Big 12 Champs Well Represented on All-Conference Teams
IRVING, Texas – Highlighted by senior Perry Ellis, Kansas men’s basketball’s starting five were included in the Phillips 66 All-Big 12 Awards Sunday as the conference released its coaches’ All-Big 12 honors for the 2015-16 season.
Ellis was a unanimous All-Big 12 First Team selection, marking the conference-leading 27th time a Jayhawk has been named to the league’s first team. KU junior guards Frank Mason III and Wayne Selden Jr. earned second-team recognition, while sophomore guard Devonte’ Graham and junior forward Landen Lucas were honorable mention honorees. Graham and Mason were also named to the 2016 Big 12 All-Defensive Team by the conference coaches who were not allowed to vote for student-athletes from their own team.
“I feel great (about the all-league honors),” KU head coach Bill Self said. “Perry was well deserving of first team. It was great that the coaches saw Frank and Wayne as second team because there are so many good players in our league and to have both those guys on second team speaks volumes to how well our team has done and how well they performed. To have Devonte’ and Landen receive honorable mention is terrific too.”
Ellis and Selden are on the All-Big 12 squad for the third-straight season. Ellis was a third-team honoree as a sophomore in 2013-14 and has been a first-team selection each of the last two seasons. Selden was honorable mention his freshman and sophomore campaigns and garnered second-team honors this season. Mason is on the second team for the second-straight season, while Graham and Lucas are making their first appearance on the All-Big 12 squad. Mason and Graham are on the Big 12 All-Defensive Team for the first time.
“To see Frank and Devonte’ on the all-defensive team gives me a lot of pride because I think both those guys have improved so much in that area,” Self said.
In the 20-year history of the conference, Kansas lays claim to a league-best 106 All-Big 12 selections which includes first-, second-, third-, honorable mention, all-defensive and all-newcomer team honorees. Texas is second with 80. Ellis gives Kansas a first-team selection for the 16th-consecutive season and the 18th time in the 20-year history of the league. Ellis is the 18th KU All-Big 12 First Team choice in the 13 seasons under head coach Bill Self. The Big 12 All-Defensive Team began in 2005-06 and Kansas’ 15 honorees are a conference best. This year is the fifth time KU has had multiple players named to the all-defense squad.
“Postseason awards are certainly a reflection on not only how they performed individually but in large part in how the team has performed,” Self said. “With the success that this particular team has had, I think is very deserving that you have multiple guys on the All-Big 12 team.”
A Wichita native, Ellis is coming off back-to-back 20-point performances with 20 points at Texas (2/29) and 22 points against Iowa State (3/5) on his senior night. The two efforts garnered Ellis with the final 2015-16 Big 12 Player of the Week honor as he has 11 20-point efforts this season. Ellis leads Kansas in scoring (16.5 ppg) and is second in rebounding (6.0 rpg). Ellis has nine games of scoring 19 or more points in Big 12 play this season, including seven 20-point efforts and overall he ranks third in the league in scoring and ninth in rebounding. He also ranks among the Big 12 leaders in field goal percentage (fifth at 52.1) and free throw percentage (12th at 76.3). Ellis averaged 17.7 points and 5.8 rebounds during Big 12 play in 2015-16.
Mason leads Kansas with 142 assists and his 4.6 dimes per game are fourth in the Big 12. The Petersburg, Virginia native’s 13.4 scoring average is eighth in the league and he is fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.4 and 13th in free throw percentage (73.2). More recently, Mason is shooting 61.9 percent from the field in his last five games and has 11 assists with one turnover in his last two outings.
Selden’s 13.4 scoring average is ninth in the Big 12. The Roxbury, Massachusetts native makes 2.1 3-pointers per game, which is third in the league and his 41.8 3-point field goal percentage is sixth in the conference. Selden has made multiple 3-pointers in 16 games this season.
Graham is second on the team in assists (110), steals (40) and 3-point field goals made (59). The Raleigh, North Carolina native is scoring 11.2 points per game. Graham’s 2.4 assist-to-turnover ratio fifth in the conference and he has led KU in assists 14 times in 2015-16.
Lucas rounds leads Kansas in rebounding at 6.3 boards per game, which is seventh in the Big 12. Those numbers increased in Big 12 play for the Portland, Oregon native where he averaged 7.2 boards per game. Lucas has pulled down eight or more rebounds in seven of his last games and 12 times this season.
No. 1/1 Kansas (27-4, 15-3) won its unprecedented 12th-straight Big 12 regular-season championship in 2015-16. It was KU’s 16th Big 12 and NCAA-leading 59th overall conference regular-season title. Kansas will next play in the quarterfinals of the 2016 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship, March 9-12, at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. As the No. 1 seed, Kansas will play its first game on Thursday, March 10 at 1:30 p.m. (Central), on ESPN2. KU will face the winner of the No. 8 Kansas State vs. No. 9 Oklahoma State contest to be played March 9. Kansas has won 13 conference postseason tournament titles, including nine in the Big 12 era.
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