Torontos Melvin Ejim accomplished much more than just one record-setting game this season. Robby Thompson Jersey . The Iowa State senior forward has a unique top-10 standing in the Big 12. The 6-foot-6 Ejim was named Monday as The Associated Press Big 12 Player of the Year. He joined Kansas Andrew Wiggins of Vaughan, Ont., the leagues Freshman of the Year, as unanimous All-Big 12 first-team selections. Ejim, whose 48-point game against TCU last month set a Big 12 single-game scoring record, is the leagues only player in the top 10 in scoring and rebounding. He ranks second in both categories, averaging 18.2 points and 8.6 rebounds. "To see the progression of Melvins basketball career from where he came in as a freshman, very raw ... it just shows when you put a lot of work into your game, its going to pay off, and it certainly helps with your culture," Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg said of the A-student history major. "Hes a great leader and young guys see what hes doing and the impact that has on our team and our program." Only Iowa State had two first-team players. Ejim was joined in the top five by 6-4 senior teammate DeAndre Kane, a transfer from Marshall who was the unanimous pick for Newcomer of the Year. Kane averaged 17.1 points, 6.7 rebounds, 5.9 assists. "Three great years at Marshall, but had never reached the tournament," Hoiberg said. "I know that was huge for him, and hes going to get that opportunity." Oklahoma State sophomore guard Marcus Smart and West Virginia junior guard Juwan Staten, the Big 12s leader with 18.4 points and 5.94 assists per game, rounded out the first-team selections that matched the coaches picks released Sunday. Smart was the AP Big 12s top player and top freshman last year, when he was only the third player to win both of those awards in the same season. His scoring average was better this season at 17.9 points and he led the league with 2.7 steals a game, but also was suspended three games during conference play after shoving a fan at Texas Tech. Oklahomas Lon Kruger, who led the Sooners to a No. 2 seed in this weeks conference tournament, was selected as the AP Big 12 Coach of the Year with 11 of the 18 votes from a panel of AP sports writers and sportscasters who cover the league on a regular basis Ejim got 11 votes for top player, becoming the first Iowa State player to win that AP award since Jamaal Tinsley in 2001, a year after Cyclones standout Marcus Fizer. Wiggins, who capped the regular season with 41 points Saturday in a loss at West Virginia, got four Player of the Year votes, and the remaining votes were split by Kane, Smart and 7-foot Kansas freshman centre Joel Embiid. Wiggins got 17 votes for Freshman of The Year. Embiid, who got the other vote for top freshman, headed up the AP All-Big 12 second team that also includes Oklahoma States Markel Brown, Kansas State freshman Marcus Foster, Oklahoma sophomore Buddy Hield and Baylors Cory Jefferson. Kruger is 58-36 in his three years at Oklahoma, and last season with the Sooners became the first NCAA Division I coach to take five different programs to the NCAA tournament. They finished the regular season with a 97-67 win at TCU, their fifth win in six games. "Its always satisfying when your guys play well and play with enthusiasm and get good results," Kruger said. "This league is so deep ... if we can be in that group right after Kansas, were in a very good group of basketball teams, so I feel good about it." Kansas coach Bill Self, whose Jayhawks clinched their 10th Big 12 title in a row with a young group, got five votes for top coach. Texas Rick Barnes got the other two. In their voting, Big 12 coaches also tabbed Ejim as top player, Kane top newcomer and Wiggins as the leagues outstanding freshman. They differed on the top coach, selecting Barnes. Burch Smith Jersey . Linemates Ryan Johansen and Boone Jenner each had a goal and an assist in the first period, and Sergei Bobrovsky made 36 saves to lead the Blue Jackets past the Florida Panthers 4-1 on Saturday night. Dave Righetti Jersey . Patrick Kane and the Chicago Blackhawks were proof of that on Wednesday night.TORONTO - Canadian Rory MacDonald finds out Saturday who he will have to beat for the UFC welterweight title.The 25-year-old from Kelowna, B.C., who trains out of Montreal, has been promised the next shot at the winner of Saturdays UFC 181 main event in Las Vegas between champion Johny (Bigg Rigg) Hendricks and No. 1 contender Ruthless (Robbie) Lawler.Hendricks (16-2) won a unanimous decision over Lawler (24-10 with one no contest) when the two met in March at UFC 171 to fill the title vacated by Montreals Georges St-Pierre.Hendricks lost a controversial split decision to St-Pierre at UFC 167 while Lawler won a split decision over MacDonald on the same November 2013 card.MacDonald, meanwhile, has comprehensively beaten Tyron (The Chosen One) Woodley and Tarec (Sponge) Saffiedine since Hendricks claimed the crown.MacDonald (18-2) will be cageside at the Mandalay Bay Events Center to figure out his future, with the ensuring title fight possibly coming as early as March in Montreal depending on how battered Saturdays winner is.Hendricks says hes not looking beyond Saturday, although he knows all about the well-rounded Canadian waiting in the wings.A tough fighter, Hendricks said simply of MacDonald, who is ranked No. 2 in the 170-pound division.Lawler believes MacDonald is a better fighter today than 13 months ago when he faced him.I think hes getting better every day, Lawler said. Hes young, hes getting stronger, hes getting faster, hes working on his technique. Hes a force to be reckoned with for sure.Hes hungry and hes coming for the top.MacDonald also has a new nickname, with Red King replacing Ares which replaced The Water Boy.GSP may also be a factor again down the line. The 33-year-old ex-champ has yet to say whether he will return to action following his hiatus.The 31-year-old Hendricks has not fought since securing the title, requiring surgery in the aftermath to repair a torn bicepp. Carl Hubbell Jersey. Hendricks had hurt the arm in training and the injury got worse in the first round.He promises he will be a different fighter this time. Hendricks, a two-time NCAA wrestling champion, blames the arm injury for making just two of 10 takedown attempts against Lawler. He also hurt his shin in the fight.The time off was rejuvenating, Hendricks said.Fighting is a tough business, he said Its a gruelling business, its a grind. What was nice was I got that desire back, that willing to fight again, to remember why you fight ... Getting that hunger back I think is really going to help me for that next fight.Hendricks has no apologies to make. Hendricks-Lawler 1 was a thriller, with the champion winning the first two rounds before Lawler came on in the third and fourth. Hendricks decided it with a gritty fifth round.Robbies very tough. Hes very hard to put away, said Hendricks.He says Lawler pulled ahead in the middle rounds because the injured arm hindered his defence.He saw those openings and he capitalized on it, said Hendricks, who trains in the Dallas area. Thats what Ive got to make sure I dont allow this time. The two fighters attempted a combined 728 significant strikes, with Hendricks good on 159 of 397 and Lawler successful on 150 of 331.He just did a couple of things better than me, said Lawler, who has moved his family to Florida from Iowa to train year-round at American Top Team. Hes a competitor, he knows how to win, he knows how to win rounds. He competed a little bit better than me that night.While Hendricks healed up, Lawler fought twice in the aftermath of the title loss. The 32-year-old stopped Jake Ellenberger in May and won a decision over Matt (The Immortal) Brown in July.I love pushing myself, said Lawler. Im a competitor. I love to work out. I love to fight ... Its just how I am. If Im healthy, Im going to fight.Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter ' ' '
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