Burks Named Big 12 Rookie of the Year
IRVING, Texas - University of Colorado freshman Alec Burks was named the Big 12 Conference Rookie of the Year and junior Cory Higgins was named to the all-Conference third team, announced Sunday by the Big 12 office. The official All-Big 12 awards are selected by the league's head coaches, who are not allowed to vote for their own players.
Burks (6-6, 185, Grandview, Mo.) is the first Colorado athlete to be named the Big 12 Freshman of the Year. The guard is the top-scoring freshman in the league, ranking seventh overall with 16.8 points per game. He also led the conference in field goal shooting, connecting at a .536 mark in 29 contests. His scoring and field goal percentage numbers are fourth nationally among all freshmen.
Burks, who set the CU freshman record for most points scored in a season, also earned all-Rookie team honors and was an All-Big 12 honorable mention selection.
Higgins (6-5, 190, Danville, Calif.) was a repeat selection to the Big 12 Third Team after making the team during his sophomore campaign. Higgins surpassed his point total for a season this year with 569 points. He currently leads the Buffs in scoring at 19.0 points and 1.9 steals per game. His free throw percentage (.832) is also first, and he ranks second on CU in field goal percentage (.510). All five stats categories are personal bests for one season.
Other conference awards announced Sunday are as follows:
Oklahoma State standout James Anderson has been named Big 12 Player of the Year and leads the 2010 edition of the All-Big 12 Men's Basketball honors, it was announced. Cole Aldrich (Kansas) earned Defensive Player of the Year recognition for the second straight season, while Ekpe Udoh (Baylor) is the top newcomer. Jamar Samuels (Kansas State) earns the Sixth Man Award. Samuels' coach, Frank Martin, is the Big 12 Coach of the Year.
Anderson, a unanimous All-Big 12 First Team choice, led the Big 12 in scoring with 22.9 points per game. He averaged 24.1 points in conference play, the fifth-best scoring mark in league history. He had five 30-point outings - the most of any player in the Big 12 - and has scored 25 points or more 17 times. He is the second Oklahoma State student-athlete to garner player honors, following Tony Allen in 2003-04.
Aldrich wins defensive recognition after sharing the honor a year ago. The junior center finished second overall in the Conference with 110 blocks, including 54 in league action. He was a key component on a Jayhawk squad that led the Big 12 and ranked third nationally in field goal percentage defense by holding opponents to 37.7 percent shooting from the floor. Udoh had a dominating season in his debut year at Baylor by setting a Big 12 single-season record for blocks with 123. The junior rejected 57 in league play, also a season mark. He had 16 games with 10 rebounds or more, including a 20-rebound effort at South Carolina in December. Udoh finished tied for second in the Big 12 with 13 double-doubles and was also second overall with 9.8 rebounds per game. He is the first Baylor player in Big 12 history to earn top newcomer accolades.
Samuels gave his team a spark off the bench in 29 of 30 games, finishing tied for third on the team in scoring with 11.4 points per game. The sophomore forward was a non-starter in all 16 league outings, averaging 11.1 points and 5.4 rebounds, while shooting 54.9 percent. The sixth man honor gives KSU the award in two of the four seasons it has been presented (Cartier Martin, 2006-07).
Martin led his team to one of the best seasons in school history, as K-State was ranked as high as No. 5 nationally and earned the No. 2 seed in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Basketball Championship. The Wildcats finished with a 24-6 record, including 11-5 in league play. The team's overall and conference win totals are its most since the 1987-88 campaign. Included in that total were seven road victories, the most for KSU in the Big 12 era.