I'm taking a different approach to filling out my all-Big Eight basketball ballot this season.
I've decided to stop pouring over statistics and simply pick the players I'd choose if I was a college recruiter drafting a team.
Stats are important, but sometimes misleading. Several of Kansas' players for example, would likely match or surpass Donnie Boyce's numbers if they, like Boyce, played for lowly Colorado.
Keeping that in mind, my first-team ballot includes not the usual one, but two Kansas players.
Here's my ballot as submitted to the AP. The all-league team will be released next week:
Ryan Minor, Oklahoma: A junior, the Big Eight's leading scorer should turn pro after this season. The NBA keeps talking about changing its salary structure and he ought to take the money and run. Minor appears ready for the pro grind.
Bryant Reeves, Oklahoma State: Remarkably consistent since his sophomore season, the seven-footer will make big bucks in the NBA, though it's doubtful he'll be a lottery pick.
Fred Hoiberg, Iowa State: Hoiberg broke KU's back in Ames, just like he's done to a lot of teams. He doesn't necessarily look like a great basketball player, but he is one.
Jacque Vaughn, KU: Among the country's leaders in assists, Vaughn is Kansas' most valuable player. He doesn't score a lot of points or shoot for a high percentage, but he's led KU to a 21-4 record. Enough said.
Jerod Haase, KU: True Haase commits a lot of turnovers, but he makes up for them with his three-point bombing, defense and intense play.
Donnie Boyce, Colorado: Boyce is certain to make first team, but it won't be unanimous. Yes, he is outstanding, but how many points has he scored in the final 10 minutes of blowout losses during his career?
Paul O'Liney, Missouri: O'Liney carried the Tigers to some big wins early and truly is an offensive threat. Has CBA written all over him.
Raef LaFrentz, KU: The much-publicized Iowan has lived up to all his press clippings. He started slowly in Big Eight play, but has emerged of late, especially on the boards.
Randy Rutherford, OSU: A strong three-point shooter, Rutherford is a nice complement to Reeves. Also, he's underrated defensively, KU coach Roy Williams maintains.
Julian Winfield, Missouri: Limited offensively, Winfield is probably Mizzou's best all-around player.
Honorable mention: Scot Pollard, Greg Ostertag, Kansas; Erick Strickland, Jaron Boone, Nebraska; John Ontjes, Oklahoma; Loren Meyer, Julius Michalik, Iowa State; Elliot Hatcher, Belvis Noland, Kansas State.
Coach of year: If Kansas beats Oklahoma State on Sunday, Roy Williams gets my vote. If OSU wins, it's Eddie Sutton. Oklahoma's Kelvin Sampson appears to be the overwhelming favorite, however.
Player of year: I may have to flip a coin to pick between Minor and Reeves. Freshman of year: LaFrentz. Newcomer of year: Haase.