🏀 Jayhawk Starters Headline 2023 All-Big 12 Honors for Kansas

IRVING, Texas – Highlighted by Big 12 Player of the Year Jalen Wilson, Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year Dajuan Harris Jr., and the Big 12 Most Improved Player KJ Adams Jr., Kansas was well represented on the men’s basketball 2022-23 All-Big 12 Team selected by the conference coaches, the league announced Sunday. With the aforementioned and Gradey Dick and Kevin McCullar Jr., all five KU starters were represented on the 2023 All-Big 12 teams.

Wilson was the unanimous selection for Big 12 Player of the Year and for All-Big 12 First Team by the league coaches. Dick is an all-conference second team honoree and a member of the Big 12 All-Newcomer and Big 12 All-Freshman teams. He is an unanimous All-Freshman team choice. McCullar is an all-league third team selection and was also chosen to the Big 12 All-Defensive team along with Harris. Adams and Harris were both also named All-Big 12 Honorable Mention choices in addition to their other conference postseason honors. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own student-athletes.

“We are all ecstatic to see our guys get recognized for postseason awards,” KU head coach Bill Self said. “The league is so good and to have Jalen be the player of the year is a tremendous honor for Jalen and it also coincides with the team performing so well. Dajuan being the defensive player of the year is something I know he will cherish forever. And KJ, who would have ever thought a guy that averaged one point a game last year would become the most improved player in the league this year? Gradey is one of the top freshmen in the country and certainly one of the best newcomers in the league. And for Kevin to be a part of the all-defense team and to make third team, we’re excited for all of them.”

Wilson was joined on the All-Big 12 First Team by Adam Flagler (Baylor), Keyontae Johnson (Kansas State), Markquis Nowell (Kansas State) and Marcus Carr (Texas). Johnson was the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, while Baylor’s Keyonte George the Big 12 Freshman of the Year and Texas’ Sir’Jabari Rice the recipient of the Big 12 Sixth Man Award. Kansas State’s Jerome Tang was named the Big 12 Coach of the Year.

Wilson is appearing on the team for the third-straight year having earned third team honors last year and he was a member of the 2021 Big 12 All-Newcomer and Big 12 All-Freshman teams. Harris is on the coaches’ all-league team for the second-straight season as he was a 2022 honorable mention and Big 12 All-Defensive Team choice. Adams earns his second-straight presence on the all-league squad as he was a member of the 2022 Big 12 All-Freshman Team. McCullar is making his third-straight appearance on the team. At Texas Tech, McCullar earned All-Big 12 Honorable Mention honors in both 2021 and 2022.

Represented on most national player of the year watch lists, Wilson leads the Big 12 in scoring at 19.7 points per game, which is 29th nationally, and includes two 30-point performances and 17 games of 20 or more points scored. The Denton, Texas, forward also leads the Big 12 in rebounds per game at 8.4 rpg and in double-doubles with 10. He is vying to become the seventh player, fourth Jayhawk, in Big 12 history to lead the league in both scoring and rebounding.

Known for his instinct on defense, Harris also directs the KU offense from his point guard position. The junior guard from Columbia, Missouri, leads the conference in assist/turnover ratio (3.40), which is third nationally, is second in assists (6.3, eighth nationally) and fourth in steals (2.0, 32nd nationally). Harris averages 8.6 points and 2.5 rebounds for the 2023 Big 12 Champion regular-season Jayhawks.

Adams has started every game in 2022-23 after earning one start as a freshman last year during KU’s national championship run. The Austin, Texas, forward improved his averages to 10.5 points and 4.5 rebounds in 27.2 minutes from registering 1.0 points and 0.8 boards in 4.8 minutes as a rookie in 2021-22. Adams has scored in double figures in 17 games this season.

Recently named a Naismith Defensive Player of the Year semifinalist, McCullar Jr. is averaging 11.1 ppg and his 7.3 rebounds rank third in the Big 12. The San Antonio, Texas, native is second in the conference and 25th nationally with 2.1 steals per game, and his seven double-doubles are tied for second in the league behind Wilson’s 10.

Dick leads KU with 73 threes made and has a 40.6 three-point shooting percentage. A three-time Big 12 Newcomer of the Week, Dick is averaging 14.3 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. The Wichita, Kansas, native ranks on the KU freshman lists in points (442, tied for 7th), scoring average (14.3, 5th), steals (45, 8th), free throw percentage (85.2%, 2nd), 3-point field goals (73, tied for 3rd), 3-point field goals attempted (180, 3rd) and minutes played (1,006, 9th).

