MANHATTAN, Kan. – Freshman Michael Beasley became the first player in school history to earn National Player of the Year accolades on Wednesday when he selected to the honor by CBS Sports.com. He was also named the organization’s National Freshman of the Year and to its All-America first team.
The honor was one of many that continue to roll in for the Washington, D.C., native. Beasley was also named the National Freshman of the Year by The Sporting News and U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA). He has also been selected a first team All-American by several organizations, including Sports Illustrated, The Sporting News and ESPN.com. In addition, he was chosen as a first team Freshman All-American by CBS Sports.com, while teammate Bill Walker was announced to the organization’s Freshman All-America third team.
The former No. 1 high school recruit continues to make his case for national honors, as Beasley is averaging 26.5 points on 53.7 percent shooting (282-of-525), including 39.5 percent from 3-point range, with 12.5 rebounds, 1.7 blocks, 1.3 steals and 1.2 assists in 31.3 minutes per game this season. As of Friday, he ranked among the top-5 in the nation in both scoring (third) and rebounding (first). He has recorded a double-double in 26 of 30 games and has totaled 23 games of 20 or more points. He leads the nation in double-doubles (26), 40-point games (three), 30-point games (13), 20-point, 10-rebound games (21) and 30-point, 10-rebound games (13).
Beasley already holds 27 Kansas State career, single-season and freshman records as well as 13 Big 12 single-game and single-season marks. With his 33-point, 14-rebound effort against Colorado on March 4, he eclipsed Mitch Richmond’s (768; 1987-88) school single-season points record, while he broke the Big 12 record for double-doubles in a season with his 26th on the year. He is just the 27th player in NCAA Division I history to post 26 or more double-doubles in a season and the first since Utah’s Andrew Bogut (26) did it in 2004-05.
Beasley became the second consecutive standout freshman to win both the Big 12 Player and Freshman of the Year accolades from the league coaches on Monday. He is the fourth player in school history to be honored as the league’s Player of the Year and the first since the inception of the Big 12, joining Lon Kruger (1973 and 1974), Mike Evans (1977 and 1978) and Rolando Blackman (1980). He is also the first player to earn the distinction of league Freshman of the Year and the 12th overall to be selected as either Freshman or Newcomer of the Year since 1970. Beasley has also been named the recipient of both awards by The Associated Press, Kansas City Star and Rivals.com.
Beasley also was one of two players (Texas’ D.J. Augustin) to be selected unanimously to the All-Big 12 First Team by the league coaches. He is not only the school’s first unanimous first team honoree in the Big 12 era, but also the inaugural first team selection since the league’s inception. He is the first player since Steve Henson in 1989 to garner first team accolades from the league coaches. He has also been named first team all-conference by the Kansas City, Dallas Morning News and Rivals.com.
In addition to being the National Freshman of the Year, Beasley was also named the U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) District VI Player of the Year as well as to the All-District VI team along with teammate Bill Walker.
Walker has already been named to several all-conference teams, including the third team by the league coaches. He was named to Kansas City Star’s All-Big 12 second team as well as to the All-Rookie Team by the coaches and the All-Freshman Team by Rivals.com.
Walker ranks second to Beasley in numerous categories on the team, including scoring (16.0 ppg.), 30-point games (twice), 20-point games (eight), rebounding (6.5 rpg.), double-doubles (four), blocks (0.6 bpg.) and free throws (92), while he is third in 3-point field goals made (32) and steals (1.0 spg.). He has scored in double figures in 26 of his 34 career games, including 22 of 28 games this season. He posted a career-best 31 points against Xavier on Dec. 31, 2007 and against Baylor on Feb. 23, 2008. He is averaging 17.1 points in Big 12 play on 48.3 percent shooting with 6.2 rebounds.
Beasley and Walker rank as the third-best scoring tandem (42.5 ppg.) in Division I and one of just four nationally to combine for 40 or more points. The duo has helped Kansas State to a 20-10 overall record and a third-place finish in Big 12 play with a 10-6 mark. The team has now posted back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time in nearly 20 years, while the 10 conference wins tie the 2006-07 squad for the best league record in the Big 12 era. The third-place finish is the best since the inception of the Big 12 and the highest since the 1988-89 team finished third in the Big Eight.
Third-seeded Kansas State begins play at the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship on Friday when the Wildcats play either No. 6 Texas A&M or No. 11 seed Iowa State at 8:20 p.m. CT in the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.
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