- Junior guard Jacob Pullen
was named one of 30 midseason candidates for the Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T on Thursday in announcement by the Atlanta Tipoff Club.
The top 30 midseason list was compiled by the Atlanta Tipoff Club's Board of Selectors, comprised of leading basketball journalists from around the country. The board based its criteria on player performances this year. Pullen was one of five players from the Big 12 to make the list, including Kansas' Cole Aldrich and Sherron Collins, Oklahoma State's James Anderson and Texas' Damion James.
Pullen, who was named a mid-season second team All-American by both Yahoo! Sports and The Sporting News earlier this year, leads four players in double figures at 18.8 points per game on 42.4 percent shooting, including 39.6 percent shooting from 3-point range, with 3.8 assists, 2.5 rebounds and 1.7 steals in 30.9 minutes per game. He has scored in double figures in all 27 games this season - a stretch that ranks as the third-longest in school history - and has a team-best 11 20-point games. He also paces the squad in 3-point field goals (76), free throws (144), free throw percentage (80.9) and steals, while he is second in field goals (144), and assists (102). He is one-half of one of the most dynamic backcourts in the country, where he and senior Denis Clemente average nearly 35 points per game.
Pullen has Kansas State off to its best start in over 50 years with its current 23-4 overall mark and 10-3 record in Big 12 play. The mark ties for the fourth-best start in school history and the best since the 1961-62 squad finished the year at 22-3 overall. The 23 wins are the most in the Frank Martin era and the most since the 2006-07 season, while the 10 conference wins tie for the most in the Big 12 era. The squad also has earned their highest ranking in the AP poll at No. 6 since March 13, 1962, while its current No. 6 ranking in the coaches' poll is the highest since USA Today took over ownership of the poll in 1991-92.
Earlier this season, Pullen became the 21st player in school history, including the eighth guard, to score 1,000 career points. His current total of 1,299 points in 94 career games ranks 10th all-time, just five points shy of Ed Nealy (1,304; 1978-82) for ninth place. He need just nine 3-pointers to become the second player (Steve Henson) in school history with at least 1,000 points, 200 3-pointers, 300 assists and 100 steals. He also ranks in the career Top 5 for 3-point field goals (191), 3-point field goals attempted (548), assists (317) and steals (139).
The Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T is the most prestigious national basketball award and is given annually to the men's college basketball player of the year. This year, the award will be presented at the NCAA Men's Final Four in Indianapolis.
No. 6/6 Kansas State (23-4, 10-3 Big 12), winners of six in a row, will return home to Bramlage Coliseum on Saturday night when the Wildcats take on Missouri (20-7, 8-4 Big 12) at 7 p.m. CT.