Photo by Dave Winder
OVC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Ja Morant, G 6-3, 170, So. Dalzell, S.C. Murray State
In a pair of wins Morant averaged 25.0 points, 11.5 assists, 7.0 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.0 blocks/game while hitting 56.3 percent (18-of-32) from the field, 50 percent (4-of-8) from 3-point range and 66.7 percent (10-of-15) from the free throw line. Morant began the week with 16 points and 13 assists in a 90-69 win over Morehead State. In the history of MSU basketball, a player has had 13 or more assists in a game nine times, five of which belong to Morant (four coming this season), who leads Division I in assists (9.9). In that game he hit 6-of-8 field goals (2-of-2 3-pointers) and had six rebounds. In a 97-85 win over Eastern Kentucky on Saturday, Morant had 34 points, dished out 10 assists, pulled down eight rebounds and had a pair of steals. He connected on 12-of-24 field goals and was 8-of-12 at the free throw line. In addition to leading the country in assists, Morant ranks eighth in double-doubles (9) and 12th in scoring (23.3 points/game). Among OVC players he ranks first in assists, double-doubles and minutes played, second in scoring, fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio, fifth in steals, seventh in field goal percentage and eighth in rebounding.
Others Nominated: Dayton Gumm, Austin Peay; Dylan Windler, Belmont; Josiah Wallace, Eastern Illinois; Nick Mayo, Eastern Kentucky; Jason Burnell, Jacksonville State; Isaiah Gable, Southeast Missouri; Brandon Jackson, SIUE; Jr. Clay, Tennessee Tech; Fatodd Lewis, UT Martin.
NEWCOMER OF THE WEEK
Josiah Wallace, G 6-4, 185, So. Marshall, Ill. Eastern Illinois
Wallace, the transfer from Olney Central College, helped Eastern Illinois start Conference play 2-0 for the first time since 2014-15 in averaging 25.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.5 blocks/game while hitting 45.9 percent (17-of-37) from the field and 86.7 percent (13-of-15) from the free throw line. Against UT Martin the sophomore had 27 points, six rebounds, four assists and two blocks in the 92-87 overtime win. Wallace scored 18 of his 27 points in the first half and hit 9-of-19 shots and 7-of-9 free throws. In Saturdays 84-81 overtime victory over SIUE, Wallace had 24 points, six assists, four rebounds, a block and steal. In that win he was 4-of-4 from the foul line in the final 1:28 of regulation and scored the first five EIU points in overtime to power his team to the win. Wallace ranks seventh in the OVC in scoring (15.0 points/game) and fifth in free throw percentage (81.8%).
Others Nominated: Jarrett Givens, Austin Peay; Kelvin Robinson, Eastern Kentucky; Detrick Mostella, Jacksonville State; Darnell Cowart, Murray State; Malik Martin, Tennessee Tech; