Oct. 28, 1997

Texas Tech's Thompson Tabbed Tops in BIG 12 Player of the Year Poll

DALLAS - Texas Tech senior Alicia Thompson and Kansas senior Raef LaFrentz are the media choices for the 1997-98 Big 12 preseason players of the year with both guiding their respective teams to conference titles as the league office announces the preseason media poll today.

Thompson is one of three women's first-team all-Big 12 players back from last year, along with Jayme Olson of Iowa State and Anna DeForge of Nebraska. All three are first-team all-Big 12 selections by the media along with Texas center Angela Jackson and Kansas sophomore guard/forward Lynn Pride, the lone non-senior on the first team. A 6-1, Big Lake, Texas, center, Thompson led the Big 12 with a 23.6 scoring average, sixth in the nation, last season in earning honorable mention Kodak All-American honors. Thompson also led the Conference with a 9.8 rebound average and is listed in the top 10 of the preseason Naismith Award.

The women's preseason Big 12 Newcomer of the Year is Texas Tech junior Angie Braziel. The 6-3 Odessa, Texas, post player was an All-American last season while at South Plains College in Levelland, Texas. Preseason freshman of the year by the media is Oklahoma guard Stacey Dales who was a member of the Canadian National Team and guided Thousand Islands Secondary School to a 126-6 record in her three varsity seasons.

On the men's side, LaFrentz was the first Big 12 Player of the Year in 1996-97 and consensus first-team All-America selection led Kansas to a 34-2 record which included the first Conference title as well. Joining LaFrentz on the media preseason all-Big 12 team is junior forward and teammate Paul Pierce, Nebraska guard Tyronn Lue, Texas Tech guard Cory Carr, and Baylor center Brian Skinner. LaFrentz, Pierce, and Carr are listed on the preseason top 10 list for the Naismith Award and you can add Skinner to the list for the preseason Wooden Award honor. The 6-11 forward from Monona, Iowa, Lafrentz is the lone first-team all-Big 12 returnee from last year where he averaged 18.5 points, eighth in the league, and 9.3 rebounds, second.

The media choice for preseason Big 12 Newcomer of the Year is Kansas sophomore Lester Earl. A 6-8 forward who transferred from Louisiana State last spring, Earl averaged 9.3 points and 5.7 rebounds in 11 contests prior to transferring and will eligible Dec. 19. Big 12 Preseason Freshman of the Year is Oklahoma forward Ryan Humphrey. The 6-8 Tulsa, Okla., native averaged 25.1 points and 14.0 rebounds while at Booker T. Washington High School last season.

On the women's side, Texas Tech received all but three of the first-place votes in the media poll with Colorado, which finished second, claiming the other top spots. Texas was third followed by defending champion Kansas. The media see Nebraska fifth and Iowa State sixth in rounding out the top half of the predicted league race. Last year the media chose Texas Tech and Kansas in a dead heat and the Jayhawks won the women's title with the Red Raiders placing fourth. Iowa State and Kansas State were the surprise of the season tying for fifth at seasons end after a preseason rank of eighth and 10th, respectively.

Behind LaFrentz, Pierce, and Earl, Kansas' men's team received every first-place vote in this season's media poll. Oklahoma was second followed by Texas, Nebraska, Iowa State, and Missouri for the top six. Last year, the media successfully picked the first Big 12 men's champion in Kansas with the biggest discrepancy in Colorado. The media chose the Buffs 11th and they finished second. In all, the media chose five of the upper-half finishers from last season.

Men's Basketball 1997-98 Media Poll

1.	Kansas	
2.	Oklahoma	
3.	Texas	
4.	Nebraska	
5.	Iowa State	
6.	Missouri	
7.	Oklahoma State	
8.	Texas Tech	
9.	Colorado	
10.	Baylor	
11.	Texas A&M	
12.	Kansas State

Preseason Player of the Year:
Raef LaFrentz, Kansas

Preseason Freshman of the Year:
Ryan Humphrey, Oklahoma

Preseason Newcomer of the Year:
Lester Earl, Kansas

Big 12 Preseason All-Conference First Team

Raef LaFrentz, Kansas
Paul Pierce, Kansas
Tyronn Lue, Nebraska
Cory Carr, Texas Tech
Brian Skinner, Baylor

Receiving Votes:
Corey Brewer, Oklahoma
Eduardo Najera, Oklahoma
Evan Wiley, Oklahoma
Kris Clack, Texas
Kelly Thames, Missouri
Albert White, Missouri

Women's Basketball 1997-98 Media Poll

1.	Texas Tech	
2.	Colorado	
3.	Texas	
4.	Kansas	
5.	Nebraska	
6.	Iowa State	
7.	Kansas State	
8.	Baylor	
9.	Oklahoma State	
10.	Oklahoma	
11.	Texas A&M	
12.	Missouri

Preseason Player of the Year:
Alicia Thompson, Texas Tech

Preseason Freshman of the Year:
Stacey Dales, Oklahoma

Preseason Newcomer of the Year:
Angie Braziel, Texas Tech

Big 12 Preseason All-Conference First Team

Alicia Thompson, Texas Tech
Anna DeForge, Nebraska
Jayme Olson, Iowa State
Angela Jackson, Texas
Lynn Pride, Kansas

Receiving Votes:
Kacy Moffitt, Baylor
Nicole Palmer, Baylor
Ericka Bradford, Colorado
La Shena Graham, Colorado
Janel Grimm, Iowa State
Nakia Sanford, Kansas
Brit Jacobson, Kansas State
Ewa Laskowska, Kansas State
Kesha Bonds, Missouri
Julie Helm, Missouri
Phylesha Whaley, Oklahoma
Renee Roberts, Oklahoma State
Vanessa Wallace, Texas


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