The best player in the Big 12 … Michael Beasley.
Kansas State has not had a conference Player of the Year since Rolando Blackman in 1980. That could change in 2008.
Almost at the mid-point of the 2007-08 season, Beasley leads the Big 12 with a 24.2 scoring average and is tops in rebounds at 13.5 per game. In 13 games, Beasley has 12 double-doubles.
It leaves Kansas State assistant coach Brad Underwood saying, "Mike is a very instinctive player. He's a guy who has a tremendous feel for the game, and to say that he's efficient is an understatement. There's a cerebral part of him. He's a very smart player."
So good, so smart that some say the 6-foot-10 freshman seems bored with the game.
Underwood understands the comment, but quickly adds, "If you watch Mike run, you see how easy he does it. He's always the first guy down the floor. If you watch a game, other guys are getting tired, but Mike's not. Everything comes so easy for Mike that he does look bored at times, but he's not." vBeasley, however, is human. He's coming off a career-low five-point game at Xavier on Dec. 31. It was a 103-77 loss where the K-State freshman did not score from the field until the final 35 seconds.
"It was like a cup of coffee. It was a wake-up call," Beasley said of the overall team effort. "It shows what happens when you don't bring the intensity."
To a certain degree, Beasley's teammates took a portion of the blame for Beasley's ineffectiveness.
"It's our job to get him the ball in areas where he can score and get going," said senior guard Clent Stewart. "We have to get him the ball in spots where it's easy for him to score so he doesn't have to create as much for himself. He's obviously a good finisher. That's my job as a point guard, to run the plays and get people in right spots, get people the ball where they can score easily."
Just for the record, the only time a Wildcat player averaged more than 24 points per game was Bob Boozer in 1959 (25.6), and, only one other Wildcat has ever averaged more than 13.5 rebounds per game. That was Jack Parr in 1957 (14.5) and 1956 (13.6).
Interesting is the fact that KSU's all-time leading rebounder Ed Nealy never averaged more than nine boards per game for a single season.
He did, however, never average below eight rebound per game. (Freshman, 8.2; sophomore, 8.7; junior, 9.1; senior, 8.7)