17/22 KANSAS STATE (10-1, 0-0 Big 12)
vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff (0-9)
Date: Monday, December 21, 2009
Tipoff: 7:10 p.m. CT
Location: Manhattan, Kan. | Arena: Bramlage Coliseum (12,528)
Television: FOX Sports Kansas City/ESPN Full Court (Ben Boyle, play-by-play; Stan Weber, analyst; Max Leinwand, producer) | Channel Directory: DirecTV 672, Dish Network 447, AT&T U-Verse 750 | Internet: www.ESPN360.com
Radio: K-State Sports Network (Wyatt Thompson, play-by-play; Matt Walters, analyst) | Live Stats: www.kstatesports.com | Local Stations: Sports Radio 1350 AM (KMAN; Manhattan), 101.5-FM (KMKF; Manhattan) | Satellite Radio: Sirius 122
Head Coaches: Kansas State - Frank Martin (Florida International '93) is 53-25 (.680) in his third season at K-State. Arkansas-Pine Bluff - George Ivory (Mississippi Valley State '88) is 13-27 (.325) in his second season at UAPB.
Last Time Out: K-State defeated Alabama, 87-74 on Saturday night, while Arkansas-Pine Bluff lost at Missouri, 88-70, also on Saturday.
Series: K-State leads 3-0 (all at home) | Last time: K-State won 76-42 at home on Nov. 29, 2004 | vs. SWAC: K-State is 4-0 (all at home) | Frank Martin is 0-0 vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff, while George Ivory is 0-0 all-time vs. K-State.
Rankings: K-State is ranked 17th in the AP poll and 22nd in USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll. Arkansas-Pine Bluff is not ranked in either poll.
Tickets: $20 (bench and Cat Cushion), $30 (chairbacks) at the Athletics Ticket Office at 800.221.CATS or via www.k-statesports.com
K-State begins a three-game homestand with Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Kansas State (10-1) returns to the friendly confines of Bramlage Coliseum on Monday night, as the Wildcats begin a three-game homestand by hosting Arkansas-Pine Bluff (0-9) beginning at 7 p.m. The team, which is off to their best start since 2004-05, is in the midst of their longest winning streak (seven) under third-year head coach Frank Martin and their longest streak since also winning seven in a row from Jan. 13 to Feb. 3, 2007. K-State has also won 20 consecutive non-conference home games dating back to 2007-08 as well as 19 straight home games in the December. The Wildcats earned their first national ranking since the 2007-08 season last Monday, as they joined the AP poll at No. 17 and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll at No. 22. It is the first ranking since the team appeared at No. 24 in the AP poll on Feb. 19, 2009 and the highest ranking in the AP poll since the team was 14th on Feb. 9, 1988. Monday's game will be the last before an eight-day break for the holidays and begins a stretch of home games with Cleveland State (4-8) on Dec. 29 and South Dakota (6-4) on Jan. 3 to conclude non-conference play. The contest will be broadcast regionally on FOX Sports Kansas City with Ben Boyle (play-by-play) and Stan Weber (analyst) on the call. It will also be available on the ESPN Full Court plan as well as on ESPN360.com.
The Wildcats concluded one of their most difficult four-game non-conference stretches a perfect 4-0 with an 87-74 victory over Alabama on Saturday night at the Coors Classic in Mobile, Ala. The team built as much as 21-point lead before holding off a late Crimson Tide run to knock off their first SEC foe since 1994. The squad connected on a season-best 59.2 percent from the field, including 61.9 percent in the second half, while holding a decisive 38-23 edge on the glass. The stretch started with home games against Washington State and Xavier on Dec. 5 and 8 and continued with a road game at then unbeaten and No. 17 UNLV on Dec. 12 before concluding against Alabama. The squad, whose 14 non-conference opponents boast a .640 winning percentage through Dec. 17, currently have the country's best RPI (according to three services) and the consensus second-best strength of schedule.
