After two big wins kept Kansas in a tie for first place entering the final week of the season, KU senior Elijah Johnson and redshirt freshman Ben McLemore have been chosen as the latest winners of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Player and Rookie of the Week, in a vote by a media panel which covers the league, the conference office announced Monday. Johnson is named for the first time in his career, while McLemore earned top rookie for the third time.
Johnson averaged 25.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 8.5 assists in the Kansas wins over Iowa State (108-96 in overtime) and West Virginia (91-65). The Las Vegas, Nev., guard began the week with a stellar performance in Ames, finishing with a career-high 39 points – the most for a KU player since January 5, 1991. He scored eight points in the final 35.7 seconds to help tie the game and then contributed a school OT record 12 points in the extra session. Johnson followed that with his second career double-double by posting 12 points and a career-high tying 10 assists versus WVU. He shot 56.7 percent in the two games, including 64.3 percent from 3-point range, while making 8-of-8 from the free throw line.
McLemore averaged 21.5 points and 5.0 rebounds while shooting 66.7 percent from the field in the two victories. The St. Louis, Mo., guard’s top performance came versus the Mountaineers, as he finished with 36 points on 12-of-15 shooting, including 5-of-6 from 3-point range. The point total set a Kansas freshman record and he became just the fifth Big 12 freshman in league history to score 36 points or better in a game. McLemore has three outings with 30 points or more this year – all against Big 12 opponents. He has scored 20 points or more eight times in 2012-13.
Historically, this is the second time, with both by Kansas, a school from the Big 12 Conference has had four different players named its Player of the Week during the same season. Besides Johnson, McLemore has earned player of the week once, senior center Jeff Withey three times and senior Travis Releford once in 2012-13. In 2011-12, Withey, Releford, Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor were named Big 12 Player of the Week during the season.
— KU Sports Information —