Kansas State Wildcats coach Jerome Tang and senior guard Markquis Nowell, and Kansas Jayhawks junior forward Jalen Wilson all received national recognition during Final Four weekend.
Tang was named the Naismith Men’s Coach of the Year, while Nowell and Wilson both received individual position awards from the Basketball Hall of Fame. Nowell is this year’s winner of the Bob Cousy Award for the nation’s best point guard, and Wilson is this year’s Julius Erving Award recipient for the best small forward.
This is just the third time a Kansas State coach has been named the national coach of the year, joining Tex Winter in 1958 and Jack Hartman in 1980. He’s also just the fourth Big 12 coach to ever win the honor. Tang, who lost out on the AP College Basketball Coach of the Year award to Marquette’s Shaka Smart, took the Wildcats to the Elite Eight in his first year with the program, the farthest a K-State team has ever gone with a first-year coach. Smart, Purdue’s Matt Painter and Houston’s Kelvin Sampson were the other finalists.
Nowell capped off a memorable end-of-season run by winning the award for the country’s best point guard. He was the Most Outstanding Player of the East region in the NCAA tournament despite K-State not winning the region, and for the season he posted 17.6 points and 8.3 assists per game on his way to third-team All-America recognition.
Wilson capped off one of the most accomplished individual seasons in Kansas history by receiving the Erving Award. The unanimous Big 12 Player of the Year and a consensus first-team All-American, Wilson led the conference in scoring and rebounding this season and is just the third player in the Bill Self era at KU to average more than 20 points per game. He was also a finalist for the Naismith Men’s Player of the Year Award.