IRVING, Texas — For just the second time in Big 12 history, the conference has a repeat choice for Player of the Year as Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield has earned the honor for the second straight campaign.
Prince Ibeh of Texas has been named Defensive Player of the Year, while Deonte Burton of Iowa State is Newcomer of the Year.
Oklahoma State’s Jawun Evans is the Freshman of the Year, with Jaysean Paige from West Virginia capturing the Sixth Man Award. Tubby Smith of Texas Tech was selected as Big 12 Coach of the Year for the first time.
Three players who are finalists on multiple national awards lists — Hield, Georges Niang (Iowa State) and Perry Ellis (Kansas) — all repeated as unanimous picks on the All-Big 12 First Team. It marks the only time in the past 12 years (since 2004-05) that the league has had three unanimous first team honorees.
Hield tops the list of national player of the year candidates after leading the Big 12 and ranking second nationally with 25.3 points per game. He finished conference play as the career scoring leader for league games with 1,202 points. The Bahamas native has scored at least 20 points in 22 contests and is shooting 49.5 percent from the field, 47.3 percent from 3-point range and 89.3 percent from the line.
Ibeh is the third Longhorn in conference history to win defensive honors. The senior had 60 blocked shots in 2015-16, including 44 in conference competition. After an injury sidelined teammate Cameron Ridley, Ibeh entered the starting lineup on December 29 and had at lead one block in all but three outings. He is averaging 6.3 boards since in that time while shooting 61.4 percent from the floor.
Burton is the fourth Cyclone in the past five seasons to be named the top newcomer. The junior guard, a transfer from Marquette, became eligible on December 19 and proceeded to score in double digits 11 times. He had seven starts and was in double figures in six of those games while finishing the regular season with a .538 field goal mark.
Evans gives Oklahoma State the Big 12 Freshman of the Year for the third time in the past five campaigns. Despite missing the last nine OSU games due to an injury, he led all Cowboy regulars with 12.9 points per contest. He boasted 108 assists, the second-highest total for a freshman in school history.
Paige is the first player to win a major award since the Mountaineers began Big 12 competition in 2012-13. The senior guard led West Virginia in scoring (14.3 ppg) despite coming off the bench in all but one outing. He ranked fourth in the league in conference play with 16.3 points per game, including setting a school record for most points by a non-starter with 34 versus Iowa State on February 22.
Smith is the first Texas Tech mentor to win the coaching honor. The Red Raiders posted their highest overall victory total since 2009-10 and finished with a .500 league mark in the toughest conference in America. He has Tech poised to be the first team in Big 12 history to be picked 10th in the preseason poll and then earn a NCAA bid.
The All-Big 12 first, second, third and honorable mention teams were also announced, along with the all-defensive and all-newcomer teams. In addition to the three repeat picks on the first team, Monté Morris (Iowa State) and Frank Mason III (Kansas) are repeat choices on the second team. WVU guard Jevon Carter is the ninth player in Big 12 history to be a two-time member of the All-Defensive Team.
The official All-Big 12 awards are selected by the league’s head coaches, who are not allowed to vote for their own players.
See the full list of awards here.