All season long, there were two themes as far as the Missouri men's basketball team and Big 12 awards were concerned.
All year, senior forward DeMarre Carroll continued to preach and promote his teammate, junior guard J.T. Tiller, for Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year. At the same time, teammates tried to espouse Carroll's candidacy for the All-Big 12 First Team.
Mission accomplished. On Sunday, the Big 12 released its season awards, with five different Tigers being awarded in some form or fashion. The awards are voted on by Big 12 coaches, who are not allowed to vote for their own players.
Just like he locked down most of the Big 12's top guards in conference play, Tiller locked down Co-Defensive Player of the Year honors with Kansas center Cole Aldrich. Tiller becomes the first Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year in Missouri history, and was also named to the Big 12's All-Defensive Team, on which he was the only unanimous selection.
Carroll, meanwhile, secured his place on the All-Big 12 First Team, becoming the first Tiger to do so since Kareem Rush in 2002. The senior forward known as "The Junkyard Dog" led Missouri with 17.1 points per game and 7.3 rebounds per game this season. Carroll, a graduate student, was also named to the Academic All-Big 12 Team last week.
Senior forward Leo Lyons finished his last regular season as a Tiger by earning a spot on the All-Big 12 Third Team. Lyons had a career-high 30 points in a win over Baylor earlier this season.
Senior guard Matt Lawrence shared Big 12 Sixth Man of the Year honors with Baylor's LaceDarius Dunn. Lawrence started earlier in the season before ceding his starting 3-spot to freshman Kim English. Lawrence reached double figures in points five times in conference play.
In his first season since transferring from Delaware, junior guard Zaire Taylor earned a spot on the Big 12 All-Rookie Team. In addition to pacing the Missouri offense at the point and earning much praise from coaches for his defense, Taylor's 2008-09 season will best be remembered by his game-winning shots against Texas and Kansas.
While there had been some talk of Missouri coach Mike Anderson's candidacy for Big 12 Coach of the Year, the award ultimately went to Kansas coach Bill Self. Self guided Kansas to a share of the Big 12 regular season title despite losing all five starters from his national championship-winning team from a year ago.
The full Big 12 press release and list of awards is available at Big12Sports.com.