2023-24 Heartland College Sports Edition

Heartland College Sports – An Independent Big 12 Today Blog

The Big 12 men’s basketball regular season was filled with tremendous performances and some of the best players in the country.

That’s why I’ve put together the Heartland College Sports All-Big 12 team for the 2023-24 season.

Our superlative team can be found here, and we will reference it throughout. While I don’t have a vote on the Big 12 media team, our team is put together like the coaches’ team, with five players each on the first, second and third teams.

 

You may or may not agree with my team. That’s ok. These players will settle things on the floor in Kansas City. And I’ll be all week if you want to argue about it (just buy me some Big 12 Eats). Or better yet hit the HCS Message Boards. I’m all for healthy debate.

Here is the All-Big 12 Men’s Basketball team.

First Team

G Jamal Shead, Houston

G Tamin Lipsey, Iowa State

G Max Abmas, Texas

G Pop Isaacs, Texas Tech

C Hunter Dickinson, Kansas

Notes: I’m leaving a lot of great players off this first team, but If I have to go play one game with five players in this conference, this is my five.

Shead (13.2 points, 3.9 rebounds, 6.2 assists) was the HCS Player of the Year and it was well-deserved. He led Houston to its first Big 12 regular-season crown and is in the mix for national player of the year honors. Lipsey (12.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4.8 assists) was probably the conference’s most improved player and one of its best defensive players, as he also averaged 2.8 steals per game.

Abmas (16.8 points, 2.9 rebounds, 4.3 assists) was critical in keeping the Longhorns afloat during tough stretches of Big 12 play. As he scored, he moved up the NCAA’s all-time career scoring list and is now in the Top 10. Isaacs (16.0 points, 3.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists) built on his solid freshman season and became the focal point of the Red Raiders’ offense under first-year coach Grant McCasland.  

Dickinson (18.0 points, 10.8 rebounds) is the only big man on the first team and was named our Newcomer of the Year. He was the only Big 12 player to average a double-double this season. His status is iffy for the Big 12 Tournament due to a injury suffered against Houston on Saturday.

 

Second Team

G RayJ Dennis, Baylor

G L.J. Cryer, Houston

G Tylor Perry, Kansas State

G Kevin McCullar Jr., Kansas

G Jaxson Robinson, BYU

Notes: Yep, all guards. And I’m not apologizing. If you haven’t been watching the Big 12 is a guard-driven conference. The influx of the four new teams only reinforced it.

Dennis (13.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 6.7 assists) could have been the HCS Newcomer of the Year. He also could have been a first-team selection, but the guard play in this conference is so strong that Baylor’s top perimeter player ended up on the second team. Same goes for a former Bear, Cryer (15.7 points, 2.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists), who helped ease the Cougars’ transition into the Big 12. He’s still one of the best 3-point shooters in the league.

Perry (15.2 points, 3.0 rebounds, 4.5 assists) was perhaps the best second-half player in the conference. There were times he was flat unstoppable in the back half of a game. Without him Kansas State’s season might have gone totally in the ground. McCullar (18.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.1 assists) probably suffers a bit here due to his injuries in the final few weeks of the season. But his game has progressed to the point where he should be an NBA Draft pick in June.

Robinson (13.9 points, 2.5 rebounds) barely started any games for BYU, but if you’re looking at a player that provided something indispensable to his team, it was Robinson. He was instant offense for the 3-point shooting reliant Cougars and his previous high major experience at Arkansas was invaluable.

 

Third Team

G Jaylin Sellers, UCF

G Ja’Kobe Walter, Baylor

G Keshon Gilbert, Iowa State

G Javian McCollum, Oklahoma

G Darrion Williams, Texas Tech

Notes: The guard depth in this conference this year was insane. Sellers (16.0 points, 3.5 rebounds) emerged as a perfect fit for the league and for UCF. Watching him develop into a potential first-team performer next season is going to be fun. He’s much closer than you think. Walter (14.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists) was the HCS Freshman of the Year and helped fuel Baylor’s success this season. He could be in the NBA next fall.

Gilbert (13.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.2 assists) proved to be the perfect complement to Lipsey, both on offense and on defense. He emerged as the Cyclones’ perfect second perimeter option in Big 12 play. McCollum (13.3 points, 2.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists) was Oklahoma’s indispensable player. Without him, the Sooners don’t spend most of the season in the Top 25.

Williams (11.6 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists) was the Big 12’s third-leading rebounder this season, an intriguing stat for a guard. But he was also Tech’s best 3-point shooter, as he fired 47.1% from distance and gave the team an element it hasn’t had in quite some time. When he gets hot, nothing stops him.  

All-Freshman Team

G Ja’Kobe Walter, Baylor

F Eric Dailey Jr., Oklahoma State

G Jizzle James, Cincinnati

F Johnny Furphy, Kansas

C Yves Missi, Baylor

Notes: Aside from Walter, James — the son of NFL Hall of Famer Edgerrin James — averaged 7.8 points and 2.1 assists and showed flashes of the player he will be at Cincinnati the next few seasons. Dailey (9.3 points, 4.7 rebounds) was one of the best of a talented group of freshmen that could help Oklahoma State bounce back next season — if coach Mike Boynton Jr. can keep everyone together. Furphy (9.0 points, 4.6 rebounds) gave the Jayhawks some unexpected juice in January and could be headed for the NBA after one season. Same goes for Missi (10.9 points, 5.6 rebounds), who is raw but at times was dominant inside for Baylor.

All-Defensive Team

G Tamin Lipsey, Iowa State

G Jamal Shead, Houston

G Darius Johnson, UCF

G Jameer Nelson Jr., TCU

C Ibrahima Diallo, UCF

Notes: The new Big 12 teams can play some defense. Shead averaged 2.3 steals per game. Johnson averaged 2.3 steals per game. Along with Nelson (2.1) and Lipsey (2.8), they were the only players in the league to average two more steals per game. Diallo was a force in the paint for the Knights, averaging a league-leading 1.8 blocked shots per game.  

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.