Kansas trio earns preseason Big 12 honors

IRVING, Texas (KU) - Kansas' Dedric Lawson, Quentin Grimes and Udoka Azubuike each garnered recognition on the 2018-19 Preseason All-Big 12 Team as voted on by the league's men's basketball coaches, the conference office announced Wednesday.

Lawson was named the 2018-19 Preseason Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, while Grimes was dubbed the league's preseason freshman of the year. Lawson was also a preseason all-conference first-team selection, while Azubuike and Grimes secured preseason honorable mention honors. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own student-athletes in the selection process.

Joining Lawson on the five-member 2018-19 Preseason All-Big 12 Team are: Lindell Wigginton (Iowa State), Barry Brown Jr. (Kansas State), Dean Wade (Kansas State) and Sagaba Konate (West Virginia). In addition to Azubuike and Grimes, student-athletes receiving votes and thus honorable mention included: Cameron Lard (Iowa State), Alex Robinson (TCU), Kerwin Roach II (Texas), Jericho Sims (Texas) and Jarrett Culver (Texas Tech).

Lawson is the second-straight, and fourth Jayhawk all-time, to be the league's preseason newcomer of the year. The Memphis, Tennessee, forward sat out last season after transferring from Memphis and will be a redshirt junior. As a sophomore for the Tigers in 2016-17, Lawson averaged 19.2 points and 9.9 rebounds, amassing 19 double-doubles.

Grimes is a five-star combo guard who made his rounds on the all-star game circuit following his senior year at College Park High School in The Woodlands, Texas. Ranked No. 8 in the national recruiting services, he averaged 29.5 points, 8.6 rebounds and 4.9 assists his senior season, earning the 2017-18 Texas Gatorade Player of the Year, Texas Mr. Basketball and the 6A Player of the Year honors. This past summer, Grimes was the Most Valuable Player and an All-Tournament selection at the 2018 FIBA Americas U18 Championships in leading USA to the gold medal, where he averaged 14.7 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.8 assists. The USA squad was coached by KU head coach Bill Self.

Azubuike led the nation and broke the Kansas and Big 12 single-season field goal percentage record at 77.0 percent in 2017-18. The Delta, Nigeria, center was an All-Big 12 Third Team selection who averaged 13.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.7 blocked shots per game last season as a sophomore. Azubuike was also honored by his work in the classroom, being named to the Academic All-Big 12 Second Team.

Preseason top-5 in most publications, Kansas returns two starters and six letterwinners from last season's 31-8 team which won an NCAA-record-breaking 14th-straight regular-season conference title and advanced to KU's 15th all-time Final Four. The 2017-18 Jayhawks won the Miami Hoophall Invitational title and the postseason Big 12 Championship and entered the 2018 NCAA Tournament as a No. 1 seed. KU opens exhibition play by hosting Emporia State on Thursday, Oct. 25 at 7 p.m., in Allen Fieldhouse. Tickets are available at KUAthletics.com.

2018-19 Big 12 Preseason Honors
Preseason Player of the Year - Dean Wade, Kansas State
Preseason Newcomer of the Year - DEDRIC LAWSON, KANSAS
Preseason Freshman of the Year - QUENTIN GRIMES, KANSAS

Preseason All-Big 12 Team
Lindell Wigginton, Iowa State
DEDRIC LAWSON, KANSAS
Barry Brown Jr., Kansas State
Dean Wade, Kansas State (unanimous selection)
Sagaba Konate, West Virginia

Honorable Mention (listed alphabetically by school):
Cameron Lard (Iowa State), UDOKA AZUBUIKE (KANSAS), QUENTIN GRIMES (KANSAS), Alex Robinson (TCU), Kerwin Roach II (Texas), Jericho Sims (Texas), Jarrett Culver (Texas Tech)

Kansas' Preseason Big 12 Newcomer of the Year Selections
2008-09 - Mario Little
2013-14 - Tarik Black
2017-18 - Malik Newman
2018-19 - Dedric Lawson

Kansas' Preseason Big 12 Freshman of the Year Selections
1999-2000 - Nick Collison
2003-04 - David Padgett (co)
2005-06 - Julian Wright
2010-11 - Josh Selby
2013-14 - Andrew Wiggins
2014-15 - Cliff Alexander (co)
2015-16 - Cheick Diallo
2018-19 - Quentin Grimes