Junior Jacob Pullen continued his stellar play against Alabama with his second career 30-point outing (just two short of his career-high 32 against Illinois State on March 18, 2009) on 10-of-15 shooting, including 6-of-9 from 3-point range, to go with four assists and three steals. Pullen became the 21st player in school history and just the eighth guard to top 1,000 career points with his fourth 3-pointer of the first half. He has scored at least 20 points in six of the last seven games, and at 20.2 points per game is second in the Big 12 scoring behind Oklahoma State's James Anderson (21.2 ppg.). Freshman Wally Judge was also impressive against the Tide with a season-high 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting to go with a team-tying seven rebounds, while super sub Jamar Samuels was again solid with 12 points and three assists. Senior Denis Clemente added 11 points and four assists in 30 minutes of action.
A Quick Look at Kansas State
K-State is averaging just over 80 points per game (82.1 ppg.) on 48.2 percent shooting (295-of-612), including 37.2 percent from 3-point range (74-of-199), with 38.6 rebounds, 15.7 assists, 6.5 steals and 4.9 blocks per game. The squad has topped 80 or more points in eight of 11 games (for the first time in school history), while hitting on 45 percent or better from the field on seven occasions. The 903 points scored are the second-most through 11 games in school history and the most since the 1997-98 squad scored 944 points. The team is averaging nearly 35 points per game (34.5) in the paint (11 more than their opponents), while averaging just over 21 free throw makes (21.3) per game. They are out-scoring their opponents, 117-31, in fast-break points. The defensive effort has also been solid, holding opponents to 67.9 points on 40 percent shooting while averaging 19.3 points off of 16.9 turnovers per game. Before allowing an average of 77 points against UNLV and Alabama, the Wildcats had been even more stingy on the defensive end, holding both Washington State and Xavier to just 62.5 points on 37.6 percent shooting from the field, including just 26.1 percent from 3-point range, and posting a 39-31 rebounding advantage. The rebounding edge is still more than five per game.
The Wildcats are 10-1 for the first time under head coach Frank Martin and for the first time as a program since the 2004-05 squad opened with eight straight victories to also start 10-1. Only one other squad has fared better after 11 games in school history, as the 1918-19 team started the season with 17 straight wins. This is just the 10th time in school history that the team has won 10 of their first 11 games.
The reigning Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week, junior Jacob Pullen leads four players in double figures at 20.2 points per game on 45.3 percent shooting from the field to go with team bests in field goals (63), 3-point field goals (31), free throws (65), free throw percentage (81.3), assists (41) and steals (18), while backcourt mate Denis Clemente is second in scoring at 14.5 points per game on 39.3 percent shooting from the field and is second to Pullen in field goals (53), 3-point field goals (20) and assists (40). The duo has combined for over 40 percent of the scoring (381) so far this season, while historically, they are the second-most productive (as far as combined points per game at 27.8) guard tandem since former NBA players Mike Evans and Chuckie Williams combined to average 38.9 points per game for the Wildcats between 1974-76. Clemente recently topped the 1,000-point plateau for his career (includes his two-year stint at Miami) with a pair of free throws just over a minute into the IUPUI game on Nov. 28. Pullen became the 21st player in school history, including the eighth guard, to score 1,000 career points with his 30-point effort against Alabama on Saturday. His 1,013 points in 78 career games ranks 19th all-time in school history, while he has scored in double figures in all 11 games and a team-best 50 times in his career. Pullen needs just five more double-digit games to crack the school's all-time top 10 list.
