Iwundu Headlines Three Wildcats on All-Big 12 Teams

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Junior Wesley Iwundu was selected to the All-Big 12 Third Team as well as the league’s All-Defensive Team, while freshmen Barry Brown and Dean Wade were named to the All-Newcomer Team, as the league office announced its annual men’s basketball awards on Sunday.

Senior Buddy Hield highlighted the individual awards announcement, as he earned the league’s Player of the Year honor for the second straight season to go with his unanimous All-Big 12 First Team selection. Texas’ Prince Ibeh and Oklahoma State’s Jawun Evans were announced as the Defensive Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year, respectively, while Iowa State’s Deonte Burton and West Virginia’s Jaysean Paige were unanimously selected as the Newcomer of the Year and the Sixth Man Award winner.

Texas Tech’s Tubby Smith was named the Big 12 Coach of the Year for the first time.

The All-Big 12 awards are selected by league’s 10 head coaches, who are not allowed to vote for their own players.

Iwundu, who earned All-Big 12 honors for the first time in his career, becomes the 13th Wildcat in school history and the first since 2014 to earn recognition to the All-Big 12 first, second or third team. He also became the fifth Wildcat to be named to the All-Defensive Team since 2010 and the first since 2013. Brown and Wade are the first Wildcat duo to be honored on the All-Newcomer Team and just the third and fourth overall.

The only Wildcat to start all 31 games, Iwundu has been impressive across the board this season, as he ranks first or second in eight statistical categories, including first in field goals (133), free throws made (98) and attempted (139), assists (3.7 apg.) and minutes (32.5 mpg.). He is also second in scoring (11.9 ppg.), double-figure scoring games (23) and steals (1.3 spg.). For the season, he has averaged 11.9 points on 47.8 percent shooting with 4.5 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.3 steals in 32.5 minutes per game. He has led the Wildcats in scoring seven times, in assists 17 times and in rebounding five times.

One of the league’s most versatile players, Iwundu ranks in the Top 15 in seven different Big 12 categories, including assists (7th), minutes played (9th), field goal percentage (10th), assist-to-turnover ratio (11th) steals (13th), scoring (15th) and free throw percentage (15th). He also finished in the Top 10 in four Big 12 categories in league-only games, including steals (4th), assists (6th), free throw percentage (7th) and assist-to-turnover ratio (10th).

Iwundu is just the fifth player in school history to tally at least 750 points, 350 rebounds and 200 assists in a career, joining Tyrone Adams (1978-82), Rolando Blackman (1977-81), Askia Jones (1989-94) and Ed Nealy (1978-82).

One of only a handful of true freshmen to play in every game this season, Brown and Wade both have proven to be vital components for the Wildcats this season, as they have played in all 31 games, including starting together in the last seven contests. 

Wade ranks third on the team in scoring (9.8 ppg.), field goals made (104), double-digit scoring games (15), offensive rebounds (62) and rebounding (5.1 rpg.), while connecting on 43.3 percent from the field (104-of-240) in 26 minutes per game. Brown is tops in both 3-point field goals made (45) and attempted (129) to go with averages of 9.0 points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.2 steals in 25.4 minutes per game.

Wade became the eighth Wildcat freshman to tally 300 or more points in a single season, joining the likes of Michael Beasley, Curtis Redding, Marcus Foster, Bill Walker, Mike Evans, Jacob Pullen and Rolando Blackman. He ranks among the school’s Top 10 in seven freshmen categories, including fourth in starts (29), sixth in free throws (73), seventh in minutes (805), eighth in points (303), ninth in blocks (17) and 10th in rebounds (158) and field goals attempted (240). 

Brown also ranks among the school’s freshman leaders in a number of categories, including the second-most 3-point field goals by a rookie in school history and the fifth-most steals (38). He places sixth in field goals attempted (273), eighth in minutes (788) and ninth in 3-point field goal percentage (34.9). He was even more impressive in Big 12 play, averaging 10.5 points on 37.8 percent shooting (68-of-180), 34.5 percent (30-of-87) from 3-point range, to go with 3.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.4 steals in 29.9 minutes per game.

Kansas State (16-15, 5-13 Big 12) will be the No. 8 seed in this week’s Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship at the Sprint Center in Kansas City and will play No. 9 seed Oklahoma State (12-19, 3-15 Big 12) in the tournament’s opening game at 6 p.m. CT on Wednesday on ESPNU.