U.S. Basketball Writers Association National Players of the Week

INDIANAPOLIS (USBWA) – The U.S. Basketball Writers Association has named five Oscar Robertson National Players of the Week for games of the week ending Sunday, Jan. 21.

For the 2023-24 season, the USBWA has expanded its national player of the week program that has been affiliated with the Oscar Robertson Trophy since the 2009-10 season. In past seasons, the USBWA has recognized just one player each week.

Each Tuesday during the regular season, designated USBWA board members will select five standouts from the 32 Division I conference players of the week to be recognized. This week’s selections were chosen from a list of the conferences that named a player of the week on Monday.

Following are the five players selected for performances this past week:

Zach Edey, Purdue (Big Ten Conference)
Edey averaged 31.5 points on 55.3 percent shooting with 16.0 rebounds and 2.5 blocked shots as No. 2 Purdue scored a pair of Big Ten wins. The 2022-23 Oscar Robertson Trophy winner from Toronto, Canada, tallied 33 points and 14 rebounds in the Boilermakers’ 87-66 victory at Indiana. He then notched 30 points and 18 boards as Purdue topped Iowa 84-70.

Kezza Giffa, High Point (Big South Conference)
Giffa averaged 28.0 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists while shooting 48.4 percent from the field (15-of-31), 45.5 percent from beyond the arc (5-of-11) and 84.0 percent from the charity stripe (21-of-25) in two Big South victories. The junior guard from Paris, France, opened with a team-high 27 points in 32 minutes off the bench in the Panthers’ win at Presbyterian last Wednesday in which he was 8-of-12 from the floor with three treys, as well as 8-of-10 from the line. Giffa then started his first game of the season on Saturday and scored a team-best 29 points in which he made 13-of-15 free throws while handing out five assists to help High Point hold off Charleston Southern.

DaRon Holmes II, Dayton (Atlantic 10 Conference)
Holmes averaged a double-double in leading Dayton to a pair wins and extending the Flyers’ winning streak to 12 games. He averaged 25.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 3.5 blocked shots in the two games while shooting 61.5 percent (16-of-26) from the field and 40 percent (2-for-5) from three. In Tuesday’s win over Saint Louis, the junior forward from Goodyear, Ariz., scored 25 of his 29 points in the second half. He also grabbed 14 rebounds, blocked four shots and had two steals. He followed that with 21 points, six rebounds, three assists and another three blocks Saturday versus Rhode Island. In 36 minutes of play over the second half of Saint Louis and first half of Rhode Island, he scored 43 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and blocked six shots.

Dalton Knecht, Tennessee (Southeastern Conference)
Knecht averaged 32 points, six rebounds and 1.5 assists in wins over Florida and Alabama. The fifth-year guard from Thornton, Ga., shot 21-of-43 (48.8 percent) overall, including 5-of-12 (41.7 percent) from deep, as well as making all 17 of his free throws. His career-high 39 points against Florida made him the first SEC player since Shaquille O’Neal in 1991 to have back-to-back 35-point outings (per Jared Berson). Knecht’s 25-point showing versus Alabama made him the fifth SEC player in the last 14 seasons (2010-24) to score 25-plus points in four straight games.

Jamal Shead, Houston (Big 12 Conference)
Shead led Houston with 19.5 points, 7.5 assists and 3.0 steals along with a 3.75 assist-turnover ratio in Big 12 wins over No. 25 Texas Tech and UCF. The senior guard scored a career-high 29 points and set a personal best and Fertitta Center-record with 12 field goals against the Red Raiders. He made two of his first five shots and then drained 10 of his last 11 to help the Cougars snap a two-game losing streak. Shead recorded his second double-digit assist performance of the season and the 12th of his career with only two turnovers. Against UCF, he contributed 10 points, seven rebounds, five assists and four steals while committing just two turnovers.

Since the 1958-59 season, the USBWA has named a National Player of the Year. In 1998, the award was named in honor of the University of Cincinnati Hall of Famer and two-time USBWA Player of the Year Oscar Robertson. It is the nation’s oldest award and the only one named after a former player.