Sophomore Jamar Samuels ranks third in scoring at 11.7 points per game on 60 percent shooting from the field. Samuels, who has come off the bench in 10 of 11 games, ranks second on the squad in rebounding at 5.5 per game. He has scored in double figures in eight of 10 games played, including a career-best 21 points against Fort Hays State on Dec. 1. Dubbed the "X-Factor" for his ability to change the game off the bench, 22 of Samuels' 23 double-digit scoring efforts have come as a reserve. Junior transfer Curtis Kelly is the lone other player averaging in double figures at 11.1 points per game. Kelly, who leads the team with two double-doubles, is shooting 58.1 percent from the field and leads all players with 6.3 rebounds per contest. In all, the squad has six players averaging six or more points and six averaging three or more rebounds.
Postgame Notes vs. Alabama
--Kansas State evened its all-time record against Alabama to 1-1, earning its first victory in the series... It was the first meeting between the two schools since the Crimson Tide posted a 79-48 win at home in the Preseason NIT in 1994... The victory also gave the Wildcats their first over an SEC squad since beating Auburn, 78-75, in Tallahassee, Fla., on Dec. 30, 1994 and moved the team to 19-20 all-time against the league... The squad's only loss this season came to Ole Miss, 86-74, in the quarterfinals of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off on Nov. 20.
--The Wildcats' starting lineup was junior guard Jacob Pullen, senior guard Denis Clemente, junior forward Dominique Sutton, junior forward Curtis Kelly and freshman forward Wally Judge... It marks the third time this season the team has used this starting combination... Pullen has now started in 45 straight games for the Wildcats, extending his streak as the team's leader in most consecutive games played to 78.
--The victory gave the Wildcats' seven consecutive wins for the first time in the Frank Martin era (three different times the squad had won six games) and their longest winning streak since also winning seven straight from Jan. 13 to Feb. 3, 2007 under former head coach Bob Huggins. The last time the team won more than seven in a row came to start the 2004-05 season when the Wildcats won eight.
--The 87 points gave K-State its eighth 80-point game of the season and marked the first time in school history that it has turned in eight 80-point efforts in the first 11 games of the season... The team connected on a season-best 59.2 percent (29-of-49) from the field, including 61.9 percent (13-of-21) in the second half... It marked the fourth game this season that the squad has hit on 50 percent or better from the field, including the second consecutive game (shot 57.1 percent against UNLV on Dec. 12)... The Wildcats also connected on 60 percent or better from the field in the second half for the second consecutive game after hitting on 66.7 percent against the Runnin' Rebels a week before.
--Junior Jacob Pullen became the 21st player in school history, including the eighth guard, to top 1,000 career points with his fourth 3-pointer in the first half against Alabama... Pullen becomes the first Wildcat to score 1,000 career points since Lance Harris did it in the 2006-07 season... He finished the game with his second 30-point game, a season-high, and his highest point total since scoring 32 against Illinois State in overtime on March 18, 2009... He tied his career-best for field goals for the second straight game with 10, while he came within one 3-pointer of equaling his career high of seven accomplished just a week prior against UNLV... Pullen has scored 20 or more points in six of the last seven games. He is averaging 23.7 points per game in that seven-game stretch on 48 percent shooting (47-of-98), including 50 percent (25-of-50) from 3-point range.
--Freshman Wally Judge led three other Wildcats in double figures against the Crimson Tide with a season-high 15 points on 6-of-7 field goals to go with seven rebounds and two blocks... Sophomore Jamar Samuels posted 12 points, his third straight double-digit scoring game and his eighth this season, while senior Denis Clemente chipped in 11 points, four rebounds and four assists in 30 minutes of action.
