Two players who should be considered strongly for national honors, Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield and Kentucky guard Tyler Ulis, are The Star’s men’s basketball players of the year for the Big 12 and Southeastern Conference.
Hield, a senior, entered Saturday second nationally in scoring at 25.4 points and shoots with remarkable accuracy — 49.6 percent from the floor, 48.1 percent on three-pointers and 89.4 percent from the line.
He is bidding to become the first Big 12 player to win consecutive Big 12 Player of the Year honors, selected by the conference, since Kansas’ Raef LaFrentz won the first two in 1997 and 1998.
Ulis, a sophomore, is Kentucky’s engine. He averages 16.6 points and 7.4 assists while shooting 85 percent from the line. He dished out 14 assists in the Wildcats’ victory over LSU on Saturday that gave Kentucky a share of the SEC regular-season championship.
The Wildcats shared the title with Texas A&M. The Aggies took a share of a league championship for the first time since 1986, when they were in the Southwest Conference. A&M’s Billy Kennedy is The Star’s SEC coach of the year.
Texas Tech’s Tubby Smith, who had guided the Red Raiders their first .500 or better finish in league play since 2007, is The Star’s Big 12 coach of the year.
Here are The Star’s annual all-league teams (listed in alphabetical order by position), as selected by Blair Kerkhoff and Tod Palmer:
The Star’s All-Big 12 team
Perry Ellis, F, Kansas, Sr.
Georges Niang, F, Iowa State, Sr.
Taurean Prince, F, Baylor, Sr.
Buddy Hield, G, Oklahoma, Sr.
Jaysean Paige, G, West Virginia, Sr.
Player of the year: Hield
Coach of the year: Tubby Smith, Texas Tech
Newcomer of the year: Deonte Burton, G, Iowa State, Jr.
The Star’s All-SEC team
Michael Carrera, F, South Carolina, Sr.
Jalen Jones, F, Texas A&M, Jr.
Ben Simmons, F, LSU, Fr.
Jamal Murray, G, Kentucky, Fr.
Tyler Ulis, G, Kentucky, So.
Player of the year: Ulis
Coach of the year: Billy Kennedy, Texas A&M
Newcomer of the year: Simmons