Baylor guard Jared Butler was named the Big 12 Men’s Basketball Preseason Player of the Year by the league’s coaches on Wednesday.
The Big 12 also released its selections for preseason newcomer of the year and preseason freshman of the year, along with its preseason All-Big 12 Team.
Butler enters the season as the league’s biggest star, coming off unanimous First Team All-Big 12 selection and consensus All-America selection after he averaged 16 points per game last year. He’s the third Bear to earn this preseason honor after Pierre Jackson (2012-13) and Perry Jones III (2011-12).
Texas Tech graduate transfer Marcus Santos-Silva was picked as the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year. It’s the second straight year a Texas Tech transfer has won the honor (after Chris Clarke last season). Santos-Silva led Virginia Commonwealth in scoring (12.8), rebounding (8.9) and blocks (1.2) last season, making him a likely impact player for Texas Tech inside.
Oklahoma State’s Cade Cunningham was picked as the Big 12 Freshman of the Year. The No. 1 player in the nation in the 2020 recruiting class according to 247Sports.com, Cunningham is expected to start immediately after averaging 13.9 points, 6.4 assists and 4.2 rebounds in his senior year at Montverde Academy.
Butler and Cunningham were also selected to the Preseason All-Big 12 team, along with Kansas guard Marcus Garrett, Oklahoma guard Austin Reaves, Texas guard Matt Coleman III and West Virginia forward Oscar Tshiebwe. Butler and Garrett were unanimous selections. Coaches are not allowed to vote on their own players.
Baylor’s MaCio Teague and Mark Vital were named honorable mention. But Texas outpaced all schools with three honorable mention picks — guard Greg Brown (himself the nation’s No. 9 recruit in the 2020 Class), guard Courtney Ramey and forward Jericho Sims.
Texas Tech had two honorable mention selections in guard Kyler Edwards and guard Mac McClung, the latter a Georgetown transfer. West Virginia forward Derek Culver rounds out the honorable mention selections.
The Big 12 Preseason Poll will be announced Oct. 29.
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