Oklahoma State Cowboys guard Cade Cunningham leads the Heartland College Sports Men’s Basketball Big 12 Top Players of the Week for the games ending Jan. 16
G Cade Cunningham, Oklahoma State
The true freshman is considered by many to be the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. He certainly played like it against Kansas, scoring 18 points on 6-of-12 shooting from the floor. But Cunningham did much more, grabbing seven rebounds, dishing out three assists and blocking two shots. The common thread with Cunningham’s game is that it’s nearly complete, and he doesn’t act like a ‘one-and done’ player, per Cowboys head coach Mike Boynton. The Cowboys only played one game last week due to OSU COVID-19 protocols, but it one of the week’s biggest wins.
G De’Vion Harmon, Oklahoma
The Sooners’ win over TCU was Harmon’s biggest game since the season opener against UT-San Antonio. Like that game against the Roadrunners, he scored 22 points. He also had six rebounds and four assists. Considering the Sooners were without Brady Manek, Harmon’s outburst was a welcome one. Harmon has only scored in double figures in three of his last seven games, and the Sooners would love to see him do that more consistently once Manek returns.
G Mac McClung, Texas Tech
This past week was McClung’s coming-out party as far as the Big 12 is concerned. Against Texas on Wednesday he scored 22 points and had the game-winning basket against No. 2 Texas, handing the Longhorns their first loss in Big 12 action. Then, in the loss to Baylor on Saturday, McClung did everything he could to keep the Red Raiders in it, scoring 24 points. McClung is just one of many players vying for All-Big 12 First Team honors, and he feels like a leading candidate for Big 12 Newcomer of the Year.
G Davion Mitchell, Baylor
With Jared Butler having an off game for the Bears (just 7 points), Mitchell came through with one of his best games of the season against the Texas Tech Red Raiders on Saturday. Mitchell scored 19 points, but he also put up four rebounds, one assist, one block and one steal in the 68-60 win over the Red Raiders. It was Baylor’s toughest win to this point of the season, and Mitchell the much-needed ballast to get through it.
F Jericho Sims, Texas
The Longhorns went 1-1 for the week, but Sims was one of the most consistent players for Texas this week, and more proof of the balance Texas has achieved on offense. In the loss to Texas Tech, he had one of his best all-around games of the season — 16 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 blocks. Then, as Texas beat Kansas State on Saturday without three players — all at the forward position — Sims put up 14 points, 7 rebounds and 1 assist. The Longhorns’ guards, like Andrew Jones, and freshman Greg Brown get the attention. But Sims is becoming the backbone of this team.
THE SIXTH MAN
G Adam Flagler, Baylor
With Bears guard Jared Butler having an off night, Flagler gave the Bears a huge boost off the bench with 15 points, along with three rebounds and one assist. Flagler is starting to look like the player he was before he missed a couple of game in December. He is one of four Bears guards averaging better than 10 points per game. But his 15 points against a tough Red Raiders defense may have been some of his most important to this point in the season.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard. Send him a tweet with your question to be included in this week’s Big 12 Basketball Mailbag, which appears each Friday during the conference season.
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