At the conclusion of the regular season, the USBWA will name finalists for the award, which is voted on by the entire membership. The winner of the award will be announced at the 2024 Men’s Final Four in Glendale, Ariz., with the formal presentation to follow at the annual USBWA Awards Luncheon hosted by the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis.

The U.S. Basketball Writers Association was formed in 1956 at the urging of then-NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers. With some 800 members worldwide, it is one of the most influential organizations in college basketball. It has selected an All-America team since the 1956-57 season. For more information on the USBWA and the Oscar Robertson Trophy, contact executive director Malcolm Moran at 814-574-1485.

2023-24 USBWA Men’s Weekly Honors
• Week ending Nov. 12: Armando Bacot, North Carolina; Tucker DeVries, Drake; Terrence Edwards, James Madison; Dillon Jones, Weber State; Ja’Kobe Walter, Baylor.
• Week ending Nov. 19: Hunter Dickinson, Kansas; Jaedon LeDee, San Diego State; Quinten Post, Boston College; Kyle Rode, Liberty; Marcus Tsohonis, Long Beach State.
• Week ending Nov. 26: Zach Edey, Purdue; Kevin McCullar Jr., Kansas; Isaiah Stevens, Colorado State; Tyler Thomas, Hofstra; Jamir Watkins, Florida State.
• Week ending Dec. 3: Boo Buie Northwestern; Boogie Ellis, USC; Baylor Scheierman, Creighton; Shahada Wells, McNeese; Trazarien White, UNCW.
• Week ending Dec. 10: Mika Adams-Woods, St. Bonaventure; Enrique Freeman, Akron; David Jones, Memphis; Arthur Kaluma, Kansas State; Tyler Kolek, Marquette.
• Week ending Dec. 17: Tyler Cochran, Toledo; Kevin Cross, Tulane; Fletcher Loyer, Purdue; Ian Martinez, Utah State; Mitchell Saxen, Saint Mary’s.
• Week ending Dec. 24: Oumar Ballo, Arizona; Johnell Davis, Florida Atlantic; RJ Davis, North Carolina; Jarod Lucas, Nevada; Vonterius Woolbright, Western Carolina.
• Week ending Dec. 31: T.J. Bickerstaff, James Madison; Branden Carlson, Utah; Xavier Johnson, Southern Illinois; Noah Reynolds, Green Bay; Reese Waters, San Diego State.
• Week ending Jan. 7: Armando Bacot, North Carolina; James Bishop IV, George Washington; Marcus Domask, Illinois; Jonathan Mogbo, San Francisco; Great Osobor, Utah State.
• Week ending Jan. 14: Keenon Cole, Lindenwood; Frankie Fidler, Omaha; Jordan Johnson, New Orleans; Isaac Jones, Washington State; Dalton Knecht, Tennessee.
• Week ending Jan. 21: Zach Edey, Purdue; Kezza Giffa, High Point; DaRon Holmes II, Dayton; Dalton Knecht, Tennessee; Jamal Shead, Houston.

INDIANAPOLIS (USBWA) – The upsets continue to happen, as evidenced by the latest shuffle behind No. 1 South Carolina when this week’s Associated Press women’s poll was released Monday, following a weekend that included two historical and monumental moments evolving from the competition in the Pac-12.

Across the country once more there was no shortage of candidates to be added to weekly salutes in this space.

The six individuals are quite guard heavy though in this era of position-less basketball they can operate from anywhere on the court.

The USBWA women’s awards, organized under Mel Greenberg, the USBWA Vice President for women’s basketball, are drawn from weekly conference honors as well as at-large additions.

For their performances in the period through Sunday, Jan. 21, this week’s five Ann Meyers Drysdale national honorees are Marshall guard Abby Beeman, UConn guard and past USBWA National player of the Year Paige Bueckers, Syracuse guard Dyaisha Fair, North Carolina guard Deja Kelly, and Ohio State forward Cotie McMahon.

