The 2014-15 Phillips 66 All-Big 12 Men's Basketball Awards were announced this afternoon, and Iowa State forward Jameel McKay earned Defensive Player of the Year honors.
Official awards are selected by the league's head coaches, who are not allowed to vote for their own players.
McKay, who sat out the first 10 games this season was just about everything we hoped he would be, certainly as a rim protector, but more surprisingly as an efficient scorer with a knack for getting to the line. He recorded 50 blocks in 21 contests, making at least one field goal in every game but one.
McKay averaged 26 minutes per game, a number that spiked after shifting into a starting role in place of Bryce Dejean-Jones on Feb. 7 against Texas Tech — a role he never relinquished. He also averaged 11.2 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, while shooting 59.1% from the floor.
An impressive stat in its own right, McKay never fouled out of a game. In a rough-and-tumble Big 12, with as many possessions as Iowa State tends to play, this is a positive sign.
You'll be hard-pressed to find a more critical piece to the Cyclones' puzzle this season, and down the stretch, I'm not sure anyone in the Big 12 played better basketball.
Congratulations from the Wide Right & Natty Lite crew on a much-deserved accolade.