July 26, 2012
- Baylor women's basketball player Brittney Griner
and quarterback Robert Griffin III
have been named 2011-12 Big 12 Conference Athletes of the Year, the league office announced Thursday.
Nominees are submitted by each Big 12 institution and selected, based on athletic performance, academic achievement and citizenship, by a media panel as well as fan voting conducted through the Big 12's social media sites.
As a junior, Griner led Baylor to an undefeated record en route to Big 12 regular and postseason titles and the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball National Championship. The Lady Bears became the first collegiate basketball team, men's or women's, to finish their season with a 40-0 record. Griner earned unanimous national player of the year and All-America honors as well as ESPY awards for Female Athlete of the Year and college Female Athlete of the Year. She was the Big 12 leader in scoring (23.2 ppg), blocked shots (5.15 bpg) and field goal percentage (.609) while ranking No. 2 in rebounding (9.5 rpg) and No. 6 in free throw percentage (.800). Nationally, she ranked first in blocks, No. 2 in field goal percentage, No. 7 in scoring and No. 37 in rebounding. Griner is the first player in NCAA history to score more than 2,000 career points and block more than 500 shots. She needs 65 rejections as a senior to become the NCAA's all-time blocks leader. Griner currently ranks No. 1 on the Big 12's career blocked shots list (599), No. 2 in triple-doubles (4) and scoring average (21.7), No. 4 in points scored (2,425) and No. 6 in double-doubles (43).
Griner was the Most Outstanding Performer in the 2012 NCAA Women's Final Four, earned the women's basketball Honda Award and won the Wade Trophy, Wooden Award, Naismith Trophy and AP National Player of the Year. She also garnered the USBWA Ann Meyers Drysdale National Player of the Year award, as well as Defensive Player of the Year honors from the WBCA. Griner swept the Big 12 Player and Defensive Player of the Year awards, and was named the Most Outstanding Player in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship. She played on the 2011 European Tour with USA Basketball where she averaged 12.8 points and 7.3 rebounds. Griner holds a streak of 80 straight double-figure scoring games and 110 of 112 over her three-year career. She has seven dunks to her credit, including two during the Lady Bears' 2012 NCAA title run, becoming just the second woman to dunk in NCAA Tournament play.
The Houston native has volunteered in the community with Care Bear Drive, reading to local elementary school students, participating in the Autism walk and the South Bosque basketball clinic.
Griffin III lifted the Baylor football program to new heights and became an ambassador of the University during his four years in Waco. He was awarded the program's first Heisman Trophy and drafted second overall in the 2012 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins. Griffin III also earned the 2011 Davey O'Brien and Manning Awards after leading Baylor to a 10-3 regular-season record, its first bowl win in 19 years and a No. 12 final national ranking. He was a 2011 consensus All-American, Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year and All-Big 12 First Team. During his 41-game career, Griffin III set or tied 54 school records. He led the nation last season in points responsibility (22.15), ranked second in passing efficiency (192.31) and total offense (384.00), was third in completion percentage (72.39), fourth in passing touchdowns (37) and sixth in passing yards (4,293). He is one of three players in FBS history with 10,000-plus passing yards (10,366) and 2,000-plus rushing yards (2,254). Griffin III was honored with a 2011-12 ESPY award for the nation's best male college athlete.
The Copperas Cove, Texas native also excelled in the classroom where he earned second-team 2011 Capital One Academic All-America honors. He was a two-time Academic All-District VI (2010 and 2011) and two-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team member (2010 and 2011). Griffin III was also named to the Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll eight times and was a three-time selection to the Dean's List. He obtained his undergraduate degree in political science from Baylor in December 2010, just three years after enrolling at the university.
In addition to his work on the field and in the classroom, Griffin III was selected 2011-12 Big 12 Male Sportsperson of the Year and was named to the 2011 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team for his service in the community.
Other female candidates for Big 12 Athlete of the Year included Betsy Saina (Iowa State), Diamond Dixon (Kansas), Ryann Krais (Kansas State), Chelsea Thomas (Missouri), Keilani Ricketts (Oklahoma), Natalja Piliusina (Oklahoma State), Bailey Webster (Texas), Breeja Larson (Texas A&M) and Gabby Dominguez (Texas Tech).
Male nominees were Nate McCoy (Iowa State), Thomas Robinson (Kansas), Erik Kynard (Kansas State), Marcus Denmon (Missouri), George Alex (Oklahoma), Andrew Heaney (Oklahoma State), Marquise Goodwin (Texas), Randy Bullock (Texas A&M) and Gonzalo Escobar (Texas Tech).