Baylor point guard Pierre Jackson has been selected as the Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year in balloting by the league’s men’s basketball coaches. Other individual honorees, selected by coaches and announced Thursday, include Oklahoma forward Amath M’Baye (Preseason Newcomer of the Year) _ a transfer from Wyoming _ and Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart (Preseason Freshman of the Year).
Joining Jackson on the first-team squad was Texas guard Myck Kabongo, Kansas center Jeff Withey, Kansas State forward Rodney McGruder and Oklahoma State guard/forward Le’Bryan Nash. Jackson, a senior, averaged 13.8 points and dished out 223 assists last season while leading Baylor to a 30-8 record and a berth in the Elite Eight.
Below is a breakdown of each honoree, as provided by league officials, as well as information about the first-team all-conference members selected by Big 12 coaches:
Jackson leads BU after dishing out 223 assists last season, the second-best total in school history. He is third among returning Big 12 scorers (13.8 ppg) and had 27 double-figure scoring efforts in 2011-12, including an average of 17.6 points in the final eight contests. He was named to the All-Big 12 Second Team and earned honorable mention All-America recognition from the Associated Press.
M’Baye sat out last season after transferring from the University of Wyoming. He is expected to make an immediate impact for the Sooners after starting all 31 games as a sophomore in 2010-11, averaging 12.0 points and 5.7 rebounds with 29 blocks. M’Baye is just the second foreign native in Big 12 history to earn one of the three major preseason awards. Victor Avila of Oklahoma (native of Mexico) was picked as the Preseason Newcomer of the Year in 1998-99.
Smart was a two-time Gatorade Player of the Year in Texas and led his high school to back-to-back state championships. He averaged 15.1 points, 9.2 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 2.8 steals while shooting 66.9 percent. This summer, he started all five games as Team USA won the FIBA Americas U18 Championships. Smart is the second straight OSU player to be named top freshman in the preseason (Le’Bryan Nash) and third in league history (Desmond Mason, 1996-97).
The Preseason All-Big 12 team was also announced. In addition to Jackson, Jeff Withey (Kansas), Rodney McGruder (K-State), Le'Bryan Nash (Oklahoma State) and Myck Kabongo (Texas) were recognized.
Preseason Player of the Year
Pierre Jackson, Baylor, G, 5-10, 180, Sr., Las Vegas, Nev./Desert Pines/College of Southern Idaho
Preseason Newcomer of the Year
Amath M’Baye, Oklahoma, F, 6-9, 215, Jr., Bordeaux, France/University of Wyoming
Preseason Freshman of the Year
Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State, G, 6-4, 225, Fr., Flower Mound, Texas/Marcus
2012-13 Preseason All-Big 12 Team
Name, School Pos. Ht. Wt. Cl. Hometown/Previous School(s)
Pierre Jackson, Baylor G 5-10 180 Sr. Las Vegas, Nev./Desert Pines/College of Southern Idaho
Jeff Withey, Kansas** C 7-0 235 Sr. San Diego, Calif./Horizon
Rodney McGruder, Kansas State** G 6-4 205 Sr. Washington, D.C./Arlington Country Day [Fla.]
Le’Bryan Nash, Oklahoma State** G/F 6-7 230 So. Dallas, Texas/Lincoln
Myck Kabongo, Texas G 6-1 180 So. Toronto, Ontario, Canada/St. Benedict’s Prep [N.J.]
Honorable Mention (listed alphabetically by school):
Isaiah Austin, Baylor; Elijah Johnson, Kansas; Romero Osby & Steven Pledger, Oklahoma; Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State; Sheldon McClellan, Texas
** - Unanimous Selection
_ Jimmy Burch