K-State Announces Year-End Awards

MANHATTAN, Kan. Junior Denis Clemente was named the winner of the Rolando Blackman Team Most Valuable Player to highlight festivities at the annual Kansas State men’s basketball banquet held Tuesday night at the Holiday Inn at the Campus.


Other winners included Jacob Pullen as the Tex Winter Outstanding Offensive Player of the Year; Darren Kent as the Mitch Richmond Mr. Basketball; Dominique Sutton as the Jack Hartman Defensive Player of the Year; Chris Merriewether as the Porky Morgan Most Inspirational Player; Jamar Samuels as the Dean Harris Newcomer of the Year; Luis Colon with the Ernie Barrett Hustle Award and Victor Ojeleye with the Keith Emerson Academic Award.


Clemente led the team in a number of categories in 2008-09 en route to being named Phillips 66 Newcomer of the Year and second team All-Big 12 by the league coaches.  A starter in 32 games, he averaged a team-best 15.0 points on 40.5 percent shooting with a team-high 3.5 assists and 2.4 rebounds in 29.8 minutes per game.  Clemente also ranked among the top-15 in five Big 12 categories and among the top-15 in six Big 12-only categories.  He scored in double figures a team-high 23 games, including five 20-point contests and two 30-point games. He tied the Big 12 single-game mark set by former Wildcat Michael Beasley with 44 points against No. 11 Texas on Jan. 31.


Pullen, who was the winner of the Dean Harris Newcomer of the Year Award a year ago, was one of only two players to start in all 34 games this past season.  An honorable mention All-Big 12 selection, he averaged 13.9 points on 38 percent shooting to go with 3.2 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 1.6 steals in 30.2 minutes.  He led the team in several categories, including games played, minutes, 20-point games (eight), 3-point field goals (75), 3-point field goal attempts (224) and steals.  He scored in double figures 22 times in 2008-09, including a career-high 32 points against Illinois State in first round of the NIT. 


The team’s lone senior, Kent completed his career as one of the most improved players in Big 12 this past season.  He averaged 9.0 points on 40.9 percent shooting with a team-best 5.8 rebounds in 23.0 minutes per game.  Kent ranked among the top-20 in three Big 12 categories, while he placed among the team’s top-5 in 15 categories.  In addition to guiding the team in rebounding and double-doubles, he was second in blocked shots and defensive rebounds and third in scoring, double-figure games (16), field goals (103), field goals attempts (252) and free throws (88) and minutes.  He became just the 15th player in school history to post 80 or more wins in a career and the first since Steve Henson (82; 1986-90).


Regularly assigned to the opponent’s top offensive threat, Sutton helped the Wildcats hold their opponents to 66.6 points per game on just 41.9 percent shooting.  He averaged 7.5 points on 48.5 percent shooting with 5.4 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 1.0 assists in 22.9 minutes per game.  Sutton ranked among the team’s top-5 in seven categories, including first in defensive rebounds, second in rebounds and steals and third in minutes and offensive rebounds. 

A redshirt freshman, Samuels proved to be one of the top sixth men in the country, averaging 8.3 points on 51.4 percent shooting with 4.7 rebounds in 20.5 minutes per game.  He ranked among the team’s top-5 in 12 categories, including first in free throws (97), free throw attempts (171), and blocked shots (0.9) and fourth in scoring, double-figure scoring (15) and rebounding.


Merriewether was selected the recipient of the team’s oldest award, the Porky Morgan Most Inspirational Player, which is given in honor of K-State’s head athletic trainer for nearly 30 years.  A former walk-on who earned a scholarship this past season, Merriewether saw action in 30 games with one start, averaging 0.8 points and 1.2 rebounds per game.  He scored in nine games, including a career-high five points against Texas Tech on Feb. 11. 


One of only two players to start in all 34 games, Colon averaged 4.4 points on 47.7 percent shooting with 4.7 rebounds in 18.2 minutes per game.  He ranked third on the team in blocked shots, fourth in rebounding average and fifth in total rebounds and field goal percentage.  He posted two double-doubles on the season, including a career-high 18 points and 11 rebounds against Southern Miss on Dec. 11 and 12 points and career-high 12 rebounds against North Carolina Central on Feb. 17.


A first-year walk-on, Ojeleye appeared in 15 games this past season.  He averaged 1.1 points on 40 percent shooting with 1.3 rebounds in 3.9 minutes per game.  He scored in five games with a season-high seven points against Southeast Missouri State on Nov. 16, 2008.


Kansas State completed the 2008-09 season with a 22-12 overall record, including a tie for fourth place in the Big 12 with a 9-7 mark.  The Wildcats advanced to the postseason for the third straight season, where they lost in the second round of National Invitational Tournament (NIT) to San Diego State, 70-52, on March 20.  The team has now posted three consecutive 20-win seasons for the first time in over 25 years, while the nine conference wins are the second-most in the Big 12 era.   


2008-09 Kansas State Basketball Team Awards:

Rolando Blackman Team Most Valuable Player: Denis Clemente

Mitch Richmond Mr. Basketball Award: Darren Kent

Porky Morgan Most Inspirational Player Award: Chris Merriewether

Tex Winter Outstanding Offensive Player Award: Jacob Pullen

Jack Hartman Defensive Player Award: Dominique Sutton

Keith Amerson Academic Award: Victor Ojeleye

Ernie Barrett Hustle Award: Luis Colon

Dean Harris Newcomer of the Year: Jamar Samuels