Kansas' Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich Named Big 12 Preseason Co-Players of the Year

Oct. 8, 2009

IRVING, Texas — Kansas teammates Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich have been named as the Big 12 Preseason Co-Players of the Year by the conference head coaches, it was announced Thursday.

Senior forward Marquis Gilstrap (Iowa State) is the Preseason Newcomer of the Year, while guard Avery Bradley (Texas) earned Big 12 Preseason Freshman of the Year recognition. Players honored in preseason voting were selected by the league head coaches, who are not permitted to vote for their own student-athletes.

“Both Sherron and Cole had great years last season and hopefully that will carry over into this season,” Kansas head coach Bill Self said. “They, and our entire team, have prepared very hard for this upcoming year. I am happy for both of them, but they will tell you that preseason honors do not make for a good season. My hope is for them to play at a high level in a league that will be very, very strong.”

A guard from Chicago, Collins was a consensus choice for All-America Second Team a year ago after leading the Jayhawks with 18.9 points per game. He led KU in scoring 27 times and also totaled 77 points in three NCAA outings. Collins scored 20-plus points in eight of his last 10 games last season.

“There are a lot of great players in this league and to be selected for this is a nice honor,” Collins said. “Our whole team has been working hard to get ready for the season and we can’t wait until next Friday (Late Night in the Phog) to get into Allen (Fieldhouse).”

Aldrich joined Collins as a member of the All-Big 12 First Team in 2008-09. A center from Bloomington, Minn., who will be nominated for Academic All-America this season, Aldrich was first in the Big 12 and 12th nationally in 2008-09 with 2.7 blocks per game and averaged a double-double with 14.9 points and 11.1 rebounds. He amassed 21 double-doubles on the season, including a triple-double with 13 points, 20 rebounds and 10 blocked shots against Dayton in the NCAA Tournament.

“This is a great honor for me and Sherron and even more special because it comes from the Big 12 coaches,” Aldrich said. “All of the preseason honors and rankings are a reflection of our team and its potential. Now we need to live up to that potential. With Boot Camp ending, we have really come together as a team and are looking forward to Late Night next Friday (Oct. 16).”

The selection of Collins and Aldrich marks the second time in Big 12 history (Brandon Rush & Julian Wright, KU, 2006-07) that the preseason player of the year accolade has been shared by two players. This year’s KU duo are the fifth and sixth Jayhawks to be tabbed with preseason player honors, joining Wayne Simien in 2004-05 and Raef LaFrentz in 1997-98 as well as Rush and Wright in 2006-07.

The Preseason All-Big 12 team was also announced, with three players who have previously earned All-Big 12 First Team honors included. In addition to Collins and Aldrich, Craig Brackins (Iowa State) was also a first team pick last season on the preseason team. All six of the members of this year’s preseason squad were ranked among the Big 12’s top 13 in scoring, including three of the top four in 2008-09.

Gilstrap arrives in Ames after averaging 22.6 points and 10.1 rebounds in his one season at Gulf Coast (Fla.) CC. The senior forward earned honorable mention All-America honors and was Panhandle Conference Player of the Year after finishing 10th in the nation in scoring and 20th in rebounding. He shot 48.3 percent from the field, including 40.9 percent from 3-point range, en route to a 24-9 overall team record.

Texas’ Bradley was rated as the No. 1 prospect in the nation by ESPNU following his senior campaign and was also named to the Parade All-America Team. He led his team to a 33-0 overall record last season, finishing with 19.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.6 steals per game.

Preseason Co-Players of the Year

Cole Aldrich, Kansas, C, 6-11, 245, Jr., Bloomington, Minn./Jefferson

Sherron Collins, Kansas, G, 5-11, 205, Sr., Chicago, Ill./Crane

Preseason Newcomer of the Year

Marquis Gilstrap, Iowa State, F, 6-7, 215, Sr., Covington, Ga./East Side/Gulf Coast CC [Fla.]

Preseason Freshman of the Year

Avery Bradley, Texas, G, 6-2, 180, Fr., Tacoma, Wash./Findlay Prep [Nev.]

2009-10 Preseason All-Big 12 Team (A tie in the voting created six spots on the preseason squad)

Name, School, Position, Height, Weight, Class, Hometown/Previous School(s)

Craig Brackins, Iowa State**, F, 6-10, 230, Jr., Palmdale, Calif./Brewster Academy [N.H.]

Cole Aldrich, Kansas, C, 6-11, 245, Jr., Bloomington, Minn./Jefferson

Sherron Collins, Kansas**, G, 5-11, 205, Sr., Chicago, Ill./Crane

Willie Warren, Oklahoma, G, 6-4, 199, So., Fort Worth, Texas/North Crowley

James Anderson, Oklahoma State, G/F, 6-6, 205, Jr., Junction City, Ark./Junction City

Damion James, Texas, G/F, 6-7, 225, Sr., Nacogdoches, Texas/Nacogdoches

** – Unanimous Selection.

Honorable Mention (listed alphabetically by school): Denis Clemente, Kansas State; Avery Bradley, Texas; Dexter Pittman, Texas