Kansas’ Jalen Wilson was the unanimous choice as Player of the Year while Kansas State’s Jerome Tang was selected Coach of the Year in his first season to highlight the 2022-23 Phillips 66 All-Big 12 men’s basketball awards, chosen by the head coaches. The Jayhawks collected two other individual awards as Dajuan Harris Jr. was voted Defensive Player of the Year while KJ Adams Jr. garnered Most Improved Player. The Wildcats’ Keyontae Johnson was the unanimous choice as Newcomer of the Year, Baylor’s Keyonte George earned Freshman of the Year and Texas’ Sir’Jabari Rice collected the Sixth Man Award.
Wilson leads the Big 12 in both scoring (19.7 ppg), rebounding (8.4 rpg) and double-doubles (10) while he is second in minutes played (35.2). The junior forward is vying to become the seventh player, fourth Jayhawk, in Big 12 history to lead the league in both scoring and rebounding. Wilson has two 30-point performances and 17 games of 20-plus points this season. His 38 points at K-State on Jan. 17 are the most in a conference matchup this year. He is a finalist for the John R. Wooden Award and Oscar Robertson Trophy. Also a unanimous All-Big 12 First Team selection, Wilson was joined on the first team by Baylor’s Adam Flagler, also a unanimous pick, K-State’s Johnson and Markquis Nowell along with Texas’ Marcus Carr.
Known for his instinct on defense, Harris also directs the KU offense from his point guard position. The junior guard leads the Conference in assist/turnover ratio (3.4), is second in assists (6.3), fourth in steals (2.0) and fifth in minutes played (34.0). He contributes averages of 8.6 points and 2.5 rebounds.
Johnson made his triumphant return to the basketball court on Nov. 7 in K-State’s season opener against UTRGV following a two-year absence after suffering a medical emergency against Florida State on Dec. 12, 2020. He was named March Madness National Player of the Week and Big 12 Newcomer of the Week after the Wildcats’ first two games. The senior forward has totaled five Conference newcomer accolades this season as he is second in the league in scoring (17.8), tied for fourth in rebounding (7.0), second in field goal percentage (.519) and fourth in double-doubles (6). He is a finalist for the John R. Wooden Award.
George entered the season as the Big 12 Preseason Freshman of the Year. He is sixth in the league in scoring (16.0), fifth in 3-point field goals made (2.4) and sixth in free throw percentage (.794). George holds the program record for most 20-point games by a freshman (12) and his 16.0 points average is sixth-best among all NCAA rookies. The guard collected two Big 12 Newcomer of the Week honors.
As the first player off the Longhorns’ bench, Rice is second on the team in scoring (12.6), fourth in assists (63) and minutes (24.2) and tied for fourth in rebounding (3.5). The senior guard has reached double figures 20 times this season and is second in the Big 12 in free throw percentage (.870). He earned Big 12 Newcomer of the Week honors on Feb. 6 after helping UT to wins over No. 11 Baylor and No. 7 K-State. He scored a team-high 23 points to lead Texas over No. 3 Kansas in the regular season finale.
Adams has started every game in 2022-23 after earning one start as a freshman last year during KU’s national championship run. He improved his averages to 10.5 points and 4.5 rebounds in 27.2 minutes from registering 1.0 points and 0.8 boards in 4.8 minutes as a rookie. He has scored in double figures in 17 games this season after not reaching double digits in the first seven contests.
Picked last in the Big 12 Preseason Poll, Tang guided Kansas State to a tie for third with an 11-7 conference mark and current 23-8 overall record in his first season as a collegiate head coach. The 23-8 start is the best by any first-year head coach in NCAA Division I and the second-best in K-State history. The Wildcats are 7-4 against top 25 opponents this season, including 3-2 vs. top 10 foes. Tang inherited a squad of just two returning key players and brought in 13 newcomers.
Big 12 teams will begin postseason play with the Phillips 66 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championship March 8-11 in Kansas City’s T-Mobile Center.