Kansas' Julian Wright Tabbed 2006 Big 12 Preseason Freshman of the Year by League Coaches

Oct. 17, 2005


Kansas freshman Julian Wright was named the 2006 Big 12 Preseason Freshman of the Year as the coaches chose their preseason all-league teams Monday.

<?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>

Previous KU Big 12 Preseason Freshman of the Year honorees includes Nick Collison in 2000 and David Padgett, whowas co- with Drew Lavender of Oklahoma in 2004.

Kansas’ Jeff Boschee was the 1999 Big 12 Freshman of the Year at season’s end.

In addition to Wright, senior forward Taj Gray (Oklahoma) has been named the Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year, it was announced. Guard Michael Neal (Oklahoma) and forward Mario Boggan (Oklahoma State) shared Preseason Newcomer of the Year accolades. The league head coaches, who were not permitted to vote for their own players, selected players honored in preseason voting.

Wright is one of several top freshmen for Kansas this season. He was named to the McDonald’s All-America team his senior year of high school and was also a first-team all-state choice. He averaged 14.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists in 2004-05. Wright led his prep squad to two regional and sectional championships.

Gray was an All-Big 12 First Team choice last season and the league’s Newcomer of the Year. He was the first OU player in Big 12 history to lead the conference in field goal shooting, hitting at a .557 clip. The senior led the Sooners in scoring (14.6), rebounding (8.2) and blocks (59) while finishing third on the team in steals (40). He was a member of the United States squad that competed in the FIBA U21 World Championships this past summer and has also been named to the 2005-06 Preseason Wooden Award watch list.

Neal was a NJCAA All-America First Team choice a year ago. He averaged 16.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.7 steals, leading his team to a 25-5 record. Boggan posted 20.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game, shooting 57.9 percent. He earned All-America Honorable Mention recognition from the NJCAA and led his team to a 33-4 record.

The preseason All-Big 12 team was also announced. In addition to Gray, the following players were recognized – Curtis Stinson (Iowa State), JamesOn Curry (Oklahoma State), Daniel Gibson and P.J. Tucker (Texas). Stinson (second team) and Gibson (third) earned All-Big 12 postseason honors last season.

Preseason Player of the Year

Taj Gray, Oklahoma, F, Sr., 6-9, 238, Wichita, Kan./Redlands Community College (Okla.)

Preseason Newcomers of the Year

Michael Neal, Oklahoma, G, Jr., 6-3, 191, Mesquite, Texas/Lon Morris Junior College

Mario Boggan, Oklahoma State, F, Jr., 6-7, 235, Durham, N.C./Hargrave Military Academy/Chipola College

Preseason Freshman of the Year

Julian Wright, Kansas, F, Fr., 6-8, 218, Chicago Heights, Ill./Homewood-Flossmoor

2005-06 Preseason All-Big 12 Team

Name, School, Pos., Class

Curtis Stinson, Iowa State, G, Jr.

Taj Gray, Oklahoma, F, Sr.

JamesOn Curry, Oklahoma State, G, So.

Daniel Gibson, Texas, G, So.

P.J. Tucker, Texas, F, Jr.

Honorable Mention (listed alphabetically by school):

Aaron Bruce, Baylor; Kevin Bookout, Oklahoma; Terrell Everett, Oklahoma; LaMarcus Aldridge, Texas; Brad Buckman, Texas; Joseph Jones, Texas A&M; Jarrius Jackson, Texas Tech; Martin Zeno, Texas Tech