Tshiebwe, Culver Earn Big 12 Preseason Honors

Tshiebwe, Culver Earn Big 12 Preseason Honors

The Mountaineer men’s basketball team placed a pair of players on the Big 12 Preseason Team, which was announced Wednesday.

In a voting by the league’s 10 coaches, who were not allowed to vote for their own student-athletes, West Virginia forward Oscar Tshiebwe was selected the Big 12’s Preseason Freshman of the Year, while WVU sophomore forward Derek Culver was an honorable mention all-conference selection.

West Virginia forward Derek Culver rises for a dunk
West Virginia forward Derek Culver rises for a dunk

Tshiebwe is the second McDonald’s All-American to enroll at West Virginia as a freshman. He averaged 23.2 points as a senior while leading Kennedy Catholic (Pa.) High School to a 27-3 record and the 6A state title. Tshiebwe is the first Mountaineer picked as the preseason freshman of the year since West Virginia joined the Big 12 in 2012-13.

The 6-foot-9, 250-pound Culver averaged 11.5 and 9.9 rebounds per game last year as a freshman.

In other league preseason honors, Kansas center Udoka Azubuike was named Big 12 Men’s Basketball Preseason Player of the Year while Chris Clarke (Texas Tech) earned.

Azubuike is the ninth Jayhawk to claim preseason honors as the top player. The senior center played in just nine games in 2018-19 before an injury sidelined him for the season. He averaged 13.4 points and 6.8 rebounds while shooting 70.5 percent from the field. As a sophomore, Azubuike led the nation with a 77.0 field goal percentage, which ranks second best for a season in NCAA history. He averaged 13.0 points and 7.0 rebounds while being named an All-Big 12 Third Team selection.

Clarke joined the Red Raiders as a graduate transfer after playing three seasons at Virginia Tech. He contributed 9.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 79 games. Clarke begins his senior season with career totals of 728 points and 517 rebounds. He is the second Red Raider in Big 12 history to garner preseason newcomer honors.

Joining Aubuike on the Preseason All-Big 12 Team is his teammate Devon Dotson along with Tristan Clark (Baylor), Tyrese Haliburton (Iowa State) and Desmond Bane (TCU). At the conclusion of last season, Bane was an All-Big 12 Second Team selection while Dotson was named to the third team.

The preseason poll will be announced on Oct. 17. The Big 12 Men’s Basketball Tipoff is slated for Wednesday, October 23 at Sprint Center in Kansas City.

Preseason Player of the Year
Udoka Azubuike, Kansas, C, 7-0, 270, Sr., Delta, Nigeria/Potter’s House Christian Academy (Fla.)

Preseason Newcomer of the Year
Chris Clarke, Texas Tech, G, 6-6, 200, Sr., Virginia Beach, Va./Virginia Tech

Preseason Freshman of the Year
Oscar Tshiebwe, West Virginia, F, 6-9, 258, Lubumbashi, Congo/Kennedy Catholic (Pa.)

Preseason All-Big 12 Team
Name, School                                                     Pos.           Ht.              Wt.             Cl.              Hometown/Previous School(s)
Tristan Clark, Baylor                                       F                  6-9             240            Jr.              San Antonio, Texas/Wagner
Tyrese Haliburton, Iowa State                     G                 6-5             172              So.              Oshkosh, Wis./North
Udoka Azubuike, Kansas                               C                 7-0             270            Sr.              Delta, Nigeria/Potter’s House Christian Academy (Fla.)
Devon Dotson, Kansas                                   G                 6-2             185             So.              Charlotte, N.C./Providence Day School
Desmond Bane, TCU                                       G                 6-6             215             Sr.              Richmond, Ind./Seton Catholic

Honorable Mention (listed alphabetically by school):
Xavier Sneed (K-State), Kristian Doolittle (Oklahoma), Yor Anei (Oklahoma State), Matt Coleman (Texas), Chris Clarke (Texas Tech), Davide Moretti (Texas Tech), Jahmi’us Ramsey (Texas Tech), Derek Culver (West Virginia)


Coaches not permitted to vote for their own student-athletes.

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