Sophomore teammates Brandon Rush and Julian Wright (Kansas) have been named the Big 12 Preseason Players of the Year, it was announced. Junior guard Charles Burgess (Texas Tech) was chosen as Preseason Newcomer of the Year, while forward Kevin Durant (Texas) earned Freshman of the Year accolades. Players honored in preseason voting were selected by the league head coaches, who are not permitted to vote for their own student-athletes.
Last season, Rush was the first freshman in conference history to be named to the All-Big 12 First Team. He averaged 13.5 points and 5.9 overall, stepping up to averages of 15.1 and 6.6 in league play. He scored 20 points or more six times and was in double figures in 24 contests overall. Wright was an All-Big 12 Honorable Mention selection a year ago after recording 8.5 points per game and shooting 56.4 percent from the field. He also had 42 blocks. The preseason selection of Rush and Wright marks the first time in Big 12 history that two players have shared the honor.
Burgess averaged 15.8 points, 5.8 rebounds and 5.1 assists in 2005-06 for Howard College in Texas. The New York City native was named the NJCAA Player of the Year last season and was also named to the all-region team a year ago.
Durant is among the nation's top incoming freshman and is the highest-rated prospect to ever play for the Longhorns. He was honored as the co-MVP of the McDonald's All-America game in 2006 after finishing with 25 points. Durant was selected as the top small forward in the nation by Rivals.com after averaging 23.6 points, 10.2 rebounds and 2.6 blocks during his senior campaign.
The preseason All-Big 12 team was also announced. In addition to Rush and Wright, the following players were recognized - Richard Roby (Colorado), Acie Law (Texas A&M), Joseph Jones (Texas A&M) and Jarrius Jackson (Texas Tech). Roby, Rush and Jackson are all returning All-Big 12 First Team members from last season. A tie in the voting created an additional position on this year's preseason squad.
Preseason Players of the Year
Brandon Rush, Kansas, G, So., 6-6, 212
Julian Wright, Kansas, F, So., 6-8, 218
Preseason Newcomer of the Year
Charles Burgess, Texas Tech, G, Jr., 6-1, 190
Preseason Freshman of the Year
Kevin Durant, Texas, F, Fr., 6-9, 225
2006-07 Preseason All-Big 12 Team
Jackson and Burgess Honored
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