Kansas Wins The Big 12 AND Cleans Up On Awards Day!!

March 03, 2012; Lawrence, KS, USA; Kansas Jayhawks forward Thomas Robinson (0) shoots a free throw in the first half of the game against the Texas Longhorns at Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas won the game 73-63. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE

It's fun to look back at a regular season like the one we just had and realize just how impressive the growth of this team has been over the course of a five month span. Obviously five months doesn't tell the full story as this group has really been "our team" since last April, but in the last five months the Kansas Jayhawks have exceeded expectations and then some.

The funny thing about it is that I think even the most optimistic Kansas Jayhawk fan would have told you that we have a strong starting five, perhaps as good a starting five as anyone in the league, but depth was always the concern. Even with that mentality, the 16-2 record, the Big 12 championship and a team with the player of the year, coach of the year and defensive player of the year probably wasn't the expectation.

Yesterday the Kansas basketball program added those final pieces when Bill Self was named coach of the year, Thomas Robinson player of the year and Jeff Withey was named defensive player of the year. Throw Tyshawn Taylor as a first team all conference player and Kansas is WELL represented once again.

2011-12 PHILLIPS 66 ALL-BIG 12 MEN'S BASKETBALL AWARDS

Player of the Year: Thomas Robinson, Kansas, F, Jr., 6-10, 237, Washington, D.C./Brewster Academy [N.H.]
Defensive Player of the Year: Jeff Withey, Kansas, C, Jr., 7-0, 235, San Diego, Calif./Horizon
Newcomer of the Year: Royce White, Iowa State, F, So., 6-8, 270, Minneapolis, Minn./Hopkins/Minnesota**
Co-Freshman of the Year: Quincy Miller, Baylor, F, Fr., 6-9, 210, High Point, N.C./Westchester Country Day School
Le'Bryan Nash, Oklahoma State, G/F, Fr., 6-7, 230, Dallas, Texas/Lincoln
Sixth Man Award: Michael Dixon, Missouri, G, Jr., 6-1, 185, Kansas City, Mo./Lee's Summit West**
Co-Coaches of the Year: Fred Hoiberg, Iowa State [Career and at ISU: 38-25, 2nd season]
Bill Self, Kansas [Career: 470-156, 19th season; At KU: 263-51, 9th season]
All-Big 12 First Team Pos. Ht. Wt. Cl. Hometown/Previous School(s)
Royce White, Iowa State** F 6-8 270 So. Minneapolis, Minn./Hopkins/Minnesota
Thomas Robinson, Kansas** F 6-10 237 Jr. Washington, D.C./Brewster Academy [N.H.]
Tyshawn Taylor, Kansas** G 6-3 185 Sr. Hoboken, N.J./St. Anthony
Marcus Denmon, Missouri G 6-3 185 Sr. Kansas City, Mo./Hogan Prep
J'Covan Brown, Texas G 6-1 197 Jr. Port Arthur, Texas/Memorial
All-Big 12 Second Team Pos. Ht. Wt. Cl. Hometown/Previous School(s)
Quincy Acy, Baylor F 6-7 235 Sr. Mesquite, Texas/Horn
Pierre Jackson, Baylor G 5-10 180 Jr. Las Vegas, Nev./Desert Pines/College of Southern Idaho
Rodney McGruder, Kansas State G 6-4 205 Jr. Washington, D.C./Arlington Country Day [Fla.]
Ricardo Ratliffe, Missouri F 6-8 240 Sr. Hampton, Va./Kecoughtan/Central Florida CC
Keiton Page, Oklahoma State G 5-9 165 Sr. Pawnee, Okla./Pawnee
All-Big 12 Third Team Pos. Ht. Wt. Cl. Hometown/Previous School(s)
Perry Jones III, Baylor F 6-11 235 So. Duncanville, Texas/Duncanville
Scott Christopherson, Iowa State G 6-3 195 Sr. LaCrosse, Wis./Aquinas/Marquette
Jeff Withey, Kansas C 7-0 235 Jr. San Diego, Calif./Horizon
Kim English, Missouri G 6-6 200 Sr. Baltimore, Md./Randallstown/Notre Dame Prep
Phil Pressey, Missouri G 5-10 175 So. Dallas, Texas/Dallas Episcopal
All-Big 12 Honorable Mention (Listed alphabetically by school)
Quincy Miller (Baylor), Chris Allen (Iowa State), Melvin Ejim (Iowa State), Jamar Samuels (Kansas State), Steven Pledger (Oklahoma), Romero Osby (Oklahoma), Le'Bryan Nash (Oklahoma State), Myck Kabongo (Texas), Elston Turner (Texas A&M), David Loubeau (Texas A&M)
Big 12 All-Defensive Team Pos. Ht. Wt. Cl. Hometown/Previous School(s)
Quincy Acy, Baylor** F 6-7 235 Sr. Mesquite, Texas/Horn
Jeff Withey, Kansas** C 7-0 235 Jr. San Diego, Calif./Horizon
Jordan Henriquez, Kansas State F 6-11 250 Jr. Port Chester, N.Y./The Winchendon School [Mass.]
Rodney McGruder, Kansas State G 6-4 205 Jr. Washington, D.C./Arlington Country Day [Fla.]
Michael Dixon, Missouri G 6-1 185 Jr. Kansas City, Mo./Lee's Summit West
Big 12 All-Rookie Team Pos. Ht. Wt. Cl. Hometown/Previous School(s)
Pierre Jackson, Baylor** G 5-10 180 Jr. Las Vegas, Nev./Desert Pines/College of Southern Idaho
Quincy Miller, Baylor F 6-9 210 Fr. High Point, N.C./Westchester Country Day School
Royce White, Iowa State** F 6-8 270 So. Minneapolis, Minn./Hopkins/Minnesota
Le'Bryan Nash, Oklahoma State G/F 6-7 230 Fr. Dallas, Texas/Lincoln
Myck Kabongo, Texas G 6-1 169 Fr. Toronto, Ontario, Canada/St. Benedict's Prep [N.J.]

** - Unanimous Selection

Talk about being one fortunate fanbase. Some might think we're spoiled. To some extent that might be true, but there can't be too many that haven't been pleasantly surprised at almost every turn this year. Based on the fact that Taylor and Robinson were unanimous selections, I'd be willing to bet that Tyshawn Taylor might have been Robinson's biggest challenger for player of the year and that duo has allowed Kansas to carry on with business as usual.

Looking at the other awards I do think that Fred Hoiberg is a great co-selection along with Self. Iowa State is a team that has grown in leaps and bounds since the beginning of the season and found a way to finish 3rd in the league. Having them on the other side of the Big 12 bracket is probably a good thing because outside of Kansas, Kansas State and maybe Missouri, Iowa State is one fanbase that can pack a Kansas City arena for the Big 12 tournament as well as anyone.

All in all I think it's a pretty fair rundown without too many so called snubs. Some fanbases might disagree but I think you can make a counter argument for just about every person on the list. If I had to pinpoint one Jayhawk that has the potential to find his way onto a team here in the next year it would be Elijah Johnson. Johnson has really started to develop into a strong defensive standout for Kansas and it probably goes a little unnoticed at the moment. But if Withey does return and doesn't fly up any draftboards late, then Johnson and Withey could make for a Kansas team with a very defensive oriented identity in 2012-2013.

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