The Tamika Catchings freshman award goes to Virginia guard Kymora Johnson and the National Team of the Week is Stanford.

Beeman, a 5-4 graduate guard from Ridgeley, W. Va., in two wins has helped Marshall (13-5, 7-0 Sun Belt) get off to the best start in conference play in 35 years. In a 90-60 win over Old Dominion, she became one of only five players in Division I to have multiple triple-doubles this season, after scoring 15 points, with 11 rebounds, and 11 assists. “I just think that we are a resilient group,” she said. “We got down and knew we had to put our foot on the gas and get going and once we did the momentum and the crowd and us hitting shots carried us through to the end.” She followed against Coastal Carolina with 22 points and seven assists.

Bueckers, a 6-0 redshirt junior guard who is the only freshman to have won the USBWA’s Ann Meyers Drysdale Award, has returned from a missed season due to injury to help guide Connecticut back to the Top 10 after dropping to the Huskies’ lowest ranking in 30 years. She started the week with 32 points against Seton Hall. “Paige understands better and better that this is her team now,” said Pirates coach Tony Bozzella. “That’s why she is an All-American. She’s laser focused.” She then scored 20 as the team’s win streak reached 12 in beating DePaul.

Fair, a 5-5 graduate guard from Rochester, Minn., who followed her coach last season from Buffalo when Felisha Legette-Jack returned to her alma mater at Syracuse, helped get the Orange (16-2, 6-1 ACC) back into the AP Poll Monday after a pair of wins resulted in the best start since the 2013 season. She scored 31 points, propelled by a program-record nine makes from deep in a rally from an 18-point deficit over then-No. 15 Florida State and then scored 22 with six assists and six three-pointers over Pitt. On Monday, she was named the ACC’s Player of the Week.

Kelly, a 5-8 senior guard from San Antonio, Texas, averaged 25 points and five assists in UNC wins over Georgia Tech and over then-No. !3 Louisville at home in Chapel Hill before a near-sellout crowd in Carmichael Arena, handing the Cardinals their first league loss and skyrocketing the Heels to the top of the conference. She scored 27 against the Yellow Jackets and then had 23 helped by 14-of-16 from the line against Louisville. She leads the team with 16.4 points per game.

McMahon, a 6-0 sophomore forward from Centerville, Ohio, had a career-best 33 points and 12 rebounds in Ohio State’s upset of then-No. 2 Iowa in overtime, propelling the Buckeyes before a sellout crowd from 18th to 12th in the latest AP Poll, after the win and overcoming Caitlin Clark’s 45 points for the Hawkeyes. Earlier in the week to help her 13.9 scoring average and 5.5 rebounding mark, she had 14 points and nine rebounds with three assists in a win over Maryland. On Monday she earned her first Big Ten Player of the Week honor.

Johnson, a 5-7 freshman guard from Charlottesville, right in Virginia’s backyard, had 35 points in the Cavaliers’ upset of Florida State after having 16 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists previously in a setback to Notre Dame. In the two games she was 20-for-34 for 58.8 percent from the field. The only other freshman in Virginia history to score 35 points in a game was Dawn Staley, the coach of the current No. 1 team in the nation at South Carolina. On Monday, following the Cavaliers’ first win over a ranked opponent since 2011, she was named ACC Freshman of the Week.

After an historic weekend for all basketball without regard to gender, Stanford moved from eighth to sixth in the AP Poll following a sweep of Pac-12 opponents Oregon Friday and Oregon State Sunday in front of near sellouts at home in Maples Pavilion. The sweep enabled 70-year-old Hall of Fame coach Tara VanDerveer, a past USBWA national honoree, to tie and then pass retired Duke men’s coach Mike Krzyzewski to achieve the most career wins at 1,203 and, in her case, still counting. In the sweep Kiki Iriafen, a USBWA weekly honoree earlier this season, had 21 points and 15 rebounds against the Ducks followed by a career-high 36 points shooting 16-26 from the field with 12 rebounds against the Beavers.

