Beasley named Big 12 Player of the Year

IRVING, Texas Freshman forward Michael Beasley became the second consecutive standout freshman to win both Big 12 Player and Freshman of the Year accolades on Monday, as his selection highlighted the 2007-08 Phillips 66 All-Big 12 Men’s Basketball Awards.


Beasley becomes the fourth player in school history to be honored as the league’s Player of the Year and the first since the inception of the Big 12.  He joins Lon Kruger (1973 and 1974), Mike Evans (1977 and 1978) and Rolando Blackman (1980) as Wildcats to be named to conference Player of the Year.  He is the first player to earn the distinction of league Freshman of the Year and the 12th overall to be selected as either Freshman or Newcomer of the Year since 1970.  Six freshmen (Bob Zender 1970; Steve Mitchell 1971; Lon Kruger 1972; Mike Evans 1975; Curtis Redding 1977 and Ed Nealy 1979) in school history have been named Newcomer of the Year.    


In addition, Beasley was one of two players (TexasD.J. Augustin) to be selected unanimously to the All-Big 12 First Team.  He is not only the school’s first unanimous first team honoree in the Big 12 era, but also the inaugural first team selection since the league’s inception.  He is the first player since Steve Henson in 1989 to garner first team accolades from the league coaches.  Beasley was joined on the all-conference team by teammate Bill Walker, who was selected to third team.  The duo was also named to the All-Rookie Team by the coaches with Beasley being a unanimous pick.        


Beasley was named the Big 12 Player and Freshman of the Year by The Associated Press, Kansas City Star and as well as to the all-conference first team by all three organizations.  Walker was selected to the Star’s All-Big 12 second team, to the AP's third team and to’s Big 12 All-Freshman team. 


The former No. 1 high school recruit continues to make his case for National Player of the Year honors, as Beasley is averaging 26.5 points on 53.7 percent shooting (282-of-525), including 39.5 percent from 3-point range, with 12.5 rebounds, 1.7 blocks, 1.3 steals and 1.2 assists in 31.3 minutes per game this season.  As of Friday, he ranked among the top-5 in the nation in both scoring (third) and rebounding (first).  He has recorded a double-double in 26 of 30 games and has totaled 23 games of 20 or more points.  He leads the nation in double-doubles (26), 40-point games (three), 30-point games (13), 20-point, 10-rebound games (21) and 30-point, 10-rebound games (13). 


Beasley already holds 27 Kansas State career, single-season and freshman records as well as 13 Big 12 single-game and single-season marks.  With his 33-point, 14-rebound effort against Colorado on on March 4, he eclipsed Mitch Richmond’s (768; 1987-88) school single-season points record, while he broke the Big 12 record for double-doubles in a season with his 26th on the year. He is just the 27th player in NCAA Division I history to post 26 or more double-doubles in a season and the first since Utah’s Andrew Bogut (26) did it in 2004-05.


Walker ranks second to Beasley in numerous categories on the team, including scoring (16.0 ppg.), 30-point games (twice), 20-point games (eight), rebounding (6.5 rpg.), double-doubles (four), blocks (0.6 bpg.) and free throws (92), while he is third in 3-point field goals made (32) and steals (1.0 spg.).  He has scored in double figures in 26 of his 34 career games, including 22 of 28 games this season.  He posted a career-best 31 points against Xavier on Dec. 31, 2007 and against Baylor on Feb. 23, 2008.  He is averaging 17.1 points in Big 12 play on 48.3 percent shooting with 6.2 rebounds. 


Beasley and Walker rank as the third-best scoring tandem (42.5 ppg.) in Division I and one of just four nationally to combine for 40 or more points.  The duo has helped Kansas State to a 20-10 overall record and a third-place finish in Big 12 play with a 10-6 mark.  The team has now posted back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time in nearly 20 years, while the 10 conference wins tie the 2006-07 squad for the best league record in the Big 12 era.  The third-place finish is the best since the inception of the Big 12 and the highest since the 1988-89 team finished third in the Big Eight. 


Third-seeded Kansas State (20-10, 10-6 Big 12) begins play at the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship on Friday when the Wildcats play either No. 6 Texas A&M or No. 11 seed Iowa State at 8:20 p.m. CT in the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.