IRVING, Texas (KWTX) Baylor basketball picked up four Big 12 yearly awards, and a conference-record five Bears were named to All-Big 12 teams, as voted on by the league’s coaches and announced Sunday by the conference office.
Baylor head coach Scott Drew was named Big 12 Coach of the Year, Freddie Gillespie was selected as the league’s Most Improved Player, Devonte Bandoo earned the Sixth Man Award and Davion Mitchell was tabbed Big 12 Newcomer of the Year.
Additionally, all five Baylor starters earned All-Big 12 honors, making Baylor the first team in the league’s 24-year history with five All-Big 12 team selections. Sophomore Jared Butler was one of three unanimous selections to the All-Big 12 First Team, while Teague and Gillespie picked up All-Big 12 Second Team honors. Mitchell and Mark Vital were named to the All-Big 12 Third Team.
Baylor had three players on the five-member Big 12 All-Defensive Team, with Vital being selected unanimously, and Gillespie and Mitchell joining him. Mitchell and Teague were the only unanimous selections on the Big 12 All-Newcomer Team.
Drew’s Big 12 Coach of the Year award is the first by a Baylor coach, and Gillespie was the first Baylor player voted as the league’s Most Improved Player. Bandoo is the fifth Baylor player in the last 12 seasons to earn the league’s Sixth Man Award, joining LaceDarius Dunn (2009), Quincy Acy (2011), Taurean Prince (2015) and Terry Maston (2018), while Mitchell is the Bears’ second player named Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, joining Ekpe Udoh (2010).
Mitchell and Teague being selected to the All-Newcomer team give the Bears five such honors in the last four years, as Manu Lecomte and Jo Lual-Acuil Jr. were named in 2017, and Makai Mason was honored in 2019. The only unanimous selections on the All-Newcomer Team, Mitchell and Teague were joined by Austin Reaves (OU), Jahmi’us Ramsey (TTU) and Oscar Tshiebwe (WVU).
Gillespie, Mitchell and Vital gave the Bears three-fifths of the All-Defensive Team, with Vital a unanimous selection. They were joined by Kansas’ Udoka Azubuike and Marcus Garrett. This is just the second time in program history the Bears have had multiple All-Defensive Team selections, with Lual Acuil Jr. and Ishmail Wainright selected in 2017.
A school-record five players were named to All-Big 12 teams, with Butler on the first team, Teague and Gillespie on the second team and Vital and Mitchell on the third team. Baylor’s previous record for players on All-Big 12 teams was three, which was accomplished in 2010, 2012, 2015 and 2016.
Butler is Baylor’s first All-Big 12 First Team honoree since Johnathan Motley in 2017, and he joins Motley as the only unanimous first-team selections in program history. Butler is the first Baylor underclassman to earn first-team all-conference honors since Terry Teagle was selected to the All-Southwest Conference First Team as a sophomore in 1980.
Teague and Gillespie gave Baylor multiple second-team honorees for the first time since Kenny Chery and Taurean Prince in 2015, which was also the last time Baylor had three players combined among the first and second teams. Vital and Mitchell are the first Baylor teammates to earn third-team honors since Rico Gathers and Motley in 2016.
Butler was joined on the first team by Azubuike and Dotson from Kansas, Kristian Doolittle (OU) and Desmond Bane (TCU). Teague and Gillespie were second-team selections along with Tyrese Haliburton (ISU), Ramsey (TTU) and Tshiebwe (WVU). Mitchell and Vital were joined on the third team by Marcus Garrett (KU), Brady Manek (OU and Matt Coleman (UT).
Mitchell and Teague were All-Newcomer Team selections with Austin Reaves (OU), Ramsey (TTU) and Tshiebwe (WVU).