NORMAN — Oklahoma forward Amath M’Baye was named the Big 12 Conference’s preseason newcomer of the year on Thursday.
M’Baye, a 6-foot-9, junior from Bordeaux, France, is a transfer who played two seasons at Wyoming before sitting out last season at OU.
He started all 31 games as a sophomore in 2010-11, averaging 12.0 points and a team-high 5.7 rebounds while shooting .475 from the field in an average of 30.3 minutes per outing. He added 29 blocks and 22 steals.
“Amath’s versatility is probably what will pose the biggest challenge for opponents,” OU coach Lon Kruger said. “He’s mobile for a 6-9 guy, allowing him to go out to the perimeter. But he’s also big enough to take a smaller guy in the mid post and score over him. So just that versatility of being able to do different things on the floor makes him tough to defend.
“Plus, he competes hard, has a passion for the game, is a good leader and takes care of business in every way.”
The Big 12’s all-conference team was also announced on Thursday. No OU players made the all-league squad, but seniors Romero Osby and Steven Pledger were among the six other players who received votes.
Osby is the Big 12’s leading returning rebounder (7.3 rpg) while Pledger is the league’s leading returning scorer (16.2 ppg).
Baylor’s Pierre Jackson (Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year), Kansas’ Jeff Withey, Kansas State’s Rodney McGruder, Oklahoma State’s LeBryan Nash and Texas’ Myck Kabongo were named to the first team.
Joining Osby and Pledger as honorable mention selections were Baylor’s Isaiah Austin, Kansas’ Elijah Johnson, Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart (Preseason Big 12 Freshman of the Year) and Texas’ Sheldon McClellan. Coaches were not allowed to vote on their own players.
The Big 12 preseason poll will be announced next week.
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