The Book on Arkansas-Pine Bluff
A member of the Southwestern Athletic Conference, Arkansas-Pine Bluff enters Monday's game with a 0-9 record after suffering an 88-70 loss at the hand of Missouri on Saturday. The Lions have spent the entire season on the road and won't earn their first home game until their home opener against league rival Southern on Jan. 16, meaning they will start the year with 14 consecutive road games. Despite the road schedule, the team has been competitive with a scoring margin of defeat of 14.2 points per game. The Lions' largest margin of defeat came at Denver, where they lost 75-56 on Nov. 15. They almost won at Akron (68-65) on Nov. 27 and played well down the stretch at nationally-ranked Georgia Tech before falling 65-53 on Dec. 16. The squad has played three other Big 12 schools, losing their opener to Colorado, 88-72, on Nov. 13, losing to Oklahoma State, 81-66, on Dec. 13 before losing to Missouri Saturday.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff is averaging just over 60 points per game (60.4) on the season on 39.4 percent shooting, including 33.9 percent from 3-point range, with 35.9 rebounds, 10.1 assists, 5.1 steals and 2.3 blocks per game. The team is shooting a solid 69.8 percent from the free throw line. A more veteran squad than the Wildcats have faced, the Lions have two players averaging in double figures and five averaging more than seven points per game. Sophomore guard Savalance Townsend paces the squad at 11.6 points per game on 38.5 percent shooting, including 39.5 percent from 3-point range, with team-highs in both field goals (35) and 3-point field goals (15). Senior forward Labaron Weathers is second in scoring at 10.0 point per game on 39.5 percent shooting to go with a team-best 6.9 rebounds per game. Seniors Terrance Calvin and Tyree Glass average 8.6 and 8.0 points per game, while senior guard Tavaris Washington adds 7.9 points per game. Calvin is tops in assists (2.8 apg.) and minutes (33.2 mpg.), while Washington has a team-high 13 steals.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff is led by second-year head coach George Ivory, who has posted a 13-27 overall record. He helped the Lions rebound to a 13-18 record a year ago after starting the season with seven consecutive losses, which included 11 straight road games to start the year. The team finished fourth in the Southwestern Athletic Conference with an 11-7 league mark and lost to Alabama State in the conference tournament.
Series vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff
This will be just the fourth all-time meeting between K-State and Arkansas-Pine Bluff on the hardwood. The Wildcats have won the three previous meetings all at home by an average margin of 25.7 points. The two teams first met in 1996 and K-State held on for a 69-63 victory on Dec. 23. The next two meetings came two-year span with the Wildcats earning a 76-39 win on Dec. 4, 2002 and a 76-42 victory on Nov. 29, 2004. The squad is 4-0 all-time against teams from the Southwestern Athletic Conference with all four wins coming at home. Arkansas-Pine Bluff is one of just two teams that Kansas State has faced from the league with the other coming against Alabama State in 1994.
'Cats in December
Kansas State will look to continue its strong play in December, where the Wildcats have won 38 of their last 48 games. The squad is 445-230 (.657) all-time in December with 31 wins in their last 32 games at home in the month dating back to the 2002-03 season, including a current of streak of 19 consecutive home victories dating back to the 2004-05 season. The team's last home loss in December came to Rutgers (76-66) on Dec. 28, 2004. K-State has won four or more games in the month in each of the last eight seasons, including six in both 2002-03 and 2006-07. The squad has posted a winning record in December 62 times in their history, including eight consecutive seasons dating back to 2002-03. The Wildcats won a school-record nine games in the month nine times in their history, including perfect 9-0 marks in 1947-48 and 1993-94.
Inside the Win Streak
--Kansas State is averaging 82.1 points on 48.8 percent shooting (184-of-377), including 40.6 percent from 3-point range (52-of-128), during its seven-game winning streak... The team has scored at least 70 points in all seven games and has connected on 45 percent or better in four of the contests... The squad is averaging 32.6 points in the paint (compared to 25.4 for its foes), 16.9 points off turnovers, 11.0 points in second chance points, 10.7 points in fast-break points and 22.3 points off the bench... The Wildcats have held their opponents to 69.6 points in the stretch on 42.8 percent shooting, including 35.3 percent from 3-point range... The team also holds an impressive averaging rebounding margin of 37.3 to 30.7.
