Before the Big 12 begins conference play, we'll break down the best of each class Monday through Thursday then reveal our All Preconference First and Second teams on Friday. Come back each day to see who the best going into Big 12 play are.
Betcha didn't see that coming. The man next on this list is no doubt having an All-American type year, but what Pledger means to the Sooners and their early success is greater than what Robinson means to his team. Pledger has responded well after missing the season opener for a secondary NCAA violation. He's posted career highs in points (19.8), rebounds (4.0), assists (1.8), steals (1.4), field-goal shooting (.575) and three-point shooting (.490). The Sooners will go as far as their star junior takes them.
Before the season started, many believed Robinson would step in to a starting spot and be a national player of the year candidate. And T-Rob is doing just that. It's tough for his opponents to deal with his athletic 6-foot-9, 237 pound frame because he can score around the rim and box them out for almost every rebound. Robinson has also scored at least 10 points in each game this season.
Baylor's off to a perfect start to the season, and on a team that's as stacked as they are, it's tough to pinpoint one reason why they've been good all year long. One could be Pierre Jackson. The first glimpse into his potential was the San Diego State game in November. That day he had nine assists in just 25 minutes of play. After that, Scott Drew increased Jackson's playing time and saw him score in double figures in each of the next six contests. Jackson scored 23 and played 38 minutes in Friday night's overtime win against West Virginia.
Like Jackson, Dixon plays on a team blessed with an assortment of talented guards. He averages a not-too-shabby 13 points a game but that's only good for fourth on the Tigers. Last week, Dixon was nominated for the Bob Cousy Award, which is given to the nation's top point guard. One downside of his is that he isn't as lethal from three this year, but hopefully that gets better as Mizzou rolls into the start of conference play.
It's been a rough start to the year for the Aggies, who were voted to win a share of the conference by Big 12 coaches. Though Middleton has started just four games, but we saw how well he played in his sophomore season. Once he gets back to full strength, him and the Aggies can salvage their season and possibly finish in the top four of the conference.
Who is your Junior of the Preconference?
Steven Pledger (13 votes)
Thomas Robinson (34 votes)
Pierre Jackson (14 votes)
Mike Dixon Jr. (36 votes)
Khris Middleton (1 vote)
98 total votes