KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Greetings from the Sprint Center.
Alec Burks, for one, isn’t in awe of the plush downtown arena or the Big 12 tournament stage.
“It’s just a gym to me,” Colorado’s gifted freshman said after Tuesday’s practice. “I’ve played in Kansas City before.”
Burks, who grew up in nearby Grandview, Mo., was named the Big 12 freshman of the year on Sunday, an award voted on by the conference’s coaches.
“It means a lot. I was kind of under the radar as far as freshmen go,” said Burks, who was not recruited by Kansas or Missouri. “There were some players who were more higher profile than me. I feel it’s a great honor to get it.”
Burks was also named the Associated Press’ Big 12 freshman of the year and honorable mention all-conference.
Cory Higgins, CU’s leading scorer, didn’t even make honorable mention All-Big 12 in the AP selections voted on by members of the media.
“It’s shocking,” Burks said. “Cory, to me, is one of the top two players in the conference when you look at what he does for the team. … He’s a great player, one of the best in the nation. I don’t see how they can overlook him like that.”
For the record, I didn’t have a vote.
Burks deserved the freshman of the year nod over Kansas’ Xavier Henry considering the roles of each player on their respective teams.
I thought Higgins was worthy of second-team, All-Big 12 consideration (he made the coaches’ third team).
Jeff Bzdelik said anyone who didn’t vote for Higgins simply doesn’t watch enough Big 12 basketball.
I’d have to agree with the coach.