"I'm really happy for Sherron and Cole. They both deserve the recognition," Self said. "Without exception, you could say they have been two of the most consistent players in the Big 12. As the two leaders of this team, it is also a reflection of how their teammates have matured throughout the year."
Aldrich leads the Big 12 in blocked shots with 2.5 per game. He and Big 12 Player of the Year Blake Griffin of Oklahoma are the only two league players to average a double-double with Aldrich at 14.8 points and 10.5 rebounds and Griffin at 22.1 points and 14.2 rebounds. Additionally, the Bloomington, Minn., sophomore center is second in the league in field goal percentage at 60.1 percent and eighth in free throw percentage at 79.6 percent. Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year began in 2005-06 and Aldrich joins former KU guard Mario Chalmers who, like Aldrich, was the co-defensive player of the year in 2006-07 along with Marcus Dove of Oklahoma State.
"Cole has had a fabulous season and receiving these two honors has been well earned," Self said.
Collins and Aldrich were each named to the All-Big 12 First Team along with Griffin, Iowa State's Craig Brackins and Missouri's DeMarre Carroll. Collins and Griffin were the only two unanimous selections of the five-man team. A Chicago junior, Collins has posted 11 games of 20 points or more this season, including eight in Big 12 play. He ranks fourth it the Big 12 in scoring with 18.3 points per game, fourth in assists at 5.0 per game and sixth in free throw percentage at 80 percent. This marks the third straight season two Jayhawks have made the first team. Last year, Darrell Arthur and Brandon Rush were All-Big 12 First Team selections. In 2006-07, Rush and Julian Wright were on the coaches' first team.
Taylor is third on the Kansas team in scoring with 10 points per game, which ranks second among the Big 12 freshmen. A starter from Hoboken, N.J., Taylor is tied with Big 12 Freshman of the Year Willie Warren of Oklahoma for the freshmen class lead in assists at 3.06 per game. Each has 91 assists through 31 games played. Taylor's 1.13 steals per game is second among Big 12 freshmen. Morris leads the Big 12 freshman class in rebounds with a 4.9 average. The Philadelphia, Pa., forward has started 18 games for the Jayhawks this season, including 12 in conference play, and is scoring 7.5 points per game. Taylor and Morris give Kansas seven Big 12 All-Rookie selections which is more than any other league school.
With Aldrich named to the Big 12 All-Defensive Team, Kansas has now placed seven all-time on the squad which is more than any other conference team. Texas is next with five. Aldrich joins Chalmers and Russell Robinson who were each named to the team three times.
Self guided Kansas to the 2009 Big 12 regular-season champion losing six of his top seven scorers, including all five starters, from last season's NCAA National Championship team. Eight of Kansas' top 10 scorers are either freshmen or sophomores as Kansas claimed its fifth-straight Big 12 regular-season title under Self. Self has amassed a 167-38 record in six seasons at Kansas and 374-143 in his 16th season overall. Last week, he was named the Yahoo! Sports National Coach of the Year and has been named a finalist for that accolade by numerous organizations.
"Any award – be it coach, player, rookie or whatever – is a reflection of your team and what it has accomplished," Self said. "And we've had a good year."
Kansas, 25-6, will be the No. 1 seed at the 2009 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City, March 11-14. KU's first action will be Thursday, March 12, at 11:30 a.m. against the winner of the No. 8 Nebraska vs. No. 9 Baylor contest to be played March 11. Kansas is the three-time defending champion of the event.
Historically, Kansas won its ninth Big 12 regular-season title and fifth straight in 2009. The Jayhawks' 52 regular-season titles are the most in NCAA Division I with Kentucky's 49 in second. Kansas has won the last three Phillips 66 Big 12 Championships and six of the previous 12 since the league was formed in 1996-97. KU also won the 1996, 1997 and 1998 titles. All-time, Kansas has 10 postseason conference tournament titles.
2008-09 PHILLIPS 66 ALL-BIG 12 MEN'S BASKETBALL AWARDS
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Blake Griffin, Oklahoma, F, So., 6-10, 251, Oklahoma City, Okla./Oklahoma Christian School
DEFENSIVE PLAYERS OF THE YEAR
Cole Aldrich, Kansas, C, So., 6-11, 245, Bloomington, Minn./Jefferson
J.T. Tiller, Missouri, G, Jr., 6-3, 200, Marietta, Ga./Wheeler
NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR
Denis Clemente, Kansas State, G, Jr., 6-1, 175, Bayamon, Puerto Rico/Calusa Prep/Miami (Fla.)
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
Willie Warren, Oklahoma, G, Fr., 6-4, 207, Fort Worth, Texas/North Crowley**
SIXTH MAN AWARDS
LaceDarius Dunn, Baylor, G, So., 6-4, 201, Monroe, La./Excelsior Christian School
Matt Lawrence, Missouri, G, Sr., 6-7, 203, St. Louis, Mo./Lafayette
COACH OF THE YEAR
Bill Self, Kansas [Career: 374-143, 16th season; At KU: 167-38, 6th season]
All-Big 12 First Team
Craig Brackins, Iowa State
Cole Aldrich, Kansas
Sherron Collins, Kansas**
DeMarre Carroll, Missouri
Blake Griffin, Oklahoma**
All-Big 12 Second Team
Denis Clemente, Kansas State
Willie Warren, Oklahoma
James Anderson, Oklahoma State
A.J. Abrams, Texas
Damion James, Texas
All-Big 12 Third Team
Curtis Jerrells, Baylor
Cory Higgins, Colorado
Leo Lyons, Missouri
Ade Dagunduro, Nebraska
Byron Eaton, Oklahoma State
Josh Carter, Texas A&M
All-Big 12 Honorable Mention (Listed alphabetically by school)
LaceDarius Dunn (Baylor), Kevin Rogers (Baylor), Jacob Pullen (Kansas State), J.T. Tiller (Missouri), Austin Johnson (Oklahoma), Terrel Harris (Oklahoma State), John Roberson (Texas Tech), Alan Voskuil (Texas Tech)
Big 12 All-Defensive Team
Cole Aldrich, Kansas
J.T. Tiller, Missouri**
Ade Dagunduro, Nebraska
Terrel Harris, Oklahoma State
Justin Mason, Texas
Derrick Roland, Texas A&M
Big 12 All-Rookie Team
Marcus Morris, Kansas
Tyshawn Taylor, Kansas**
Denis Clemente, Kansas State**
Zaire Taylor, Missouri
Willie Warren, Oklahoma**
** - Unanimous Selection
Ties in the voting created additional spots for Defensive Player of the Year, Sixth Man Award and on the third and all-defensive teams