Media Picks Cyclones 10th in Big 12

DALLAS-Following media day last week, Big 12 reporters have chosen two-time defending league champion Kansas to win the 2003-04 championship in the preseason media poll released Tuesday.

This marks the first time in the seven-year history of both the coaches' and media polls that the projected winner has been different. Big 12 coaches selected Missouri as its preseason favorite.

The media also chose a preseason All-Big 12 team in addition to a preseason player, newcomer and freshman of the year. Like the poll there were come differences between the coaches and the media in selecting these preseason accolades.

The media Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year is Missouri center Arthur Johnson. A 6-9 Detroit, Mich., center, Johnson was a second team All-Big 12 selection last year and a member of the conference's all-improved team. He is the only player in the Big 12 to have ranked in the Top 10 in scoring (ninth at 16.1 ppg) and rebounding (fourth at 9.6 rpg) from 2002-03. Coaches selected Texas Tech senior Andre Emmett who finished second in the media voting. Other players who received the media votes for preseason player of the year included Rickey Paulding of Missouri and the Kansas duo of Wayne Simien and Keith Langford.

Johnson, Emmett, Paulding, Simien and Langford were the media's choice for preseason All-Big 12. On the preseason coaches' poll Texas senior James Thomas was a preseason first-team selection and Langford was not. Thomas just missed the media squad. Emmett is the lone first team All-Big 12 selection returning from 2002-03. The senior led the league in scoring last year at 21.8 points per game and has led the conference in scoring in league games only for the past two seasons. Paulding was second team All-Big 12 honoree last year while Langford was an honorable mention. At 17.4 ppg Paulding is the league's second leading returning scorer behind Emmett. Langford was 10th in the conference in scoring at 15.9 ppg and was a member of the NCAA Final Four All-Tournament team. Simien was limited to 16 games with a shoulder injury. Simien averaged 14.8 points and 8.2 rebounds for KU before seeing his season cut short.

All in all there were 14 different players representing nine conference schools who received all-league votes among the media. Joining the aforementioned are Tony Allen of Oklahoma State, Kevin Bookout of Oklahoma, David Harrison of Colorado, Aaron Miles of Kansas, Michel Morandais of Colorado, Brandon Mouton of Texas, Jake Sullivan of Iowa State, and Antoine Wright of Texas A&M.

Preseason Big 12 Newcomer of the Year honors go to Missouri guard Jason Conley. The 6-5 junior from Silver Springs, Md., is a transfer from Virginia Military Institute (VMI) who will be eligible to play following the fall semester. Conley averaged a team best 22.2 points and 7.3 rebounds in 10 games for VMI last season before transferring to Missouri in January. Other conference players who received votes for newcomer of the year included Iowa State center Damion Staple, Kansas State forward Jeremiah Massey, Missouri guard Randy Pulley, and the Oklahoma State duo of forward Tremaine Fuqua and guard Stevie Graham.

Oklahoma guard Drew Lavender is the media Preseason Big 12 Freshman of the Year. A McDonald's High School All-American last year, Lavender averaged 18.4 points, 10.7 assists, and four steals at Brookhaven High School in Columbus, Ohio. Lavender edged Kansas center David Padgett in the media vote. Lavender and Padgett were co-Preseason Big 12 Freshman of the Year by the coaches. Other freshman of the year vote getters included Padgett's teammate and guard J.R. Giddens, the Kansas State duo of forward Cartier Martin and guard Dez Willingham, and Missouri forward/center Linas Kleiza.

The media and coaches were different on the their top three selections. The media went with Kansas, Missouri, and Texas while the coaches selected Missouri, Texas, and Kansas. Both agreed on spots 4-12 going in order of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Colorado, Texas Tech, Kansas State, Texas A&M, Iowa State, Nebraska, and Baylor.

This is the eighth year of the media preseason poll. The media selected eventual Big 12 champion Kansas in each of the first two preseason polls (1996-97 and 1997-98) and after a three-year losing string has successfully chose Kansas in the last two polls. A complete history of the coaches and media polls is elsewhere in this release.

2003-04 Big 12 Men's Basketball Preseason Media Poll

Team (first place votes) Pts
1. Kansas (18) 334
2. Missouri (8) 305
3. Texas (2) 303
4. Oklahoma (1) 258
5. Oklahoma State 229
6. Colorado 198
7. Texas Tech 187
8. Kansas State 129
9. Texas A&M 117
10. Iowa State 95
11. Nebraska 77
12. Baylor 30

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