Anderson: Big 12 Player of the Year

James Anderson

James Anderson became the first Oklahoma State player to earn Big 12 Player of the Year honors since Tony Allen six years ago when it was announced Sunday that the league coaches voted him the best in the conference. The 6-foot-6 Cowboy junior was recognized after leading the Big 12 with a 22.9 points per game average in 30 games this season.

Anderson has scored 863 career points in Big 12 Conference games the past three seasons, the most ever by a Cowboy in the 14-year history of the league.

He needs just three points in OSU's first-round game of the Big 12 Tournament on Wednesday night against Oklahoma to move past Byron Houston's senior season total of 688 points and into fifth place on the school single-season scoring list.

"Nobody is more deserving than James Anderson because of the type person he is, because of the type player he is, because of what he's meant to our basketball team," Oklahoma State head coach Travis Ford said.

"No one in America is depended on more on a basketball team than James Anderson – period! Show me somebody. I'd like to see it. He's a remarkable young man and a terrific basketball player."

Ford has coached Anderson the past two seasons after the McDonald's All-American was recruited to OSU by former head coach Sean Sutton and former assistant James Dickey. But Ford doesn't know if he'll ever get a chance to coach another player like Anderson.

"I hope so because it makes my job a lot easier, and I'm not even talking about how good he is (on the basketball court) and what he does to help you win games. I've never had as low-maintenance young man," Ford said.

"He's just the most accountable, responsible, nicest, coachable … and you can rip him, and I do at times, and he will sit there and respond and take it with no ego. I try to get some of these other guys who are not James Anderson, who is one of the best players in the country in my opinion, and I want these other guys to see that if he can do it, you can do it.

"Will I coach another one? I sure hope so. I would like to think so but they don't come along every day. The biggest compliment I can give him is that I've got two young sons and if they grow up to be like James Anderson as a person, I'll feel very good about it. I'll be very happy, very satisfied."

Allen, the former Cowboy who now plays for the NBA's Boston Celtics, was selected the Big 12 Player of the Year following the 2003-04 season, in voting by the league's coaches.

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