Gillispie Big 12 Coach of Year

By: KXII Sports Email
By: KXII Sports Email

3-4-07 Freshman standout Kevin Durant (Texas) has been named Big 12 Player and Freshman of the Year, highlighting the 2006-07 Phillips 66 All-Big 12 Men's Basketball Awards. The Defensive Player of the Year accolades were shared by Mario Chalmers (Kansas) and Marcus Dove (Oklahoma State), while Stefhon Hannah is the Newcomer of the Year. Cartier Martin (Kansas State) captures the inaugural Sixth Man Award, with Billy Gillispie (Texas A&M) earning Coach of the Year honors.

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

Durant, a unanimous All-Big 12 First Team choice, set numerous conference records in his inaugural campaign. He is the first freshman in league history to earn player of the year honors after becoming the first player in the Big 12 to score 400 points or grab 200 rebounds in conference play. Durant had a Big 12-record nine 30-point games. He also set a record for scoring average in league competition (28.9) and is on pace to establish the overall mark with his 25.1-point average. His combined point and rebound average overall is 36.5, which would set a Big 12 record and be the fifth highest by any player in NCAA history.

Chalmers shares defensive honors after leading the league in steals for the second consecutive season. He is first in the Big 12 with 79 overall. He has 168 thefts in his first two seasons and currently ranks 12th nationally in steals per game. Dove is known as one of the Big 12's best defenders, frequently drawing the task of stopping the opponents top scorer. He leads the Cowboys with 31 blocks this year to go along with 36 steals.

Hannah is the first Missouri player to garner newcomer recognition. The junior guard has scored in double-digits in 25 of 29 games this season, including 20 points or more seven times. He is second in the Big 12 with 71 steals, while his 2.45 average ranks 17th in the nation. Hannah is the second Mizzou player to earn a major Big 12 award following Kareem Rush (Co-Rookie of the Year) in 1999-2000.

Martin is the first Kansas State player to win a major Big 12 award. The senior has scored in double-figures in 16 of the 18 games he has not started for the Wildcats. He has been particularly strong in the last month, averaging 22.4 points in his last seven contests. Martin has 12 outings with 20 points or more en route to helping the Wildcats to their best finish in Big 12 history.

Gillispie wins his second Big 12 coaching honor in the last three years. He guided the Aggies to their best finish in league history with a 13-3 mark and needs just one win to match the school record for overall victories in a season. The Aggies have been ranked in the top 10 nationally for much of the year, including each of the last eight weeks.


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