Men’s Basketball All-Big 12 Awards Announced
Oklahoma State’s Cade Cunningham became just the fourth freshman in Conference history to earn Player of the Year while Baylor’s Scott Drew picked up Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season in the 2020-21 Phillips 66 All-Big 12 men’s basketball awards chosen by the head coaches.
Cunningham was also the unanimous Freshman of the Year while Texas Tech’s Mac McClung was the unanimous Newcomer of the Year. Baylor’s Davion Mitchell was voted Defensive Player of the Year, Kansas’ David McCormack received the award for Most Improved Player and Texas’ Kai Jones was chosen for the Sixth Man Award.
The All-Big 12 First Team consisted of Cunningham, Baylor’s Jared Butler and Davion Mitchell, Oklahoma’s Austin Reaves and West Virginia’s Derek Culver. Cunningham and Butler were unanimous selections.
In addition to Cunningham, the other Big 12 rookies who swept both Player and Freshman of the Year were OSU’s Marcus Smart (2012-13), K-State’s Michael Beasley (2007-08) and Texas’ Kevin Durant (2006-07). Cunningham finished the regular season as the league’s top scorer in both overall (19.7) and conference (20.1) games and is on the national ballot for the John R. Wooden Award. He is also a finalist for the Bob Cousy Point Guard Award and was the Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week after his 40-point, 11-rebound performance in an overtime win at then-No. 7 Oklahoma. According to Stats Perform, only four other power conference players over the last 20 seasons can match Cunningham’s all-around stat line of 19.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.0 blocks per game.
Mitchell has been recognized for his defensive play in both of his seasons at Baylor. In addition to the Defensive Player of the Year honor, he has been named to the Big 12 All-Defensive Team for the second time and repeats as a finalist for Naismith Defensive Player of the Year. He is second in the Big 12 in steals (1.9) behind teammate Butler and second in turnover/assists ratio (2.3). He averages 13.8 points and leads the team with 125 assists, including two performances of double-digit assists.
A transfer from Georgetown, McClung made an immediate impact on the Red Raiders. He is fourth in the league in scoring in overall games (16.1) and conference only games (17.0). His 10 games of 20-plus points are second in the Big 12 behind Cunningham’s 11. He poured in a season-high 30 points at West Virginia on January 25 and has scored in double figures in 20 games this season.
After averaging 6.9 points and 4.1 rebounds in 18 starts last year, McCormack has improved his numbers to 13.1 points and 6.1 rebounds this season while starting all 27 games for the Jayhawks. His .536 field goal percentage in league games leads the league while he is second in all games with a .511. McCormack ranks third in the Big 12 with six double-doubles and has 17 games with double digit scoring, including 11 of the last 12.
Jones has reached double figures in scoring 10 times this year while coming off the bench for Texas. He averages 8.5 points and 4.8 rebounds in 22.7 minutes a game, and is second on the team with a .565 field goal percentage. Jones had a season-high 17 points at Iowa State on March 2.
Drew led Baylor to its first Big 12 regular season title and the program’s first conference crown since 1950 – a span of 71 years. The Bears finished at 13-1 in conference play and head into the Phillips 66 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championship with a 21-1 overall mark. BU fought through adversity as they were unable to play a game from Feb. 6-20 and missed 18 days of practice due to COVID-19.
Click on the PDF for a full listing of honors.