--During the winning streak, the Wildcats have earned wins over six teams with RPI ratings in the top 100, including four in the top 50 (according to RealTimeRPI.com)... The other win came against Fort Hays State, a Division II team that has posted a 9-1 record and ranks 14th nationally in that Division... Also included in those wins are two over Top 25 opponents (No. 18/21 Dayton and No. 18/17 UNLV), marking the first time in over 50 years that a Wildcat team has beaten two Top 25 foes during the non-conference season and first since the 1958-59 squad defeated No. 4 N.C. State (69-67) and No. 14 St. Joseph's (68-55) on consecutive days on Dec. 19-20, 1958 in Kansas City, Mo.
--Junior Jacob Pullen paces three players in double figures during the seven-game streak at 23.7 points per game... He is shooting 48 percent from the field, including 50 percent from the 3-point range, while adding highs in both assists (28) and steals (11)... Senior Denis Clemente is averaging 16.0 points on 44.4 percent shooting, including 34.8 percent from 3-point range with highs in assists (28)... The two have combined to average nearly 40 points per game during the stretch... Sophomore Jamar Samuels also is in double figures at 12.3 points per game on a team-best 61.1 percent shooting... Juniors Curtis Kelly and Dominique Sutton are averaging 8.7 and 8.3 points per game.
Points Off Turnovers
A trademark of Frank Martin-coached teams are their ability to score points off of opponent's miscues. Since he became K-State's head coach in 2007, the Wildcats have scored 1,457 points off of 1,300 turnovers in 78 games, an average of 18.7 points per game. Nearly 25 percent of the points scored in the past three years have come off of offense generated from opponent turnovers. In 2007-08, the Wildcats scored 18.9 points per game off of 16.2 turnovers per game, while in 2008-09, the team scored 25.7 points off of an average of 17.0 turnovers per contest. This year has not been any different with the squad averaging 19.3 points off of 16.9 opponent mistakes per game. Five times this season K-State has scored 20 or more points off of turnovers, including 39 against Washington State on Dec. 5, which is the most against one foe since the stat has been kept starting in 2005-06. The Wildcats also scored 20 or more off of miscues against Loyola (29), IUPUI (28), UNLV (26) and Alabama (22).
Quite A Duo
Senior Denis Clemente and junior Jacob Pullen have become quite the scoring duo for the Wildcats in their two seasons together. The two have combined to score 1,333 points in just over one season together, including finishing first and second in scoring in 2008-09. They have combined to average 34.7 points per game through 11 games this season, including Pullen's team-leading 20.2 points per game. The 34.7-point combined average is the third-highest by a guard duo in school history, trailing Chuckie Williams and Mike Evans in 1974-75 (39.1) and 1975-76 (38.8) and just ahead of Askia Jones and Anthony Beane in 1993-94 (33.5) and Steve Henson and Jean Derouillere in 1989-90 (33.1). Historically, Clemente and Pullen are the second-most productive (as far as combined points per game at 27.8) guard tandem since former NBA players Mike Evans and Chuckie Williams combined to average 38.9 points per game for the Wildcats between 1974-76. They have combined to score 20 or more points 38 times in 43 games dating back to last season, including 30 or more points on 23 occasions. They were perhaps at their best in the win over No. 18/17 UNLV on Dec. 12, as the two combined for 50 points on 57.1 percent shooting (16-of-28) from the field, including 55.6 percent (10-of-18) from 3-point range, in the win. It marked the seventh time (now eighth) the pair has combined to score 40 or more points (in 43 career games together) with four of those games coming in last seven outings. The game against the Rebels was just the fourth in which both players have topped 20 or more points in the same contest following Kansas on Feb. 14, 2009, Dayton on Nov. 22 and Washington State on Dec. 5.
