January 14, 2013
Freshman guard Ben McLemore (Kansas) and freshman forward Georges Niang (Iowa State) have been named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Basketball Player and Rookie of the Week for games of January 7-13. It is the first recognition for each in their category, although McLemore was named top rookie earlier this year. It marks the first time since March 9, 2008 (Michael Beasley, LaceDarius Dunn) that two freshmen have earned player and rookie accolades in the same week.
PHILLIPS 66 BIG 12 PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Ben McLemore, Kansas, G, Fr., 6-5, 195, St. Louis, Mo./Christian Life Center [Texas]
McLemore averaged 21.5 points and 3.5 rebounds as Kansas won its first two games in Big 12 play with a 97-89 overtime win over Iowa State and a 60-46 victory at Texas Tech. The freshman guard opened the week by scoring 33 points in the win over ISU on 10-of-12 shooting, including 6-of-6 from 3-point range, along with 7-of-7 from the free throw line. He scored 13 of KU's final 23 points in the final seven minutes, including the game-tying 3-pointer with 1.3 seconds remaining to send the contest to overtime. It was the most points by a Jayhawk freshman since Danny Manning in 1985 (35 vs. Oklahoma State). McLemore shot 63.2 percent for the week and 60 percent from beyond the arc, while connecting on 86.7 percent of his free throws. He ranks second in the Big 12 in scoring with 16.4 points per game.
PHILLIPS 66 BIG 12 ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
Georges Niang, Iowa State, F, Fr., 6-7, 245, Methuen, Mass./The Tilton School
Niang turned in strong performances in just his second and third starts of the season as Iowa State dropped the game at Kansas before posting an 82-62 win over Texas. The freshman forward recorded 15.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game while shooting 55.6 percent from the floor and 88.9 percent from the charity stripe. He had 13 points at KU, including the team's first eight points, while grabbing seven boards. He then notched a career-high 18 points to go along with two rebounds versus the Longhorns, converting 5-of-7 shots from the field. Niang has scored in double figures in six of his last seven contests and ranks third on the team in scoring with 11.5 points per game.