Oklahoma junior forward Kristian Doolittle has been named the Big 12’s Most Improved Player for the 2018-19 college basketball season.
This is the inaugural season for this conference honor, voted on by the Big 12 head coaches.
After averaging 7.2 points and 5.8 rebounds during the Sooners’ nonconference schedule, the junior from nearby Edmond, Oklahoma, ramped it up to lead Oklahoma during conference play. During the Sooners’ 18-game conference schedule, Doolittle averaged a team-high 13.9 points and 7.8 rebounds along with 2.1 assists per game.
Doolittle is the only Big 12 player, according to the OU athletic department, to average at least 13.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists in Big 12 competition this season. His best stretch during the season came at exactly the right time, as far as the Sooners were concerned. Doolittle averaged at least 14.0 points in his last six games, including a game-high 24-point, 11-rebound performance in Oklahoma’s 81-68 win over Kansas last week.
A couple of other Sooners were also honored in the Big 12 postseason award announcement. Senior guard Christian James was named to the All-Big 12 Third Team along with Doolittle, and sophomore Brady Manek was named All Big 12 Honorable Mention. It was the first all-conference recognition for all three players.
James led the Sooners in scoring during the regular season, averaging 14.5 points and 6.4 rebounds. Manek also averaged in double figures in scoring for the season (11.4 points per game).
Jaret Culver of Texas Tech was voted Player of the Year in the Big 12. Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard is Coach of the Year, Kansas State’s Barry Brown, Jr. is Defensive Player of the Year; Kansas’ Dedric Lawson is Newcomer of the Year; Jaxson Hayes of Texas, Freshman of the Year, and Lindell Wigginton of Iowa State is Sixth Man of the Year.