OU'S M'Baye Big 12 preseason newcomer of the year

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Updated: 10/04/2012 10:54 pm Published: 10/04/2012 10:51 pm

NORMAN, Okla. -- Big 12 head men's basketball coaches have chosen University of Oklahoma junior forward Amath M'Baye as the league's preseason newcomer of the year, the conference announced Thursday.

M'Baye, a 6-9, 215-pounder from Bordeaux, France, is a transfer who played his freshman and sophomore seasons at Wyoming. He started all 31 games as a sophomore in 2010-11, averaging 12.0 points and a team-high 5.7 rebounds while shooting .475 from the field in an average of 30.3 minutes per outing. He added 29 blocks and 22 steals.

As a freshman, M'Baye played in 21 games (all off the bench) and averaged 5.6 points and 3.2 boards in an average of 19.9 minutes.

A high-level athlete, M'Baye's strengths are considered to be his work ethic and the number of ways he can impact a game.

"Amath's versatility is probably what will pose the biggest challenge for opponents," said second-year OU head coach Lon Kruger. "He's mobile for a 6-9 guy, allowing him to go out to the perimeter. But he's also big enough to take a smaller guy in the mid post and score over him. So just that versatility of being able to do different things on the floor makes him tough to defend.

"Plus, he competes hard, has a passion for the game, is a good leader and takes care of business in every way."

Earlier this week, M'Baye's teammates voted him as the squad's best overall athlete, hardest worker, best dunker and most likely to star in the NBA.

The Big 12's five-member all-conference team was also announced Thursday. While no Sooners made the all-league squad, seniors Romero Osby and Steven Pledger were among the six other players who received votes. Osby is the Big 12's leading returning rebounder (7.3 rpg) while Pledger is the league's leading returning scorer (16.2 ppg).

The Preseason All-Big 12 Team consists of Baylor's Pierre Jackson (Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year), Kansas' Jeff Withey, Kansas State's Rodney McGruder, Oklahoma State's LeBryan Nash and Texas' Myck Kabongo. Joining Osby and Pledger as honorable mention selections were Baylor's Isaiah Austin, Kansas' Elijah Johnson, Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart (Preseason Big 12 Freshman of the Year) and Texas' Sheldon McClellan. Coaches were not allowed to vote on their own players.

The Big 12 preseason poll will be announced next week.

The Sooners play their first exhibition game Friday, Nov. 2, against Washburn at Lloyd Noble Center.

Story courtesy of OU media relations.

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