Melvin Ejim named Big 12 Player of the Year


Melvin Ejim was Fred Hoiberg’s only four-year player. In 2014, Ejim helped lead Iowa State to its first Sweet 16 appearance since 2000, and earned the Big 12 Player of the Year award. 

Alex Halsted

Throughout Melvin Ejim’s ISU career, the word ‘overlooked’ has often surfaced. That moniker disappeared March 9 as the four-year starter was named Big 12 Player of the Year voted on by the conference’s coaches. 

Ejim finished second in the Big 12 in scoring (18.2 points per game) and tied for second in rebounding (8.6 rebounds per game). After missing Iowa State’s first two games of the season with a hyperextended left knee, Ejim went on to score in double figures in 25 of 28 games.

The 6-foot-6 forward from Toronto, Ontario set a Big 12 record for points scored in a game when he scored 48 against TCU on Feb. 8 at Hilton Coliseum. Ejim finished the regular season 12th all-time in ISU history with 1,547 points and third with 1,007 rebounds as the fourth seed in the Big 12 Championship awaits the Cyclones in Kansas City on Thursday.

“He’s in the gym all the time. He works really hard on his craft and his game and it speaks volumes and it shows,” said ISU sophomore Georges Niang last week of Ejim. “He’s obviously out there putting up huge numbers and he’s rebounding like he was last year. For him not to be a serious candidate for Big 12 Player of the Year would be crazy.”

In the end, Ejim turned out not only to be a candidate, but the frontrunner.

Ejim became the fourth player in Big 12 history to reach 1,500 points and 1,000 rebounds in a career.

The Big 12 Player of the Year award makes Ejim the first ISU player since Jamaal Tinsley in 2000-01 to win the award. He joins Tinsley and Marcus Fizer (1999-00) as the only Cyclones to win the award in the 18-year history of the Big 12.

“It’s one of the best things that ever happened to this program is to have Melvin Ejim in a Cyclone uniform for four years,” said ISU coach Fred Hoiberg last week.