Head coach Bruce Weber earned Big 12 Coach of the Year honors, while Rodney McGruder, Angel Rodriguez and Shane Southwell were named to the Coaches’ All-Conference team, as the league office announced its annual men’s basketball awards on Sunday.
McGruder was named to the five-man All-Big 12 First Team and Rodriguez to the five-man All-Big 12 Second Team, while Southwell was one of nine players to earn honorable mention. It marked the first time in 14 years that Kansas State had three players on the all-conference team with four players earning honorable mention in 1999. Overall, only one other time (1951) was there three Wildcats on an all-conference squad.
Weber is the sixth K-State head coach to earn conference Coach of the Year honors and the second in the Big 12 era, following Tex Winter (1958, 1959, 1960), Cotton Fitzsimmons (1970), Jack Hartman (1975, 1977), Dana Altman (1993) and Frank Martin (2010). He also collects league Coach of the Year accolades for the third time in his career in his third different league after winning the honor in the Missouri Valley in 2002-03 and the Big Ten in 2004-05. With Weber’s coaching honor, K-State becomes just the second Big 12 school to have its football and men’s basketball coaches earn league Coach of the Year honors in the same season.
A native of Washington, D.C., McGruder became just the third men’s basketball player to earn All-Big 12 First Team honors since the inception of the league, joining Michael Beasley (2008) and Jacob Pullen (2010, 2011). The leader in six categories, including scoring (15.1 ppg.), double-digit scoring games (25), 20-point games (nine), field goals (174) and minutes (32.9), McGruder also earned first team accolades from the Kansas City Star and ESPN.com. Overall, he earned all-conference accolades for the third time in his career after being named to the second team as a junior (2012) and third team as a sophomore (2011). He is averaging 15.1 points on 43.9 percent shooting, including 32.3 percent from 3-point range, to go with 5.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.3 steals in 32.9 minutes per game. He ranks among the Big 12’s Top 20 in scoring, field goal percentage, steals and minutes played.
Rodriguez, who ranks among the Big 12’s Top 5 in assists, steals and assist-to-turnover ratio, was named to the league’s second team for the first time in his career. The San Juan, Puerto Rico native, he is averaging 11.5 points on 37.1 percent shooting, including 33.6 percent from 3-point range, to go with 5.5 assists, 2.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 27.6 minutes per game. He ranks second in the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio, third in assists and free throw percentage and fifth in steals. He paces the Wildcats in 3-point field goals (46), free throws (81), assists (159), steals (43), while he is second in scoring, double-digit scoring games (20) and field goals (103). His 159 assists are the third-most in a single-season, trailing Steve Henson (186, 1987-88) and Jim Roder (163, 1983-84), while his 5.48 assists per game average is second only to Roder’s 5.62 average.
A Bronx, N.Y., native, Southwell earned all-conference honors for the first time in his career, as the junior was named honorable mention. The Wildcats’ best 3-point shooter is averaging 8.3 points on 45.5 percent shooting, including 44.3 percent from beyond the arc, to go with 3.7 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.0 steals in 24.8 minutes per game. He ranks second on the team in 3-point field goals (43), third in scoring, assists and steals and fourth in field goals and minutes played. He has registered double-digit scoring nine times this season, including a career-best 19 points against No. 3/2 Kansas on Jan. 22.
The 9/10 Wildcats ended the regular season with a 25-6 overall record and a 14-4 mark in Big 12 play, which includes a tie for its first conference title in 36 seasons and a No. 2 seed in this week’s Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship at the Sprint Center. The 25 wins are the most-ever in the regular season and just the school’s fifth 25-win season, while the 14 conference wins tie the 1958-59 team for the most in school history. Overall, it is the 18th conference regular season title in school history and the first since 1976-77 season.
K-State begins play at the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship on Thursday when the Wildcats play the winner of Wednesday’s first round contest between No. 7 seed Texas (15-16) and No. 10 seed TCU (11-20) at 6 p.m. at the Sprint Center.