Kansas teammates Naadir Tharpe and Joel Embiid have been named the Big 12 Player and Newcomer of the Week after Jayhawk victories against two top-10 opponents last week the conference office announced Monday. The duo was selected by a media panel which covers the league.
Tharpe was the catalyst as Kansas recorded victories at No. 8 Iowa State (77-70) and versus No. 9 Oklahoma State (80-78). The Worcester, Mass., junior guard averaged 22.0 points, 5.0 assists and 4.0 rebounds while making 82.4 percent (14-of-17) of his shots from the field. He started the week with a career-high 23 points at ISU on 7-of-9 shooting before adding 21 points against the Cowboys, making 7-of-8 shots from the floor in that game. Tharpe was 6-of-8 (.750) from three-point range during the week and connected on 9-of-10 (.900) from the free throw line.
Embiid made his presence felt in the two Jayhawk wins by averaging a double-double (14.5 ppg, 10.0 rpg) while adding 13 blocked shots. The Yaounde, Cameroon, center had 16 points, nine rebounds and five rejections at Iowa State before adding 13 points, 11 rebounds and eight blocks versus Oklahoma State. Against the Cowboys, he became the first freshman in Big 12 history to have 10 or more points, 10 or more rebounds and eight blocked shots in a game. The eight rejections broke his own KU freshman single-game record, tied the Big 12 freshman record for all contests and broke the mark for a conference game. Embiid has 49 blocks this season, third on the Kansas single-season freshman list.
It is the first weekly accolade for Tharpe, while Embiid is the top rookie for the second time. Six different KU players have captured at least one weekly honor this season and this is the second time in 2013-14 two Jayhawks have been named the same week as Perry Ellis (co-player) and Andrew Wiggins (newcomer) were named Nov. 18.