Since the 1987-88 season, the USBWA has named a women’s National Player of the Year. For the 2012-13 season, the national and weekly player award became named for Hall of Famer and former UCLA All-American Ann Meyers Drysdale while the national and weekly freshman award is being given in the name of former Tennessee all-American Tamika Catchings, which was applied at the start of the 2019-20 season.

At the conclusion of the regular season, the USBWA will name finalists for both individual awards, which is voted on by the entire membership of the USBWA.

The winners of the 2024 Ann Meyers Drysdale National Player of the Year and Tamika Catchings National Freshman of the Year will be announced and presented at the USBWA’s annual awards event on site at the 2024 NCAA Women’s Final Four in Cleveland.

The U.S. Basketball Writers Association was formed in 1956 at the urging of then-NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers. With some 900 members worldwide, it is one of the most influential organizations in college basketball. It has selected a women’s All-America team since the 1996-97 season. For more information on the USBWA and its award programs, contact executive director Malcolm Moran at 814-574-1485.

2023-24 USBWA Women’s Weekly Honors
• Week ending Nov. 12: Caitlin Clark, Iowa; Kamilla Cardoso, South Carolina; Saniya Rivers, NC State; Kiki Iriafen, Stanford; Liza Karlen, Marquette (National); JuJu Watkins, Southern Cal (Freshman); Colorado (Team).
• Week ending Nov. 19: Cameron Brink, Stanford; Taylor Jones, Texas; Ayoka Lee, Kansas State; Lucy Olsen, Villanova; Harmoni Turner, Harvard (National); Hannah Hidalgo, Notre Dame (Freshman); Baylor (Team).
• Week ending Nov. 26: River Baldwin, NC State; Caitlin Clark, Iowa; Maggie Doogan, Richmond; Aneesah Morrow, LSU; KiKi Rice, UCLA (National); Zanai Barnett-Gay, Navy (Freshman); Princeton (Team).
• Week ending Dec. 3: Kamilla Cardoso, South Carolina; Yvonne Ejim, Gonzaga; Rori Harmon, Texas; Cottie McMahon, Ohio State; Anne Simon, Maine (National); Madison Booker, Texas (Freshman); Southern Miss (Team).
• Week ending Dec. 10: Lauren Betts, UCLA; Paige Bueckers, UConn; Jalynn Gregory, MTSU; Quinesha Lockett, Toledo; Alssa Pili, Utah (National); Zoe Brooks, NC State (Freshman); Washington (Team).
• Week ending Dec. 17: Azana Baines, Seton Hall; Breanna Campbell, Marshall; Jessika Carter, Mississippi State; Aubrey Griffin, UConn; Liz Karlen, Marquette (National) Mikaylah Williams, LSU (Freshman); VCU (Team).
• Week ending Dec. 24: Alexis Andrews, Charleston; Talya Brugler, Saint Joseph’s; Caitlin Clark, Iowa; McKenzie Forbes, Southern Cal; Jacy Sheldon, Ohio State (National); Hannah Hidalgo, Notre Dame (Freshman); TCU (Team).
• Week ending Dec. 31: Caitlin Clark, Iowa; Londynn Jones, UCLA; Lucy Olsen, Villanova; Jaylyn Sherrod, Colorado; Alyssa Ustby, North Carolina (National); Mataya Gayle, Penn (Freshman); Syracuse (Team).
• Week ending Jan. 7: Madison Booker, Texas; Avery Brittingham, UT-Arlington; Caitlin Clark, Iowa; Rickea Jackson, Tennessee; Elizabeth Kitley, Virginia Tech (National); Meghan Andersen, Fairfield (Freshman); North Carolina (Team).
• Week ending Jan. 14: Sara Bejedi, Florida State; Anastasii Boldyreva, Middle Tennessee; Caitlin Clark, Iowa; Ayoka Lee, Kansas State; Honesty Scott-Grayson, Auburn; JuJu Watkins (USC); Iowa State (Team).
• Week ending Jan. 21: Abby Beeman, Marshall; Paige Bueckers, UConn; Dyaisha Fair, Syracuse; Deja Kelly, North Carolina; Cotie McMahon, Ohio State (National); Kymora Johnson, Virginia (Freshman); Stanford, (Team).

