Doolittle Named Big 12 Most Improved Player
NORMAN – The Big 12 Conference named University of Oklahoma junior forward Kristian Doolittle the recipient of the inaugural Big 12 Most Improved Player Award on Sunday. Doolittle was also named to the All-Big 12 Third Team alongside senior guard Christian James while sophomore forward Brady Manek received All-Big 12 Honorable Mention recognition.
The official All-Big 12 awards are selected by the league's head coaches, who are not allowed to vote for their own players.
Kristian Doolittle - Most Improved Player, All-Big 12 Third Team
Doolittle led the Sooners throughout conference play with team-high Big 12 averages of 13.9 points and 7.8 rebounds to go with 2.1 assists. He was the only Big 12 player to average at least 13.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists in league competition.
The forward won the league's inaugural improvement-based honor after averaging only 2.9 points and 4.3 rebounds in 2017-18 and 7.2 points and 5.8 boards during this season's non-conference stretch. He closed the regular season by reaching 14 points in the last six straight games (17.3 points per game in that stretch), highlighted by a 24-point, 11-rebound performance on Tuesday against Kansas. Overall this season, he is averaging 11.0 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 31 games.
Christian James - All-Big 12 Third Team
Earning his first on-court conference honor, James has led Oklahoma’s scoring efforts this season with averages of 14.5 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.2 steals and 2.0 made 3-pointers. James has scored at least 10 points in all but six contests – including seven games of 20 points. The guard has produced six double-doubles, which rank fourth most in the Big 12 this season.
With career totals of 1,165 points and 507 rebounds, James is just the seventh guard in program history to eclipse 1,000 points and 500 boards. He also owns the 11th-most made 3-pointers in OU history with 168.
Brady Manek - All-Big 12 Honorable Mention
Manek, also earning his first all-conference recognition, is averaging 11.7 points and 6.1 rebounds while shooting .458 from the field and .355 from behind the arc. The Harrah, Okla., native has totaled 688 points in his career thus far. Should he reach 700 career points this year, he would be just the 10th Sooners to reach that total before the end of their sophomore season.
James and Manek were also recently named to the 2019 Academic All-Big 12 First Team.
All three of OU's All-Big 12 honorees are averaging at least 11 points and six rebounds. Only six other players in the league are putting up those same numbers and no other Big 12 team has multiple players boasting 11 points and six boards.