Bringin’ in the Hardware: Examining The Two-Man Battle for Big 12 POYPosted by cwilliams on January 10th, 2012
I have a confession. College basketball is not my favorite sport. Baseball is buried the deepest in my heart, and my passion for America’s pastime will never be challenged by any other game. Today, one of my favorite parts of the baseball offseason occurred, the Hall of Fame voting. Former Cincinnati Red great Barry Larkin was elected to Cooperstown today. Why am I telling you this? Because it made me ponder who will go down in Big 12 history after this season as the best college basketball player of the 2011-12 season. Awards like this solidify one’s spot in college basketball history. The opportunity to leave your name on a piece of hardware that will last much longer than your college basketball career is alluring to these athletes, to say the least. Let’s examine the favorites thus far for the Big 12 Player of the Year. It is a two-person race at this point, with candidates from two bitter rivals. Baylor’s phenomenal team play has led them astray in this individual award category, but I think Scott Drew is somehow ok with that.
- Thomas Robinson, Kansas: After being a media darling during the offseason, Robinson entered the season with big shoes to fill. And fill those shoes he has. Robinson is easily averaging a double-double, with 17.5 points and 12.1 rebounds per game this season. Perhaps most importantly, Robinson has been consistent, even when the Jayhawks have not. Robinson has scored double figures in all but one game this year, a game in which he only played 22 minutes. He has also put up some individual game numbers that are jaw-dropping. Robinson dropped 16/15 against Duke, 21/18 against Davidson, and an amazing 30/21 against North Dakota.
- Marcus Denmon, Missouri. While the hot start of the Tigers has been somewhat surprising, the impressive play of Marcus Denmon has not been. Denmon is leading the Big 12 in a number of categories. He is first in points per game, total points, free throw percentage, and three-pointers. While charismatic Kim English is the vocal leader of the Tigers, Denmon is the quiet leader. He can drop 15 points in the first half, and unless you’re filling out the score card, you won’t even notice.
So, who will get the nod as the Big 12 player of the Year? It’s tough to say, especially without knowing the final record of each team and the final statistics of the players. Both players mean a great deal to their team, and have put the entire roster on their back at times and carried them to victory. However, as of now, I’d give the trophy to Kansas’s Thomas Robinson. Robinson has put up some absolutely stellar numbers in certain games, yet has been more consistently good in every game. While Denmon has been brilliant this season, I think Robinson’s output and leadership means more to his team. The season is still young, though, and there will be many more games ahead where one of the two Big 12 stars can separate himself from the other.