IRVING, Texas Baylor redshirt senior forward Freddie Gillespie has been tabbed Big 12 Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Week, as voted on by a panel of media members and announced Monday by the league office.
A St. Paul, Minn., native, Gillespie picked up his career-first Big 12 weekly award. He joins Jared Butler (Nov. 25) to give the Bears multiple Big 12 Player of the Week winners for the ninth consecutive season.
Gillespie led the Bears to a marquee win against No. 12 Arizona Saturday at the Ferrell Center. He posted career-highs of 17 points, 13 rebounds, 5 blocks and 36 minutes played. He was key to Baylor’s interior defense which limited Arizona to a .269 field goal percentage, the Wildcats’ lowest mark since at least 2000.
A former walk-on who transferred to Baylor after two years at Division III Carleton College, Gillespie also posted 13 rebounds and 5 blocks in a midweek win over Maryland Eastern Shore.
Gillespie has ascended from playing 16 minutes over the entire season in his freshman year at Carleton to starting 17 of the last 20 games for one of the Big 12’s top teams. Just a year ago, he was in the middle of a stretch when he saw playing time in only one of the Bears’ nine games, including Baylor’s win at Arizona on Dec. 15, 2018, which was his fourth consecutive game missed.
Gillespie has started all eight games this season and ranks 17th nationally and first in Big 12 in offensive rebounding (3.9 per game), ranks second in the Big 12 in double-doubles (4), third in rebounding (9.1 per game), fourth in blocks (2.4 per game), seventh in steals (1.9 per game) and 13th in free throw percentage (.724).
All told, Baylor has had 33 Big 12 Player of the Week winners in the last 13 seasons after earning seven honors in the league’s first 11 seasons. Gillespie is the 24th different Baylor player to earn Big 12 Player of the Week honors, and those players have combined to win the award 40 times in the league’s 24-year history.
No. 11 Baylor again hosts a top-20 matchup at the Ferrell Center Tuesday, as No. 18 Butler heads to Waco for the inaugural Big 12/Big East Battle. It’s the fifth home non-conference matchup of ranked teams in program history and the second in a four-day span. The game tips off at 8 p.m. CT on ESPN2.