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The Official Rock Chalk Talk Big 12 Awards Ballot

Who will take home the most prestigious awards of the season?

NCAA Basketball: Texas at Kansas Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The coaches awards were announced yesterday. The media awards will be announced later this week. Let’s be honest though, these are the big ones.

Player of the Year - Devonte Graham, senior guard, Kansas

Trae Young, Devonte Graham, Keenan Evans, and Jevon Carter all have somewhat equal POY cases (although I think Young and Graham’s are a bit higher), so let’s break it down a bit:

This doesn’t tell us a ton, to be honest. Ideally, a player would be in the top right of this grid, but as you can see three of the players fit the natural tendency to have your offensive rating get worse as your usage increases. (it does probably eliminate Jevon Carter, who is the best perimeter defender in the league but doesn’t quite have the offense to overcome Graham or Evans, who are good defenders in their own right, or Young, who is a tremendous offensive talent).

To really get into the finite differences between Young, Graham, and Evans, I’d like to introduce you to a somewhat new stat called PORPAGATU (I know, dumb name, but I didn’t come up with it so don’t shoot the messenger). It stands for Points Over Replacement Per Adjusted Game At That Usage. You can (and should) read the full explainer at Big Ten Geeks but I will summarize briefly:

  • It uses a formula to come up with the number of points per game a player creates over a replacement player. The stat creators use an 88 offensive rating for a replacement player.
  • They then adjust that replacement player offensive rating either up or down depending on the usage rate, because it is obviously much easier to be efficient offensively at a lower usage.
  • There are adjustments for opponent quality.

There you have it. Anything over 3 is pretty good, anything over 4 is really good, anything over 5 is great, and there have only been 25 seasons since 2008 of 6 or higher. The best season posted by this metric, for the curious, is Frank Mason last year at 6.8 (although with a good run, Trae Young could eclipse that).

Your PORPAGATU numbers for the four contenders:

Trae Young 6.5

Devonte Graham 6.5

Keenan Evans 5

Jevon Carter 4.8

For as great as Keenan Evans was this year, I think we can eliminate him now and make this a two person race between Young and Graham. Let’s abandon any semblance of coherent thought and get right into stream of consciousness.

Young and Graham both mean a ton to their team. Graham’s team was obviously better, but I don’t think Young should be penalized for having worse teammates or a worse coach. Among all players, Young is unique in how he forces opposing coaches to prepare for him. He also has the highest usage I have seen from an elite player, and his “actual” usage is even higher considering all of his assists.

Graham, meanwhile, played more Big 12 minutes than any Bill Self player ever, and dominated the other top point guards in the league in their head to head matchups, with the exception of at Oklahoma. I think it is fair to call them equal offensively, so I am going to defense. Graham didn’t have his best year defensively, but when he needs to he can still dial it up and frustrate the hell out of opposing point guards. Young, meanwhile, is an appalling defender and only got worse as the season went on.

I’ll go Graham by the thinnest of margins.

Rest of 1st team

Trae Young, freshman guard, Oklahoma

As I mentioned, no one made opponents prepare like Young did, as he showed an ability to shoot from 30+ feet as well as find guys at every possible angle for open looks. I certainly would not have objected to him winning player of the year.

Keenan Evans, senior guard, Texas Tech

Evans’ candidacy can probably best be summed up by how terrible the Red Raiders are without him. They lost four straight while he was dealing with a bad foot, and the Red Raiders are about 10 points per 100 possessions worse with Evans off the floor. He’s not a very good outside shooter, but makes up for it by ranking 2nd in the league in fouls drawn and shooting 84 percent from the line. He’s also not an elite assist guy, but couples that with a miniscule turnover rate.

Jevon Carter, senior guard, West Virginia

The best perimeter defender in the league, Carter is no slouch offensively either, ranking 3rd in the league in assist rate with an assist rate almost double his turnover rate. He had the weakest shooting stats of the four point guards, shooting 44 percent on twos and 34 percent from three, but leading the league in steal rate more than makes up for that.

Dean Wade, junior forward, Kansas State

It came down to Wade and Mo Bamba for me, but Bamba sitting the last couple games allowed Wade to sneak it out and take the first team honor. He ranked just 13th in the league in usage, but 3rd in offensive rating, 2nd in both effective field goal percentage and true shooting percentage, and he was a solid passer, rebounder, and shot blocker.

