If you didn’t believe that Kansas, Oklahoma State and Baylor are the big guns entering the 2013-14 Big 12 men’s basketball season, you’d certainly know it from the preseason All-Conference team and the other Big 12 preseason honors.
The No. 1 high school recruit in the country, Andrew Wiggins of Kansas, is joined by two players from Baylor and two from Oklahoma State on the Preseason All-Big 12 Team. Marcus Smart, last season’s Big 12 Player of the Year, and teammate Markel Brown of Oklahoma State, Isaiah Austin and Cory Jefferson of Baylor and Melvin Ejim of Iowa State complete the preseason first team.
Smart, the top returning scorer in the conference, not only was named Player of the Year last season but is the preseason favorite to capture that honor for a second straight season. The sophomore 6-4 guard for Oklahoma State is only the second player in Big 12 history to return for another season after being named Player of the Year. Smarts also took home Freshman of the Year honors last season. Brown was Oklahoma State’s second leading scorer a year ago, averaging 15.3 points a game.
Austin, a 7-1 sophomore, passed up the NBA draft to return for another season at Baylor, where he was the team’s leading rebounder and third-best in the conference in that category, averaging eight rebounds a game. Jefferson, who stands 6-9, returns for his senior year at the forward position.
Ejim of Iowa State averaged 11.3 points and a league-best 9.3 rebounds a game last season in helping lead the Cyclones to a fifth-place finish in 2012-13.
In addition to the Preseason All-Big 12 team and Player of the Year selection, the conference also named Wiggins the favorite as Freshman of the Year and his Kansas teammate, Tarik Black, a transfer from Menphis University, as Preseason Newcomer of the Year.
All eyes will be on freshman sensation Wiggins this season. He is the first freshman in Big 12 history to be named to the Preseason All-Big 12 team. He is also a consensus preseason selection of several national media outlets for the All-America First Team.