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March 10, 2013

Smart wins the Big 12 Player of the Year Award to cap off incredible freshman year

A lot has been made of OSU freshman phenom Marcus Smart's knack for winning, and he did it again on Sunday even when his team didn't have a game.

Smart has dominated just about every team he's faced this season, and with the regular season coming to a close yesterday, players like him were given recognition with the Big 12 Conference's regular season awards.

So how did Smart fare? He won both the Big 12 Player of the Year and Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, and finished the regular season with a stunning stat line of game averages at 15.1 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and a field goal percentage of 41.0%.

He also grabbed 89 steals in the regular season, tying him with former KU guard Mario Chalmers for the most ever by a freshman in the Big 12, and he'll likely break Chalmers' record on Thursday when they begin the Big 12 Tournament.

Smart is the third Cowboy to win the award, with Tony Allen winning in 2003-04, and James Anderson winning it in 2009-10.

The point guard also garnered First Team All Big 12 Honors, and was a unanimous selection to the Big 12 All-Defensive Team and Rookie Team.

Three other Cowboys were also honored with postseason awards.

Markel Brown was named to the All-Big 12 Second Team after a great season in which he led the team with 15.6 points per game and stepped up as a major leader for the Cowboys. He shot 44.0%, 38% from three-point range, and broke the twenty-point mark in four games this season.

Brown finished 4th in the league in points per game and was 12th in the league in field goal percentage. He also averaged a team-high 34.47 minutes per game, which was good for the second-highest average in the league.

Le'Bryan Nash received All-Big 12 Third Team honors after a hot-and-cold season that he finished with 14.2 points per game with 4.2 rebounds per game. He also shot a solid 47.0% from the floor. Nash was 9th in the league in field goal percentage, and 8th in the league in points per game.

Michael Cobbins was given All-Big 12 Honorable Mention, and was also named to the All-Defensive Team with Smart. Cobbins emerged as a major presence in the paint, and finished fifth in the league in blocked shots per game with 1.52. He was also a steady contributor in other categories, finishing 10th in the league in rebounding (6.2 per game), and also helped with 7 points per game.

The Pokes start the Big 12 Tournament on Thursday against Baylor at 8:30 p.m.


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