Calvin’s Overway, Albertus Magnus’ Scott are USBWA Division III National Players of the Week

INDIANAPOLIS (UBSWA) – Jalen Overway of Calvin University (Grand Rapids, Mich.) and Caitlyn Scott of Albertus Magnus College (New Haven, Conn.) were named the U.S. Basketball Writers Association Division III National Players of the Week for the period ending January 21.

Overway, a 6-10 sophomore center from Holland, Mich., averaged a double-double to help lead No. 4 (D3hoops.com) Calvin to a pair of home victories. On Wednesday against Hope, Overway produced a double-double of 14 points (4-of-11 FG, 5-of-6 FT, 1-of-5 3FG) and 12 rebounds, while adding three assists and two blocks in the Knights’ 69-61 victory. On Saturday vs. Alma, he scored a career-high 42 points (16-of-27 FG, 6-of-8 FT, 4-of-4 3FG), the sixth-highest total in school history and the eighth-highest one-game total in NCAA Division III this season. Overway added 13 rebounds, three assists and a block in the 89-63 win. For the week, he averaged 28.0 points, 12.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 1.5 blocks while shooting 52.6 percent (20-of-38) from the field, 78.5 percent (11-of-14) from the foul line and 55.6 percent (5-of-9) from three-point range. For his efforts, Overway was also named the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) Player of the Week.

Scott, a 5-3 senior guard from White Plains, N.Y., produced some late-game heroics to lead Albertus Magnus to a pair of come-from-behind victories. On Tuesday, the Falcons trailed Johnson & Wales 52-46 entering the fourth quarter. Scott’s three-pointer tied the score at 60-60, and her four free throws down the stretch clinched her team’s 67-65 win. Scott finished with 20 points (5-of-10 FG, 8-of-10 FT, 2-of-5 3FG), five rebounds, six assists, and a steal in the game. Then, against Rivier on Saturday, with her team again trailing by six heading into the final quarter, she scored 15 of her season-high 36 points (13-of-25 FG, 8-of-9 FT, 2-of-5 3FG) as Albertus Magnus pulled out the 84-72 win. Scott added seven rebounds, two assists and steal in the victory. For the week, she averaged 28.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 1.0 steals while shooting 51.4 percent (18-of-35) from the field, 84.2 percent (16-of-19) from the foul line and 40.0 percent (4-of-10) from three-point range. For her efforts, Scott was also selected the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Player of the Week.

Each Tuesday, the USBWA is selecting men’s and women’s Division III National Players of the Week. This is the ninth season that the USBWA will recognize national players of the week from Division III.

The U.S. Basketball Writers Association was formed in 1956 at the urging of then-NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers. With some 900 members worldwide, it is one of the most influential organizations in college basketball. It has selected an All-America team since the 1956-57 season. For more information on the USBWA and its award programs, contact executive director Malcolm Moran at 814-574-1485.

2023-24 USBWA Division III National Players of the Week
• Week ending Dec. 3: Jeff Hunter, Keene State; Natalie Anderson, Trinity (Texas)
• Week ending Dec. 10: Jordan Oates, Salisbury; Lauren Klieber, Neumann
• Week ending Dec. 17: Bryant Smith, Manchester; Mary Schleusner, Washington and Lee
• Week ending Dec. 31: Davidson Hubbard, Hampden-Sydney; Brianna Fitzgerald, SUNY-New Paltz
• Week ending Jan. 7: Khai Seargeant, Virginia Wesleyan; Mary Schleusner, Washington and Lee
• Week ending Jan. 14: Calvin Williams IV, St. Thomas; Arieona Rosborough, Mary Hardin-Baylor
• Week ending Jan. 21: Jalen Overway, Calvin; Caitlyn Scott, Albertus Magnus

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