West Virginia University men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins held a press conference Monday morning ahead of the team’s matchup with No. 3 Baylor on Tuesday. Among other things, Huggins was asked what he thought of Baylor guard Jared Butler.
Butler, a junior, is near the top of the Big 12 in several statistical categories. Fifth in scoring (16.4 points per game), third in shooting (48.3%), first in 3-point shooting (43.4%), third in assists (4.9 per game) and first in steals (2.3 per game). Many people view Butler as the leading favorite to be named the Big 12 Player of the Year, but Huggins is not so quick to hand him the award just yet.
“First of all, I’m not ready to give him the player of the year,” Huggins said. “I think the guy that we have that’s averaging a double-double and has dominated the league has got a pretty good shot at it as well.”
Huggins is referring to WVU junior Derek Culver, who has separated himself as perhaps the best forward in the Big 12 this season. Like Butler, Culver is near the top of the conference leader board in several categories. Ninth in scoring (15 points per game), first in rebounding by a large margin (10.1 per game), second in field goal percentage (49.6%) and first in double-doubles (11).
Other contenders for Big 12 Player of the Year figure to be Oklahoma State’s Cade Cunningham (who will almost certainly win freshman of the year), Oklahoma’s Austin Reaves, Texas Tech’s Mac McClung and Kansas’s David McCormack.