The number 1, and all its connotations, continues to be attached to Oklahoma pitcher Jonathan Gray.
Ace. Friday night starter. Leader.
And then there's the big No. 1 — the potential top overall pick in the Major League Baseball Draft.
Gray stands first, too, on The Oklahoman's annual All-Big 12 Team, fronting the rotation and taking the honor of Pitcher of the Year.
The 2013 All-Big 12 Team is dominated by Wildcats, following Kansas State's first-ever run to the conference regular season championship. Three 'Cats make the roster, including Player of the Year Jared King, while Brad Hill is Coach of the Year and pitcher Jake Matthys is Freshman of the Year.
Still, quite often, the Big 12 was dominated by Gray.
At 8-2, the big right-hander tied for the conference lead in wins. Opponents batted .188 against him, again the best in the Big 12.
And his power pitcher reputation is fully recognizable in his conference best 10.25 strikeouts per nine innings, the result of 115 whiffs in 101 innings.
“Not only can he throw 100 mph,” said teammate Dillon Overton, “but his presence on the mound is just unbelievable.”
Yeah, there's that, too.
“My gosh, that guy is pretty special,” Oklahoma State coach Josh Holliday said after his team won a game started by Gray. “I can't wait to watch him continue his career. He's a very gifted kid.”
Gray's next career stop is all but certain: professional baseball.
Most draft analysts have Gray going either No. 1 to Houston, or No. 2 to the Chicago Cubs. And no lower.
At ESPN.com, analyst Keith Law's first mock draft had Gray going off the board first.
“I haven't had one like him,” said Sooners coach Sunny Golloway. “I will tell you that point blank.”
Could Bedlam happen in the tournament?
Bedlam at the Big 12 Tournament?
Only for the championship.
Oklahoma and Oklahoma State will bookend the opening day of the Big 12 Tournament, playing in opposite sides of the bracket.
The No. 4-seeded Sooners are in the 9 a.m. game Wednesday, facing No. 5 Baylor.
The Cowboys, the No. 2 seed, face No. 7 TCU at 7:30 p.m.
OSU dropped its regular-season series with the Horned Frogs, losing two of three games in Fort Worth. OU also lost its series with Baylor, losing two of three in Waco.
The tournament features two, double-elimination brackets, with each producing one team for Sunday's championship game. The Sooners and Bears are in with No. 1 Kansas State and No. 8 Texas Tech. The Cowboys and Frogs are in with No. 3 West Virginia and No. 6 Kansas.
Big 12 Tournament
When: Wednesday through Sunday
Where: Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark
Tickets: All-session seats range from $87 to $202; weekend passes are $67. Single-session tickets are also available by calling the Oklahoma City RedHawks Box office at (405) 218-1000 or by visiting Big12Sports.com