Wildcats Earn District Honors From USBWA

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Head coach Frank Martin was named the District VI Coach of the Year, while senior Denis Clemente and junior Jacob Pullen earned recognition to the All-District team, as the U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) announced their regional honors on Wednesday.

The duo were joined on the organization's All-District team by Kansas' Cole AldrichSherron Collins and Xavier Henry, Oklahoma State's James Anderson, Iowa State's Craig Brackins, Northern Iowa's Jordan Eglseder and Adam Koch and Missouri's Kim English.  Anderson was named the District's Player of the Year.  The district includes the states of Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.  Clemente earned All-District honors for the second straight season, while it is the first district award for Pullen. 

Martin, who was named the Big 12 Coach of the Year by both the league coaches and The Associated Press on Sunday, is now one of nine candidates for the USBWA's National Coach of the Year.  He is also one of 15 finalists for the Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year Award from CollegeInsider.com

The team's leading scorer at 18.9 points per game, Pullen has led the team in double-figure scoring (30), 20-point games (13), 3-point field goals (170), 3-point field goals attempted (216) and steals (49).  He has shot 41.3 percent from the field, including 38 percent from 3-point range, to go with 3.6 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 1.6 steals in 31.4 minutes per game.  He has scored in double figures in all 30 games, which ranks as the second-longest streak in school history behind Mitch Richmond's 50-consecutive game streak. 

Clemente averaged 16 points on 39.1 percent shooting, including 33 percent from 3-point range, with a team-best 3.9 assists, 2.3 rebounds and 1.0 steals in 34 minutes per game.  His average in Big 12 play was even better at 17.7 points per game.  He scored in double figures in 27 games, including nine 20-point games. 

The trio has helped K-State post one of its best seasons in school history, as the squad currently lists a 24-6 overall record and an 11-5 mark in Big 12 play, which includes a tie for second place in the league standings and the No. 2 seed in this week's Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship at the Sprint Center.  The 24 wins and 11 conference victories are the most in the Big 12 era and the most since the 1987-88 squad posted a school-record tying 25 wins to go with 11 in Big Eight play.  The second-place finish is also the best since the inception of the Big 12 and the best since the 1987-88 season. 

K-State opens play at the 14th annual Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship on Thursday when the Wildcats play the winner of Wednesday's first round contest between No. 7 seed Oklahoma State (21-9, 9-7 Big 12) and No. 10 seed Oklahoma (13-17, 4-12 Big 12) at 6 p.m. at the Sprint Center.