Iowa State Cyclones men’s basketball: Melvin Ejim wins Big 12 Player of the Year award


Two Iowa State Cyclones, seniors Melvin Ejim and DeAndre Kane, won Big 12 yearly honors in men’s basketball a day after the regular season came to a conclusion.

Mar 8, 2014; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones forward Melvin Ejim (3) and Oklahoma State Cowboys forward Kamari Murphy (21) battle for a rebound during the second half at James H. Hilton Coliseum. Iowa State beat Oklahoma State 85-81. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Ejim takes home the 2013-14 Big 12 Player of the Year award, overcoming both Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart and Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins as huge preseason favorites to win the award.

Here’s the writeup from the Big 12’s official website on how Ejim won the award, noting top three finishes in scoring and rebounding, along with the incredible 48-point game against TCU.

"Ejim ranked second in the Big 12 in both scoring (18.2 ppg) and rebounding (8.6) while placing third in field goal percentage (.513). The senior forward became the fourth player in Big 12 history and the second Cyclone to reach the 1,500-point mark and 1,000-rebound mark for his career. The highlight of the year came on February 8, when he scored a Big 12-record 48 points en route to breaking or tying 10 different conference single-game records"

DeAndre Kane won the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year award. He dominated the conference weekly awards, winning four Newcomer of the Week titles along with two Player of the Week awards. It wasn’t a surprise to see him take home the award.

Here were the other winners:

  • Defensive player of the year: Kansas’ Joel Embiid
  • Freshman of the year: Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins
  • Sixth man award: Oklahoma’s Tyler Neal and Oklahoma State’s Phil Forte
  • Coach of the year: Texas’ Rick Barnes

No real surprises here, unless you take into consideration that Ejim had to beat out national names like Smart and Wiggins from beginning to end. But based on performance evaluations throughout the year, many pundits loved Ejim and constantly brought up how he was a Big 12 player of the year favorite.

Both Ejim and Kane made the All-Big 12 first team, along with Smart, Wiggins, and West Virginia’s Juwan Staten. Georges Niang made the All-Big 12 third team while no Cyclones were on the second team.