Iowa State’s Melvin Ejim was named the Associated Press Big 12 Player of the Year on Monday, receiving 11 of 18 votes of a media panel that covers the league.
The 6-foot-6 Cyclones senior received the AP honor a day after being named Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Year by the conference coaches.
Kansas University freshman Andrew Wiggins, who was named unanimous first-team AP All-Big 12 on Monday, received four Player of the Year votes, while first-teamers DeAndre Kane, Marcus Smart and second-teamer Joel Embiid of KU split the remaining top-player votes.
“It went exactly as I thought. I thought Melvin deserved Player of the Year, but I think Andrew obviously could and should have been right there,” KU coach Bill Self said. “I thought each of them deserved player of the year. I think you could make a case for Andrew, but certainly if you don’t include a 41-point performance it probably didn’t help his chances much.”
Self was lamenting the fact he heard some coaches and/or writers may have turned in their ballots prior to the end of the season. Wiggins had 41 points in his season finale versus West Virginia.
“Like with the Big 12 awards, I don’t know, I think there may have been only one other coach that turned his stuff in after the full regular season was over,” Self said. “But it went exactly as I thought.”
KU’s Perry Ellis was named honorable mention AP all-league. Wiggins was named freshman of the year, receiving 17 votes to Embiid’s one. Kane was newcomer of the year.
Oklahoma’s Lon Kruger was named coach of the year. He received 11 of the 18 votes. KU’s Self received five and Texas’ Rick Barnes two. Barnes earlier was named Phillips 66 Big 12 coach of the year
“I think Rick deserves it, but it would be hard for me not to make it a co-coach of the year because Lon did an unbelievable job with his team, too, so to me, both of those guys deserve coach of the year,” Self said.
West Virginia’s Juwan Staten joined Ejim, Kane, Wiggins and Smart on the first team. Embiid, Markel Brown, Marcus Foster, Buddy Hield and Cory Jefferson were second-team.