Frank Haith is the first Tiger head coach since 1994 to take home AP Conference Coach of the Year honors.
March 5, 2012
COLUMBIA, Mo. - Mizzou men's basketball head coach Frank Haith has been named Big 12 Coach of the Year by the Associated Press, as announced on Monday (March 5). Also, five Tigers earned spots on the AP All-Big 12 teams, highlighted by Marcus Denmon who was selected to the first team. Phil Pressey and Ricardo Ratliffe were each named to the All-Big 12 second team and Michael Dixon, Jr. and Kim English were named to the All-Big 12 honorable mention team.
Haith, in his first year as head coach of the Tigers', has guided the team to a regular season school record win total of 27 games against just four losses. He helped the Tigers earn three wins over top-10 teams and guided the Tigers to a 14-4 mark in Big 12 play, earning Mizzou second place in the league, which is its best finish in league play since 1998-99 when the team finished tied for second in the Big 12 with an 11-5 mark.
The accomplishments by Haith's Tigers are even more remarkable considering Mizzou lost All-Big 12 forward Laurence Bowers to a torn ACL in the preseason, leaving the Tigers with just seven scholarship players for much of the season. Haith was the first Tiger coach since 1920-21 to win his first 14 games as a head coach at Mizzou. Haith is the first Mizzou head coach since 1994 to earn AP Conference Coach of the Year and he is the first ever Tiger coach to earn AP Big 12 Coach of the Year. Norm Stewart was the last Tiger head coach to win AP Conference Coach of the Year when he took home the Big Eight honor in 1994.
Denmon was named to the AP All-Big 12 first team just one day after earning All-Big 12 first team honors from the league office. He leads the Tigers and ranks second in the Big 12 Conference in scoring at 18.0 ppg. The senior also ranks second in the league in free throw percentage (.888) and 3-point field goals made (2.94), third in steals (1.55), seventh in 3-point field goal percentage (.419) and pulls down an impressive 5.1 rpg. In his Mizzou career, Denmon has amassed 1,714 points, which ranks sixth all-time on the school scoring list. He also ranks first all-time at Mizzou in games played (137, tied with teammate Kim English), second in 3-point field goals (274) and 3-point field goals attempted (667), sixth all-time in steals (172), ninth in field goals made (574) and field goals attempted (1,255). Additionally, his 91 3-pointers made this season ranks fifth on MU's single-season list.
Ratliffe earned a spot on the second team after one of the most efficient seasons in Missouri history. The senior averages 13.8 ppg. and 7.5 rpg. while shooting 70.8 percent from the floor. Ratliffe, who currently holds Mizzou's all-time field goal percentage record (.638) will also break the single-season field goal percentage mark if he keeps up his current pace. He ranks first in the Big 12 in field goal percentage and offensive rebounds (3.1), fourth in rebounds, seventh in defensive rebounds (4.35) and10th in scoring and blocks (1.0). On the season, Ratliffe has seven double-doubles, including four in his last eight games.
Pressey, who earned second-team honors, leads the Big 12 in both assists (6.2) and steals (2.1), while ranking second in assist-turnover ratio (2.45), to go along with averages of 9.6 ppg. and 3.3 rpg. The sophomore already holds Missouri's single-season assist record with his 191 this year and is only 24 assists away from entering Mizzou's career top-10 despite only two years in a Tiger uniform. Additionally, Pressey's 65 steals this season ranks as the fifth best single-season output in program history. He needs 11 more to tie the single-season record of 76, set by Lynn Hardy in 1986-87. Pressey also holds Mizzou the single-season record for most 10-assist games (six) and stands as the only Tiger to post at least seven assists in four straight games.
English was named AP Honorable mention All-Big 12 in what is his most complete season in Black & Gold. The senior ranks second on the squad with 14.1 ppg., while shooting a career high 50.0 percent from the field and 45.3 percent from the 3-point line, all while playing out of position all season. English ranks second in the Big 12 in 3-point field goal percentage and eighth in scoring, 3-pointers made (2.19) and steals (1.29). In his career, he ranks 13th all-time in scoring (1,499), first in games played (137), fourth in 3-point field goals attempted (586) and fifth in 3-point field goals made (229).
Dixon earns honorable mention accolades as he is the nation's most productive sixth man, averaging 13.3 points per game, tops among all sixth men nationally. He has been on a tear in the second half of league play, averaging 16.6 points per game over his last 10 contests, including 21 three separate occasions. In Big 12 games only, Dixon ranks 13th in scoring at 13.8 ppg, is 10th in assists, fourth in FT% and fourth in assist-turnover ratio. Overall, he is 12th in the Big 12 in scoring (13.3) and first in FT% and fourth in assist-turnover margin.
For all the latest on Mizzou basketball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MizzouHoops.
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