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AMES — Four core seniors have propelled the Iowa State men’s basketball team all season.
Their importance was reflected in Big 12 postseason awards.
Iowa State point guard Monte Morris was named a unanimous All-Big 12 first team selection Sunday by league coaches. Guards Naz Mitrou-Long, Deonte Burton and Matt Thomas were named second team, third team and honorable mention picks, respectively.
Morris was one of three unanimous first team picks along with Baylor’s Johnathan Motley and Kansas’ Frank Mason III — Kansas’ Josh Jackson and Oklahoma State’s Jawun Evans were the other first team picks. The 6-foot-3, 175-pound senior is leading the Cyclones (20-10) with 16.2 points and 6.2 assists per game.
Morris’ selection marks the fourth-straight year that Iowa State has had a first team selection — he was on the second team as a sophomore and junior. The Flint, Mich., native leads the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio (6.2) and has scored in double figures 26 times this year.
Mitrou-Long is right behind Morris in scoring, averaging 16.0 points per game. He’s made 89 3-pointers and has scored in double figures 27 times in his fifth season at Iowa State.
Burton is averaging 14.4 points and a career-high 6.2 rebounds per game. He’s one of two players nationally with at least 50 steals and 40 blocks, and is only the second player in ISU history to have at least 40 steals and 40 blocks (Lafester Rhodes, 1988)
In a win at Kansas, Burton had 29 points and was 7-of-9 from beyond the arc. He’s scored 20 or more points nine times, including a 31-point game at Oklahoma.
Thomas, who was an honorable mention selection last season, is averaging a career-high 12.2 points per game and is shooting 43.6 percent from 3. He’s made 78 3-pointers as a senior and matched a career-high 25 points, including seven 3-pointers, in last week’s win against Oklahoma State.
Mason was named Player of the Year unanimously while Bill Self was awarded Coach of the Year. Jackson was the unanimous Freshman of the Year.
West Virginia’s Jevon Carter and Tarik Phillip were named Defensive Player of the Year and Sixth Man Award winner, respectively. Baylor’s Manu Lecomte was given Newcomer of the Year.
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