Clemente Tops 1,000
Senior Denis Clemente eclipsed the 1,000-point barrier with a pair of free throws just over a minute into the IUPUI game on Nov. 28. Clemente, who transferred to K-State after playing two seasons at Miami (Fla.), has totaled 639 points his two-year career on 40 percent shooting (220-of-547) from the field, including 35.3 percent (79-of-224) from 3-point range, in 43 games. He has a chance to break into the school's top-10 of career points by a transfer, needing just 164 points to tie Elliot Hatcher (803; 1994-96) for 10th place. He scored 450 points in his two years as a Hurricane, connecting on 38.7 percent (167-of-432) of his field goals, including 31.5 percent (57-of-181) from beyond the arc, in 61 games.
Pullen Moving Up the Charts
Junior Jacob Pullen is nearing several career milestone as he is in the midst of his third season as a Wildcat. With his season-best 30-point effort against Alabama on Dec. 19, Pullen now has 1,013 career points, which ranks 19th all-time in school history. With his fourth 3-pointer of the first half against the Crimson Tide, he became the 21st player in school history to tally 1,000 career points, including the eighth guard to do so. Pullen ranks in the top 10 in both 3-point field goals made and attempted, ranking fifth in both attempts with 428 and makes with 146. He needs 11 3-point attempts to move ahead of Lance Harris (439, 2003-07) for fourth place, while he needs nine 3-point field goals to move past Harris (154) for fourth place all-time. He became the sixth player in school history to top 100 steals in a career with his three steals against Boston in the opener in the Puerto Rico. With his three thefts against Alabama, Pullen now ranks fourth in school history in the categories and needs just eight more to move ahead of Elliot Hatcher (118, 1994-96). Pullen could join Steve Henson (1987-90) and Askia Jones (1989-94) as the only players with 1,000 points (already has 1,013), 200 3-pointers (needs 54), 250 assists (already has 256) and 100 steals (already has 111).
The D Stands for Defense
Junior Dominique Sutton is starting to state his case as one of the premier defenders not just in the Big 12 but nationally. Sutton, who has been regularly assigned the opponent's top offensive performer for much of his career, has really become a top-line defender for the Wildcats in three of the last four games. During that stretch against the likes of Washington State's Klay Thompson, Xavier's Jordan Crawford and UNLV's Derrick Jasper, he held those three to a collective 32.3 shooting percentage (10-of-31), including 16.7 percent (2-of-12) from 3-point range. Thompson, who entered the game on Dec. 5 as the nation's second-leading scorer at 26.4 points per game, shot just 5-of-15 from the field, including 1-of-4 from long range, with one assist and nine turnovers. Although Thompson scored 22 points in the contest, 11 of those came from the free throw line. Crawford, another pro prospect, managed 16 points (five from the line) against Sutton, but shot just 5-of-13 from the field, including 1-of-5 from 3-point range, with one assist and three turnovers. Jasper was held scoreless for the first time in his UNLV career, going 0-of-3 from the field. Sutton's defense has helped boost his offensive game in the past three games, where he is averaging 10 points on 54.5 percent shooting.
Kelly Becoming A Force Down Under
Junior Curtis Kelly is starting to develop his game down low for the Wildcats after sitting out the 2008-09 season after transferring from UConn. A starter in all 11 games this season, Kelly is tied for third on the team in scoring at 11.1 points per game on 58.1 percent shooting to go with a team-best 6.3 rebounds per contest. He leads the team with two double-doubles, including an 18-point, 10-rebound effort against Ole Miss on Nov. 20 and an 11-point, 11-rebound effort against IUPUI on Nov. 28. Kelly has scored in double figures six times this year including in back-to-back games in key wins against Xavier (15) and UNLV (13), while he has led the squad in rebounding in five of 11 contests. He has shot over 60 percent in six games, including connecting on 81.8 percent (9-of-11) in the opener against Loyola Chicago with a career-best 22 points.
