Curtis Kitchen has followed the Big 12, Kansas State and national college basketball beat including K-State's run to the NCAA Tournament Elite 8 in 2010. You can currently follow his work at his blog: KitchenKC.com In the past, he also covered the Kansas City Wizards (now Sporting KC) for Major League Soccer's mlsnet.com site as well as the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals for the other sports station in town. His freelance portfolio ranges media outlets and publications, including gopowercat.com (part of the Rivals network), collegehoopsnet.com and the Miami Herald.
Curtis Kitchen: McGruder vs. Denmon- Who Ya Got?
by Curtis Kitchen,posted Jan 20 2012 1:31PM
Earlier this week on Twitter, Carrington Harrison brought up a really interesting topic regarding a battle for placement on the All-Big 12 team.
Rodney McGruder vs. Marcus Denmon – who ya got?
Last four games or so, it’s McGruder, hands down. In fact, based on that small sample size, the Kansas State junior guard could be in the discussion for Big 12 player of the year. While the Wildcats have struggled a bit out of the conference slate gate, McGruder’s game has exploded. He’s averaging more points, rebounds and assists in Big 12 games compared to his season averages. He’s winning games on his own (see Texas, for example). Dude is ballin’ right now.
Stretch out the sample size to include the season, however. Statistics say Denmon should get the nod. He’s averaging more points (17.4 to RM’s 15.7), is shooting four percent better from three (41.8 to 37.1) with 52 more attempts, and rebounds are virtually even (MD – 5.5, RM – 5.6). Denmon has also turned the ball over 15 fewer times than McGruder. Overall, Missouri is 17-1, ranked No. 5 in the country and playing at a level nobody thought was possible. Denmon’s performance all season has played a major part in that, obviously, but that one loss? Yeah, it came in Manhattan. McGruder put up 20 points to Denmon’s 17, and the Wildcats smoked Mizzou by 16 that day.
At this point, the race is too close to call. If I had a vote, I’d probably try to find a way to get them both on my first-team list, though it would have to be in a sixth-man position because one or the other would likely get bumped (at this point) by J’Covan Brown or Tyshawn Taylor. Basically, at there are four (maybe even five counting Baylor’s Pierre Jackson) really terrific options vying for two spots.
Despite the fact there are still 13 conference games remaining, let’s take a stab at an All-Big 12 first and second team. I’ll mark with an asterisk the obvious unanimous selection. Send me yours on Twitter: @curtiskitchen.
*F – Thomas Robinson, Kansas
F – Quincy Acy, Baylor
G – Tyshawn Taylor, Kansas
G – J’Covan Brown, Texas
G – Rodney McGruder, Kansas State OR Marcus Denmon, Missouri
6th man – Marcus Denmon, Missouri OR Rodney McGruder, Kansas State
F – Perry Jones III, Baylor
F – Royce White, Iowa State
G – Stephen Pledger, Oklahoma
G – Phil Pressey, Missouri
G – Pierre Jackson, Baylor
6th man – Jeff Withey, Kansas