
COACH OF THE YEAR:
MARK TURGEON TEXAS A&M
Nobody looks at Texas A&M and automatically pictures a juggernaut.
But nobody gets more from his talent than Mark Turgeon.
Picked sixth in the Big 12 preseason poll, Turgeon led the Aggies to a 23-7 regular season record and a third-place finish in league play at 10-6. He’s the Tribune-Herald ’s Big 12 coach of the year in a tight race over Colorado’s Tad Boyle.
The Aggies finished with a strong record because they kept winning tight games. During one key stretch in February, Texas A&M beat Colorado, Texas Tech, Iowa State and Oklahoma State in succession by a combined 12 points.
“We’re a backs-against-the-wall type of team,” Turgeon said. “That’s the way they’ve been when things got bad. Down the stretch, we improved defensively and our offensive execution went way up.”
Turgeon’s cupboard wasn’t bare with talented players like Khris Middleton, David Loubeau and B.J. Holmes. Middleton was the 10th-leading scorer in the Big 12 with a 14.4-point average while providing solid all-around play. Holmes led the Aggies with 3.1 assists per game.
Defense first for Aggies
But the Aggies’ calling card was defense as it ranked second in the Big 12 by allowing just 60.4 points per game.
“We don’t out-talent a lot of people, so we have to find ways to win games,” Turgeon said. “I’m proud of this group. Our won-loss record exceeded what we looked like we could do early in the year. To finish third and win 10 league games is great. Under the circumstances, we’re pleased where we are and hope we can win a few more.”
When the NCAA tournament bracket is announced Sunday, the Aggies will earn their fourth straight bid under Turgeon. After winning one NCAA tournament game in each of his first three seasons, Turgeon hopes to go deeper this season.
“I took over a winning program and continued to win, and that’s important,” Turgeon said.
SIXTH MAN OF THE YEAR:
QUINCY ACY BAYLOR
Baylor junior forward Quincy Acy epitomizes the word unselfishness.
After mostly coming off the bench for his first two seasons, Acy earned a starting role at the beginning of this year.
But when Baylor coach Scott Drew asked Acy to return to his sixth man role, he gladly accepted. The 6-7 junior thought he could give the Bears a spark off the bench, and he did just that as he averaged 11 points and 7.1 rebounds in the last 13 games of the regular season.
That’s close to his season average of 12.4 points and 7.6 rebounds.
“During my first two years, I provided a good spark off the bench and I liked it,” Acy said. “When Coach Drew asked me if I was willing to do it again, I told him I wanted to do whatever I could to help the team.”
Acy showed his versatility once again after freshman forward Perry Jones was suspended for Baylor’s Big 12 tournament opener against Oklahoma. Acy returned to the starting lineup and led the Bears with 21 points and 15 rebounds in the loss.
NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR:
RICARDO RATLIFFE MISSOURI
Missouri hasn’t had too many junior college players arrive in Columbia with Ricardo Ratliffe’s list of accomplishments.
Ratliffe scored 1,653 points in two seasons at Central Florida Community College and was a two-time NJCAA first-team All-American.
Even with his impressive numbers, it was no guarantee that his success would carry over immediately to the Division I level since it often takes junior college players a year to completely adjust to higher competition.
But the 6-8 forward fit in nicely with Missouri’s fast-paced style of play, averaging 10.5 points and shooting 57.5 percent while tying for the team lead with 6.1 rebounds. Ratliffe was also a defensive stalwart, averaging 1.3 blocks.
“It took Ricardo a while to get the feel for the urgency and level of play,” Missouri coach Mike Anderson said. “I thought he’d gradually evolve, and he has. He gives us a post presence, and I think his best basketball is still ahead of him from a consistency standpoint.”
Tribune-Herald 2010 All-Big 12 Men's Basketball Team
|G||LaceDarius Dunn||Baylor||Sr||6-4||19.8||3.7||League-high 88 treys|
|G||Alec Burks||Colorado||So||6-6||19.5||6.2||81.9 FT%|
|G||Jacob Pullen||K-State||Sr||6-0||19.6||3.0||77.2 FT%|
|F||Jordan Hamilton||Texas||So||6-7||18.5||7.6||39.8 FG%|
|F||Marcus Morris||Kansas||Jr||6-9||17.3||7.0||59.7 FG%|
|Player of the year: Marcus Morris, Kansas|
|Coach of the year: Mark Turgeon, Texas A&M|
|Freshman of the year: Tristan Thompson, Texas|
|Newcomer of the year: Ricardo Ratliffe, Missouri|
|Top defender: Tristan Thompson, Texas|
|Best sixth man: Quincy Acy, Baylor|
|G||Marcus Denmon||Missouri||Jr||6-3||16.8||3.4||50.6 FG%|
|G||Diante Garrett||Iowa St.||Sr||6-4||17.2||3.7||League-high 6.1 assts|
|F||Khris Middleton||Texas A&M||So||6-7||14.4||5.1||80.1 FT%|
|F||Tristan Thompson||Texas||Fr||6-8||13.5||7.7||League-high 2.3 blocks|
|F||Markieff Morris||Kansas||Jr||6-10||13.5||8.3||League-high 59.8 FG%|
|F||Tristan Thompson||Texas||6-8||13.5||7.7||3.8 offensive rebounds|
|F||Perry Jones||Baylor||6-11||13.9||7.2||54.9 FG%|
|G||Cory Joseph||Texas||6-3||10.4||3.6||3.0 assists|
|F||Andre Roberson||Colorado||6-7||6.3||7.5||1.5 steals|
|G||Melvin Ejim||Iowa St.||6-6||10.3||6.7||2.9 offensive rebounds|