Historically, Wilson marks the 18th time a Jayhawk has been named conference player of the year, including the 11th in the Big 12 era, since 1996-97. He joins Dave Robisch (1970, ‘71), Bud Stallworth (1972), Danny Manning (1986, ’87, ’88) and Jacque Vaughn (1996) from the Big Eight era and Raef LaFrentz (1997), Drew Gooden (2002), Nick Collison (2003), Wayne Simien (2005), Marcus Morris (2011), Thomas Robinson (2012), Frank Mason III (2017), Devonte’ Graham (2018), Udoka Azubuike (2020) and Ochai Agbaji (2022) in the Big 12 period. Five of the past seven conference players of the year have been Jayhawks.

Harris marks the eighth time a Jayhawk has named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year joining Mario Chalmers (2007), Cole Aldrdich (2009, 2010), Jeff Withey (2012, 2013), Joel Embiid (2014) and Marcus Garrett (2020).

The Big 12 Most Improved Player Award began in 2019-20 and Kansas has half of the four recipients with 2021 winner David McCormack and Adams in 2023.

In the 27-year history of the Big 12, Kansas has 35 All-Big 12 First Team selections which is more than twice as many as any other school. KU has had a first-team honoree in 24 of the 27 seasons of the league. Kansas leads the Big 12 with an all-time high 146 student-athletes named to All-Big 12 Teams. Texas is second with 116, while Baylor is third with 106 selections.

Ranked No. 3 nationally, Kansas (25-6, 13-5) enters the 2023 Big 12 Championship as the No. 1 seed for the 18th time in the 27-year history of the league. The Jayhawks will face the winner of the No. 8 West Virginia vs. No. 9 Texas Tech game in the quarterfinals on Thursday, March 9, at 2 p.m. (Central) at T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, Missouri. The WVU-TTU contest will be played March 8 at 6 p.m., also at T-Mobile Center. The Kansas quarterfinal will be televised on ESPN. KU has won 16 league postseason tournament titles, including 12 in the Big 12 era, with the last in 2022. Nine of KU’s 12 league tourney titles in the Big 12 have been under head coach Bill Self.

2022-23 All-Big 12 Team
(As selected conference coaches; **unanimous selection) 

Newcomer of the Year – Keyontae Johnson, Kansas State (Sr., G)**
Freshman of the Year – Keyonte George, Baylor (G)
Sixth Man Award – Sir’Jabari Rice, Texas (Gr., G)
Coach of the Year – Jerome Tang, Kansas State

All-Big 12 First Team
Adam Flagler, Baylor (Sr., G)**
Keyontae Johnson, Kansas State (Sr., F)
Markquis Nowell, Kansas State (Jr., G)
Marcus Carr, Texas (Gr., G)

All-Big 12 Second Team
Keyonte George, Baylor (Fr., G)
Gabe Kalscheur, Iowa State (Sr., G)
Damion Baugh, TCU (Sr., G)
Mike Miles Jr., TCU (Jr., G)

All-Big 12 Third Team
LJ Cryer, Baylor (Jr., G)
Kalib Boone, Oklahoma State (Sr., F)
Sir’Jabari Rice, Texas (Gr., G)
Erik Stevenson, West Virginia (Sr., G)

All-Big 12 Honorable Mention (Listed alphabetically by school)
Jaren Holmes, (Iowa State), Osun Osunniyi (Iowa State), KJ ADAMS JR. (KANSAS), DAJUAN HARRIS JR. (KANSAS), Jalen Hill (Oklahoma), Grant Sherfi eld (Oklahoma), Emanuel Miller (TCU), Timmy Allen (Texas), De’Vion Harmon (Texas Tech), Kevin Obanor (Texas Tech)

Big 12 All-Defensive Team
Gabe Kalscheur, Iowa State (Sr., G)
Markquis Nowell, Kansas State (Jr., G)
Moussa Cisse, Oklahoma State (Jr., F)

Big 12 All-Newcomer Team
Keyonte George, Baylor (Fr., G)
Jaren Holmes, Iowa State (Sr., G)
Keyontae Johnson, Kansas State (Sr., F)**
Sir’Jabari Rice, Texas (Gr., G)

Big 12 All-Freshman Team
Keyonte George, Baylor (G)**
Tamin Lipsey, Iowa State (G)**
Milos Uzan, Oklahoma (G)
Pop Isaacs, Texas Tech (G)