Several Jayhawks on All-Big 12 lists

Two first-team all-conference selections, a third-team selection, a Defensive Player of the Year, the co-Coach of the Year and the overall Player of the Year. Not a bad haul for a season's work, as four Jayhawks were honored by the Big 12 on Saturday, when the conference released its all-league teams and award winners.

Okay, so maybe Thomas Robinson's selection as the Big 12 Player of the Year has seemed like a formality for weeks - if not months - now, but it's still nice to have it in writing.

The 6-foot-8, 240-pound power forward averaged 19.8 points and 12.3 rebounds per game for the Jayhawks, and his selection marks the seventh time a Kansas player has received the honor. It puts him in elite company, along with Raef LaFrentz (twice, in 1997 and 1998), Drew Gooden, Nick Collison, Wayne Simien and Marcus Morris.

Earning the award was a goal of Robinson's before the season began, and Head Coach Bill Self said he was eminently deserving.

"Usually when individuals receive awards at the end of the season it has been because their teams have been good, and that certain has (been) the case with us," he said. "Thomas has been the best player on our team, without question, from the beginning of the year until now. He is so deserving of conference player of the year."

"I am very thankful for this award and proud to be selected by the coaches in a league that is as competitive as it is," Robinson added. "We have a lot of great players on our team and Tyshawn (Taylor) would also be deserving of this award. I am thankful for this award and hope it's not the last."

Additionally, Robinson and Taylor represented the Jayhawks on the All-Big 12 First Team, two of three unanimous selections along with Iowa State's Royce White. The first team was rounded out by Missouri guard Marcus Denmon and Texas' J'Covan Brown.

The senior Taylor had an absolutely phenomenal conference season, leading the team in scoring in league play with 18.6 points per game. Since the brutal Big 12 schedule began, he's been not just one of the best guards in the Big 12, but in the entire country.

Self agreed with Robinson, in his belief that a case could have been made for Taylor as Big 12 Player of the Year.

"Tyshawn, in my opinion, was one of two guys who could have challenged Thomas for conference player of the year, along with Denmon," he said. "Tyshawn has been as good a guard in the country over the last two months and certainly so deserving of being picked first team."

Junior center Jeff Withey was named to the All-Conference Third Team, an impressive achievement in its own right - though not his most prestigious honor. The 7-foot center from San Diego was also named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year.

It's a well-deserved honor, as Withey grew into a borderline dominant defender in the paint. His 100 blocked shots led the conference, and ranked fifth all-time in Big 12 history. He's the third Jayhawk to win the award since it was introduced during the 2005-2006 season, joining Mario Chalmers (2007 and 2009) and Cole Aldrich.

"I'm really happy for Jeff, because I don't believe anybody in our league changes the game by blocking or altering (shots) better than Jeff," Self said.

Self also brought home the Coach of the Year hardware for the third time in the past four years and the fourth time overall during his tenure at Kansas.

He was quick to acknowledge the league's other worthy candidates - including Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg, with whom he shared the award - and his players.

"Fred and Frank Haith (Missouri) are also deserving of this award," Self said. "it's a proud recognition but I also understand it's not hte coaching, it's the players that give you the chance to win. Basketball is about players, and certainly we have our share of good ones and I'm sure Fred would say the same thing."

Kansas enters post-season play Thursday, March 8 at 2 p.m. during the Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City. They will face the winner of Texas A&M and Oklahoma.

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