Lincoln - For the second straight season, a Husker was honored as the league?s top player, as first baseman Matt Hopper (Golden, Colo.) was chosen as the Dr. Pepper Big 12 Player of the Year on Sunday.
The award, selected by the Big 12 coaches, was announced during Fox Sports Net?s broadcast of the Big 12 tournament title game. The rest of the All-Big 12 team, including other individual honors, will be announced Monday morning.
Hopper carried the Huskers throughout the season, batting .374 with 18 homers and 59 RBIs entering regional play. The first baseman led the league in both homers and slugging percentage (.682), while ranking in the league?s top 10 in nine offensive categories in the latest conference stats. Hopper leads NU in runs scored (64), walks (47), doubles (12) and on-base percentage (.496).
"Matt is reaping the rewards of being a team player for us," Nebraska Coach Mike Anderson said. "Matt put his teammates first all season, and this is his reward for his work. I felt that this honor is very deserving because Matt has been the best player in the conference this season."
The fifth-year senior also holds school and conference career marks in five categories: hits (329); home runs (60); RBIs (264); total bases (570) and runs scored (236). Hopper becomes the Huskers? third conference player-of-the-year honoree, joining Jed Morris (2002) and Darin Erstad (1995).
Hopper was one of two Huskers to receive honors on Sunday, as freshman Alex Gordon (Lincoln, Neb.) was the lone Husker selected to the Big 12 All-Tournament team. The freshman from Lincoln hit .350 (7-for-20) with a homer and nine RBIs during the Huskers? stay in Oklahoma City. On the season, Gordon is batting .325 with six homers and 47 RBIs, while ranking among the conference leaders with a .435 on-base percentage.
The Huskers, 44-16 and Big 12 regular-season champions, have been selected as one of 16 regional host sites and will find out the rest of the field on Monday on the NCAA selection show, which is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. on ESPN2. The Huskers will gather at the Champions Club, across the street from Memorial Stadium for the NCAA announcement.