Dean Wade and Barry Brown took turns leading Kansas State to its most successful season in nine years, so it came as no surprise to see them lead all honorees Tuesday night at the Wildcats’ postseason awards banquet.
The junior standouts shared the Rolando Blackman Most Valuable Player Award and the Mitch Richmond Mr. Basketball Award, and each player also received a third honor during the ceremony at Hilton Garden Inn in Manhattan. Brown was named the Jack Hartman Top Defensive Player for the second straight season, and Wade was named the Tex Winter Top Offensive Player.
Brown averaged 15.9 points, 3.2 assists, 3.1 rebounds and 1.8 steals while earning second-team All-Big 12 recognition this season. He led the Wildcats with 29 double-figure scoring games and 11 20-point games, becoming the first Wildcat to post 500 points, 100 rebounds, 100 assists and 50 steals.
The 6-foot-3 guard announced Monday night on Twitter that he will declare for the NBA Draft without signing an agent, making it possible for him to return to K-State for his senior season.
As good as Brown was, Wade may have been even better before suffering a foot injury that forced him to miss four of the team’s final five games in a 25-12 campaign that ended in the Elite Eight. Wade ranked first or second on the team in 12 statistical categories, including team-high averages of 16.2 points and 6.2 rebounds.
Wade became only the fourth Wildcat to earn a spot on the All-Big 12 coaches’ first team, joining Michael Beasley, Jacob Pullen and Rodney McGruder.
CATS NO. 19 IN FINAL POLL
After making a run to the Elite Eight with three wins in the NCAA Tournament’s South Region, K-State was ranked No. 19 in the final USA Today Coaches poll released Tuesday afternoon.
The Wildcats finished the season 25-12 with NCAA tourney wins against Creighton, Maryland-Baltimore County and Kentucky before falling to Loyola-Chicago in the South Regional finals. The end-of-year ranking in the coaches’ poll is K-State’s first since finishing the 2012-13 season No. 20.
Also earning spots in the coaches’ poll were fellow Big 12 members Kansas at No. 3, Texas Tech at No. 6 and West Virginia at No. 13. National champion Villanova was No. 1 followed by runner-up Michigan, KU, No. 4 Duke and No. 5 Virginia.