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McGruder, Samuels earn All-Big 12

By Cole Manbeck

Kansas State junior Rodney McGruder was selected to the All-Big 12 second team and senior Jamar Samuels was chosen to the honorable mention squad, as the league office announced Sunday.

McGruder earns recognition to the All-Big 12 second team after being a third-team selection a season ago.  The team leader in eight categories, he is the seventh Wildcat in the Big 12 era to earn all-league honors at least twice in a career.

It also marks the ninth consecutive season that at least one K-State player has been named to the Big 12’s first, second or third team. 

The team leader in rebounding (6.8 rpg.) and double-doubles (eight), Samuels collected all-conference honors for the first time in his career with honorable mention accolades.  K-State head coach Frank Martin has now seen six players earn All-Big 12 honors on 10 occasions.

In addition to the all-conference honors, McGruder and fellow junior Jordan Henriquez were named to the five-member Big 12 All-Defensive Team. It marks the first time that two K-State players have been selected to the all-defensive team in the same season and the third straight season that at least one Wildcat has been named to the squad, following Pullen in both 2010 and 2011.

One of only five players in the Big 12 to rank in the Big 12’s top 15 in both overall scoring (15.5 ppg., 7th) and rebounding (5.4 rpg., 14th), McGruder paces the Wildcats in 10 categories, including games played (30), starts (30), scoring, double-digit games (25), 20-point games (nine), field goals (167) and 3-point field goals (48) and minutes played (32.5). 

McGruder also ranks among the top 15 in six other Big 12 categories, including eighth in field goal percentage (45.9), ninth in free throw percentage (80.4), minutes played, 10th in 3-point field goal percentage (39.3), 11th in offensive rebounds (2.3) and 14th in 3-point field goals made (1.6). McGruder has scored in double figures in 20 of the last 22 games, including 19 of the last 20 games.

The two-time Big 12 Player of the Week, Samuels is one of just three players in school history to collect 1,200 points and 700 rebounds in a career, joining Bob Boozer (1956-59) and Ed Nealy (1978-82). He ranks first on the team in double-doubles (eight), rebounding (6.8 rpg.), free throws (92) and free throws attempted (135), while he is second in scoring (10.3 ppg.) and blocked shots (0.7 bpg.) and third in minutes played (26.4 mpg.)

Samuels ranks among the top 15 in eight career categories at K-State, including the top 5 in games played (131), free throws (386) and free throws attempted (636), while he is sixth in rebounding (708) and 12th in scoring (1,248).  Only Pullen has played in more games in a Wildcat uniform.

Henriquez earns a Big 12 postseason award for the first time in his career with his spot on the league’s All-Defensive Team.  The school’s all-time blocks leader (136), he ranks second in the Big 12 in both overall blocked shots (2.3 bpg.) and league-only blocked shots (2.2 bpg.).  He has 24 blocks in the last six games, including a school record seven for a conference game against Iowa State on Feb. 25.  For the season, he is averaging 6.7 points on 54.9 percent shooting with five rebounds and 2.3 blocks in 18.9 minutes per game.

Kansas’ Thomas Robinson was named Player of the Year and the Jayhawks’ Jeff Withey was named Defensive Player of the Year. KU head coach Bill Self shared Big 12 Coach of the Year honor with Iowa State’s Fred Hoiberg. 

ISU’s Royce White was the Newcomer of the Year, while Baylor’s Quincy Miller and Oklahoma State’s Le’Bryan Nash shared Freshman of the Year honors.  Missouri’s Michael Dixon captured the Sixth Man Award.

K-State (21-9, 10-8 Big 12) will open play in the Big 12 Championship on Thursday, as the fifth-seeded Wildcats play four-seeded Baylor (24-6, 12-6) at 11:30 a.m. at the Sprint Center. 

The game will be televised nationally on ESPN2.

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