Jayhawks sweep Big 12 awards, move up in rankings

Big 12 Honors

For the first time this season, the Kansas Jayhawks swept the Big 12 player of the week awards. Naadir Tharpe won Big 12 Player of the Week and Joel Embiid was Big 12 Newcomer of the Week.

Tharpe becomes the sixth Jayhawk to earn a Big 12 honor this season (Andrew Wiggins, Naadir Tharpe, Perry Ellis, Joel Embiid, Wayne Selden and Tarik Black). Joel Embiid becomes the first Jayhawk to earn two Big 12 honors (He won the honor back on December 2nd). This is the second straight week a KU player has won the newcomer of the week (Wayne Selden last week) and the third time in the last five weeks (Tarik Black).

PHILLIPS 66 BIG 12 PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Naadir Tharpe, Kansas, G, Jr., 5-11, 170, Worcester, Mass./Brewster Academy [N.H.]
Tharpe was the catalyst as Kansas recorded victories at No. 8 Iowa State (77-70) and versus No. 9 Oklahoma State (80-78). The 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 3-point range during the week and connected on 9-of-10 (.900) from the free throw line.

PHILLIPS 66 BIG 12 NEWCOMER OF THE WEEK
Joel Embiid, Kansas, C, Fr., 7-0, 250, Yaounde, Cameroon/The Rock School [Fla.]
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 in the two contests. He had 16 points, nine rebounds and five rejections in the game at Hilton Coliseum before adding 13 points, 11 rebounds and eight blocks versus OSU. 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 set the 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.

In addition, Chelsea Gardner won Big 12 women’s player of the week:

Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week
Chelsea Gardner, Kansas, F, Jr, DeSoto, Texas
Chelsea Gardner recorded her fifth double-double of the season and 11th of her career after scoring 28 points and grabbing 13 rebounds in Kansas’ 76-60 win over No. 7 Baylor. Gardner’s 28 points were two shy of her career-high and her 13 rebounds were one away from her season-high. The junior forward recorded her team-high 28 points on a career-best 12 field goals made and 21 field goal attempts, besting her previous highs of 11 and 15 against Grambling State (11/28/13) and Central Michigan, respectively. Defensively, she blocked three shots to give her 95 for her career and move her into ninth all-time on the Kansas blocks list. Gardner also led KU with 11 points at Texas earlier in the week. She averaged a team-best 19.5 points last week and has scored in double figures in 15-of-18 games in 2013-14.

Movin’ on up in the rankings… again

After defeating two top ten teams last week and remaining undefeated in the Big 12, the Jayhawks moved up to No. 8 in the AP poll. Kansas is the highest ranked Big 12 this week and the Big 12 makes up six of the Top 25. This is the third week ever that the Big 12 has had six teams ranked in the top 25 and the first time since the league went to 10 teams.

The poll is below. Notice that this season, Kansas has played the following ranked teams: 4, 6, 7, 11, 16, 18, 22 and 25. And Kansas plays the No. 24 team tonight (Baylor), who was recently ranked in the top ten before dropping three of their last four games.

Week 12 AP Top 25 Poll
Rank Team (First-Place Votes) Record Votes Previous
1 Arizona (61) 18-0 1621 1
2 Syracuse (4) 18-0 1559 2
3 Michigan State 17-1 1497 4
4 Villanova 16-1 1377 6
5 Wichita State 19-0 1368 5
6 Florida 15-2 1303 7
7 San Diego State 16-1 1211 10
8 Kansas 13-4 1117 15
9 Wisconsin 16-2 1074 3
10 Iowa 15-3 1041 14
11 Oklahoma State 15-3 971 9
12 Louisville 16-3 804 18
13 Massachusetts 16-1 781 16
14 Kentucky 13-4 769 13
15 Cincinnati 17-2 736 19
16 Iowa State 14-3 644 8
17 Ohio State 15-3 549 11
18 Duke 14-4 447 23
19 Saint Louis 17-2 421 24
20 Pittsburgh 16-2 419 22
21 Michigan 13-4 362 NR
22 Kansas State 14-4 221 NR
23 Memphis 13-4 201 17
24 Baylor 13-4 170 12
25 Oklahoma 14-4 111 25