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March 25, 2008

Beasley named Rivals.com Player of the Year

Freshman Michael Beasley earned his second major National Player of the Year honor on Tuesday, as he was selected to the honor by Rivals.com. He was also named the organization's National Freshman of the Year and to its All-America first team.

The honor was one of many that continue to roll in for the Washington, D.C., native, who is already the first player in Kansas State history to earn a National Player of the Year award. In addition to earning Player of the Year accolades from both CBS Sports.com and Rivals.com, Beasley was recently named one of four finalists for the 2008 Naismith Player of the Year Award presented by AT&T and the Atlanta Tipoff Club. He, along with fellow finalists Memphis' Chris Douglas-Roberts, North Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough and UCLA's Kevin Love, will travel to the Final Four, where the trophy will be presented on Sunday, April 6 at the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Guardians of the Game awards program. He also is already one of 10 finalists for the Oscar Robertson Player of the Year award and one of 25 for the John R. Wooden Award.

In addition to his National Player of the Year awards, Beasley has been named National Freshman of the Year by four organizations, including CBS Sports.com, Rivals.com, The Sporting News and U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA). He has also been selected a first team All-American by numerous outlets, including CBS Sports.com, Dick Vitale, ESPN.com, Rivals.com, Sports Illustrated, The Sporting News and U.S. Basketball Writers Association. In addition, he was chosen as a first team Freshman All-American by CBS Sports.com and Rivals.com, while teammate Bill Walker was announced to CBS Sports.com's Freshman All-America third team.

The former No. 1 high school recruit posted one of the greatest seasons by freshman in NCAA history, as Beasley averaged 26.2 points on 53.2 percent shooting (307-of-577), including 37.9 percent from 3-point range, with 12.4 rebounds, 1.6 blocks, 1.3 steals and 1.2 assists in 31.5 minutes per game this season. He posted the second-most rebounds (408) by a freshman in NCAA history, trailing just the record of 462 set by Nevada's Pete Padgett in 1972-73, while he collected the third-most points (866) by a freshman behind LSU's Chris Jackson (965; 1988-89) and Texas' Kevin Durant (903; 2006-07). As of the last NCAA ranking, he still was rated among the top-5 in the nation in both scoring (third) and rebounding (first). He leads the nation in five categories, including double-doubles (28), 40-point games (three), 30-point games (13), 20-point, 10-rebound games (23) and 30-point, 10-rebound games (13). He is just the 11th player in NCAA Division I history to post 28 or more double-doubles in a season and the first since Wake Forest's Tim Duncan collected 29 during the 1996-97 season.

Beasley already holds 30 Kansas State career, single-season and freshman records as well as 17 Big 12 single-game and single-season marks. He is both the school's and conference's all-time single-season leader in scoring average (26.2 ppg.) and double-doubles (28), while he owns school single-season marks for points (866), rebounds (408), most 30-point games (13), most 20-point games (26), field goals made (307), free throws made (216) and free throws attempted (279).

Beasley became the second consecutive standout freshman to win both the Big 12 Player and Freshman of the Year accolades from the league coaches. He is the fourth player in school history to be honored as the league's Player of the Year and the first since the inception of the Big 12, joining Lon Kruger (1973 and 1974), Mike Evans (1977 and 1978) and Rolando Blackman (1980). He is also the first player to earn the distinction of league Freshman of the Year and the 12th overall to be selected as either Freshman or Newcomer of the Year since 1970. Beasley has also been named the recipient of both awards by The Associated Press, Kansas City Star and Rivals.com.

Beasley also was one of two players (Texas' D.J. Augustin) to be selected unanimously to the All-Big 12 First Team by the league coaches. He is not only the school's first unanimous first team honoree in the Big 12 era, but also the inaugural first team selection since the league's inception. He is the first player since Steve Henson in 1989 to garner first team accolades from the league coaches. He has also been named first team all-conference by the Kansas City, Dallas Morning News and Rivals.com.

Beasley and teammate Bill Walker became the top scoring tandem (42.3 ppg.) in Big 12 history, topping the 41.9 points by Texas Tech's Cory Carr (23.1 ppg.) and Tony Battie (18.8 ppg.) in 1996-97, and were one of just four nationally to combine for 40 or more points.

Beasley and company helped Kansas State post a 21-12 overall record in 2007-08, including a third-place finish in the Big 12 with a 10-6 mark. The Wildcats advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in nearly 12 years and captured its first NCAA Tournament win since 1988 with their 80-67 victory over USC in the first round of the Midwest Regional in Omaha, Neb., on March 20. The team has now posted back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time in nearly 20 years, while the 10 conference wins tie the 2006-07 squad for the best league record in the Big 12 era. The third-place finish is the best since the inception of the Big 12 and the highest since the 1988-89 team finished third in the Big Eight.


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