Courtesy of goracers.com

1/22/19 – The U.S. Basketball Writers Association has selected Murray State guard Ja Morant as its Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week for games ending the week of Sunday, Jan. 20. The USBWA’s weekly honor is presented by Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook.

As the Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Week, Morant was nominated for the weekly award, which was chosen by a representative of the USBWA board of directors from a list of Division I conference players of the week. The USBWA has named Oscar Robertson National Players of the Week since the 2009-10 season. Morant is the second OVC player to ever win the award, joining Morehead State’s Kenneth Faried (Feb. 1, 2011).

The 6-3 sophomore from Dalzell, S.C. became the first NCAA Division I player in the past 20 years to have 40 points, 11 assists and five steals in a game when he led the Racers to an 82-72 win over SIUE. Morant hit 21-of-21 free throws in the game, establishing a new OVC record for most made free throws in a game without a miss (breaking the old mark of 17-of-17 set in 1966-67). The 21 makes without a miss was the most by a Division I player in the past 20 years and just three off the NCAA all-time record. The 21 made free throws are the most in a game by a Division I player this season.

The nation’s assist leader at 10.7 per game, Morant has had seven-straight games with double-digit assists and has at least 20 points and 10 assists in four of his last five games. He is second in double-doubles nationally with 13 and seventh in scoring at 24.3 points per game. In the week’s two wins, Morant averaged 33.5 points, 10.5 assists, 3.0 steals and 3.0 rebounds per game while hitting 57.6 percent (19-of-33) from the field, 50 percent (7-of-14) from 3-point range and 95.7 percent (22-of-23) from the free throw line.

Morant’s 40 points were a career high and the mark only the 19th time an MSU player has scored 40 or more points. He opened the week with another banner game in a win over Eastern Illinois, scoring 27 points off 11-of-16 shooting from the field and 4-of-5 on three-pointers, to go with 10 assists, three rebounds, a block and a steal.

Morant, a first-team All-OVC selection last year, has been named the OVC’s Player of the Week six times this season.

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. The Oscar Robertson Trophy will be awarded at the conclusion of the regular season. The USBWA will name finalists for the award, which is voted on by the entire membership.

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 the Oscar Robertson Trophy, contact executive director Joe Mitch at 314-795-6821.

Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook, the most comprehensive college basketball publication in the world, returns for its 38th season. Blue Ribbon – long-known as “The Bible of College Basketball” – gives its readers the most thorough, up-to-date and timely evaluations of every Division I team in the country. For more information about Blue Ribbon Yearbooks, visit blueribbonyearbookonline.com.

2018-19 Oscar Robertson National Players of the Week
• Week ending Dec. 2: Markus Howard, Marquette (Big East Conference)
• Week ending Dec. 9: Admiral Schofield, Tennessee (Southeastern Conference)
• Week ending Dec. 16: Juwan Morgan, Indiana (Big Ten Conference)
• Week ending Dec. 23: Markus Howard, Marquette (Big East Conference)
• Week ending Dec. 30: Justin Wright-Foreman, Hofstra (Colonial Athletic Association)
• Week ending Jan. 6: Shamorie Ponds, St. John’s (Big East Conference)
• Week ending Jan. 13: Bruno Fernando, Maryland (Big Ten Conference)
• Week ending Jan. 20: Ja Morant, Murray State (Ohio Valley Conference)

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