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February 17, 2009 11:06 AM

Higgins All-Big 12?

Players and coaches in the Big 12 Conference are well aware of CU sophomore Cory Higgins, and now he's getting a measure of richly deserved national recognition.

After Higgins scored a career-best 34 points in CU's overtime loss against Texas last weekend, ESPN gushed that he was the Big 12's most improved player -- which is nowhere close to an overstatement if you scan the league's statistics.

In conference games, Higgins has top seven totals in five categories: He's No. 1 in steals (2.50 a game), No. 2 in free throw percentage (.877) and minutes played (38), No. 4 in scoring (17.9) and No. 7 in field goal percentage (.463).

What kind of argument do those numbers make for Higgins being first-team all-conference?

Pretty strong for CU coach Jeff Bzdelik, who after the loss to Texas called Higgins ``an all-Big 12 player. His leadership is awesome. Losing can beat you up, yet his competitive spirit is there.

``He can score in a variety of ways. He knocks down threes, he can drive the ball and he also gets to the free throw line. He does a lot of great things for this basketball team.''

But as admirable as his stats are, Higgins' attitude is even more so. There's no look-at-me showmanship in his game. He's all-business, no whine. He's as good an overall player as CU has had in a long time.

Will he be a first-team all-Big 12 selection? If his numbers stay up through the end of the regular season, his chances are good.

Of course, it would help, too, if the Buffs win some of those close games they've been losing.


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