He’s also one of the toughest matchups in the Big 12, as a 6-10 forward who can put the ball on the floor as well as shoot from deep. He’s not an elite defender, but took huge strides forward on that side of the ball.

2nd team all Big 12

Udoka Azubuike, sophomore forward, Kansas

Azubuike played in fewer than 60 percent of KU’s Big 12 minutes this year, or else he would have had a shot at first team as well. Azubuike led the league in eFG and TS% and ended up ranking 5th in block percentage after a slow start on that end of the floor. For the season, Kansas scored about 12 more points per 100 possessions with Azubuike on the floor and allowed around 3 fewer points per 100 possessions with him on the floor.

Vlad Brodziansky, senior forward, TCU

Brodziansky led the league in offensive rating, ranked 9th in eFG, 4th in turnover rate, 8th in block percentage, and he led the league in free throw shooting. He played in just 67 percent of the team’s minutes or else he too would have had a great 1st team candidacy.

Mo Bamba, freshman forward, Texas

Bamba sat the team’s final two games, but finished 2nd in the Big 12 in block percentage, 4th in 2-point shooting, and led the league in defensive rebounding.

Sagaba Konate, sophomore forward, West Virginia

Konate led the league in block percentage and probably had the most impact on opponent gameplanning (on offense anyway) of any player in the league. He also was a good offensive player, shooting 52 percent inside the arc and 88 percent from the free throw line. He also ranked 9th in the league in offensive rebounding and 2nd in defensive rebounding.

Barry Brown, junior guard, Kansas State

Brown was 2nd in the league in minutes played only to Graham, 4th in usage, 8th in assist rate, and 3rd in steal rate. He also shot 54 percent on twos and 38 percent from three, one of just two players to hit those admittedly very arbitrary endpoints while also having a usage rate over 20.

3rd team all Big 12

Desmond Bane, sophomore wing, TCU

Bane has a tiny usage rate (just 17.9 percent) which keeps him off the 2nd team, but he led the league in eFG and TS% among players who played at least 70 percent of his team’s minutes.

Kenrich Williams, senior forward, TCU

Williams piled up the double doubles this year, 7 in Big 12 play, and he was also one of the best non point guard passers in the Big 12.

Zhaire Smith, freshman wing, Texas Tech

Smith was 6th in eFG and 7th in TS%, and while he wasn’t excellent anywhere else he was a solid contributor pretty much across the board. He was one of 8 Big 12 players with a block% over 3 and steal% over 2, and one of just two to do it while playing in more than 60 percent of a team’s minutes.

Svi Mykhailiuk, senior forward, Kansas

Svi struggled a bit from two, but his passing took a big step forward, as did his on ball defense. He also ranked 6th in the league in 3-point shooting.

Nick Babb, junior guard, Iowa State

Babb was 2nd in the league in assist rate and 10th in defensive rebounding. He’s the only player to even have an assist rate over 20 percent with a 15 percent defensive rebound rate, and he did so with an assist rate over 30.

Coach of the Year - Bill Self, Kansas

A good argument could be made for both Self and Texas Tech’s Chris Beard but I am going with Self, who had to deal with the Billy Preston situation all season, as well as the least deep and probably least talented team Kansas has had since he got to campus, and still walked away with a Big 12 title. I think he’s going to start me at shooting guard next season just to see if he can do it.

Freshman of the Year - Trae Young, Oklahoma


Newcomer of the Year - Malik Newman, sophomore guard, Kansas

The Newcomer excludes freshmen, so it was pretty much down to Newman and Texas forward Dylan Osetkowski, so Newman, who shot 49 percent from two, 37 percent from three, and was KU’s 2nd best perimeter defender (and best when Devonte Graham needed to take breaks) gets the nod.

Defensive player of the year - Sagaba Konate, sophomore forward, West Virginia

Jevon Carter won the actual award, and is deserving, but no Big 12 defender had an impact on games like Konate. He led the league in block percentage at 15 percent and was the 2nd best defensive rebounder in the conference. He also is the biggest factor as to why West Virginia finished 12th nationally in FG% allowed at the rim

Rest of all defensive team

Jevon Carter, senior guard, West Virginia

Kerwin Roach, junior guard, Texas

Mo Bamba, freshman forward, Texas

Keenan Evans, senior guard, Texas Tech