For the first time in Big 12 history, a West Virginia student-athlete has been named Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year, as guard Juwan Staten was chosen in a vote of the league’s head coaches. Guard Bryce Dejean-Jones is the third Iowa State player in the last six years be picked as top newcomer, while Cliff Alexander (Kansas) and Myles Turner (Texas) shared Big 12 Preseason Freshman of the Year accolades. It marks only the second time in conference history there has been a tie for freshman honors (2003-04).
Staten is the top returning scorer in the Big 12 after leading the league with 18.1 points per game overall in 2013-14. The senior guard also topped the conference in minutes played (37.3 mpg) while ranking second in assists (193) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.8) and third in field goal percentage (.486). He also averaged a league-best 19.9 points in Big 12 play.
Dejean-Jones will be eligible to play immediately after transferring from UNLV. The senior saw action in 31 games a year ago, making 26 starts. He averaged a team-best 13.6 points while grabbing 3.7 rebounds with 3.0 assists per game. Dejean-Jones scored in double figures in 24 outings and shot 42.7 percent from the field.
Turner was rated as the No. 2 overall prospect in the nation by ESPN.com, while Alexander checked in at No. 3. Turner averaged 18.1 points, 12.2 rebounds and 6.8 blocks during his senior campaign and was named to the McDonald’s All-America Team. Alexander contributed 25 points, 16 rebounds and six rejections per game and was chosen the 2014 Naismith Boys High School Player of the Year.
The Preseason All-Big 12 Team was also announced. Staten and Perry Ellis of Kansas were unanimous picks and were joined by Georges Niang (Iowa State), Marcus Foster (K-State) and Buddy Hield (Oklahoma) on the five-member squad.
Preseason Player of the Year
Juwan Staten, West Virginia, G, 6-1, 190, Sr., Dayton, Ohio/Dayton
Preseason Newcomer of the Year
Bryce Dejean-Jones, Iowa State, G, 6-5, 210, Sr., Los Angeles, Calif./Taft/USC/UNLV
Preseason Freshmen of the Year
Cliff Alexander, Kansas, F, 6-8, 240, Fr., Chicago, Ill./Curie
Myles Turner, Texas, F, 6-11, 240, Fr., Bedford, Texas/Euless Trinity
2014-15 Preseason All-Big 12 Team
|Name, School||Pos.||Ht.||Wt.||Cl.||Hometown/Previous School(s)|
|Georges Niang, Iowa State||F||6-7||240||Jr.||Methuen, Mass./The Tilton School [N.H.]|
|Perry Ellis, Kansas**||F||6-8||225||Jr.||Wichita, Kan./Wichita Heights|
|Marcus Foster, K-State||G||6-2||200||So.||Wichita Falls, Texas/Hirschi|
|Buddy Hield, Oklahoma||G||6-4||209||Jr.||Freeport, Bahamas/Sunrise Christian Academy [Kan.]|
|Juwan Staten, West Virginia**||G||6-1||190||Sr.||Dayton, Ohio/Dayton|
Honorable Mention (listed alphabetically by school):
Ryan Spangler, Oklahoma; Le’Bryan Nash, Oklahoma State; Jonathan Holmes, Cameron Ridley and Isaiah Taylor, Texas
* - Unanimous Selection
A tie in the voting created two honorees for Freshman of the Year