Sophomore Jamar Samuels has continued where he left off in 2008-09, becoming a key boost off the bench for the Wildcats. Samuels, who is third on the team in scoring at 11.7 points per game, has seen 22 of his 23 double-digit scoring efforts come as a reserve. This season, he has scored 10 or more points eight times with seven of those coming off the bench. Samuels' only start came in the opener against Loyola Chicago, where he scored 11 points on 3-of-6 field goals in just 14 minutes of action. He scored a career-high 21 points from the bench in the win over Fort Hays State (No. 14 team in Division II) on Dec. 1, knocking down 6-of-9 from the field and 9-of-12 from the free throw line. He has also been a big force on the rebounding end for the squad, totaling six or more boards in six games all off the bench.
Colon Back To Action
Senior Luis Colon made his long awaited debut against No. 18/17 UNLV on Dec. 12, scoring one point and grabbing five rebounds in 11 minutes of action off the bench. Colon, who was also hurt in the preseason, missed the first nine games off the season due to an off-the-court issue that has since been resolved. A key component to the Wildcat attack last season, Colon was one of two players (along with Jacob Pullen) to start all 34 games a year ago, averaging 4.4 points on 47.7 percent shooting with 4.7 rebounds per game.
Pullen Named Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week
Junior Jacob Pullen was named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week for the first time in his career on Monday in an announcement by the league office. Pullen, who helped the Wildcats to wins over Xavier and No. 18/17 UNLV, averaged 22.0 points on 48.1 percent shooting (13-of-27), including 52.9 percent (9-of-17) from 3-point range, for the week with 3.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.0 steals in 27.5 minutes per game.
Pullen began the week by scoring 14 of his game-high 16 points in the second half of a 71-56 win over the Musketeers in 24 minutes of action. He then followed with a season-high 28-point output in a 95-80 win over the nationally-ranked Runnin' Rebels, including a career-best 7-of-10 effort from beyond the arc. The seven 3-point field goals tied eight other players for the fourth-most by an individual in school history. Pullen is the first Wildcat to earn Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week honors since teammate Denis Clemente claimed the distinction on Feb. 2, 2009. In all, he is the sixth player to earn the honor since the 1997-98 season.
Clemente Named Candidate for Bob Cousy Award
Senior Denis Clemente was named a candidate for the 2010 Bob Cousy Award on Thursday, which recognizes college basketball's top point guard.
The annual award, which is named for Hall of Famer and former Boston Celtic great Bob Cousy, is presented by The Hartford Financial Services and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. Clemente was one of 72 candidates nominated for the award, which includes players from all Division I, II and III schools across the country. He is one of 49 candidates from Division I, including fellow Big 12 players Diante Garrett (Iowa State), J.T. Tiller (Missouri), Ray Penn (Oklahoma State) and Sherron Collins (Kansas).
Clemente has helped guide the No. 17/22 Wildcats to their highest ranking in over 20 years in The Associated Press poll and a 10-1 overall record for just the 12th time in school history and for the first time since 2004-05. He is the team's second-leading scorer (and 12th in the Big 12) at 14.5 points per game and has scored in double figures in nine of the team's 11 games. He is second to backcourt mate Jacob Pullen in field goals (53), 3-point field goals (20) and assists (40). His current assist-to-turnover ratio is 2.5, which ranks fifth in the Big 12.
The original list of candidates will be narrowed down to a final 20 by Jan. 1, a final 10 by Feb. 1 and a final five by March 1. A Hall of Fame appointed screening committee will be narrowing down the candidates from 20 to 10 to 5 prior to the Blue Ribbon Selection Committee evaluating the final five candidates and ultimately choosing the winner. The winner will be presented at the Hall of Fame's Class Announcement on Monday, April 5 in Indianapolis as part of the NCAA Final Four weekend. Previous winner of the Bob Cousy award have included Jameer Nelson (St. Joseph's), Raymond Felton (North Carolina), Dee Brown (Illinois), Acie Law (Texas A&M), D.J. Augustin (Texas) and Ty Lawson (North Carolina). For more information on the 2010 Bob Cousy Award presented by The Hartford, log onto www.cousyaward.com.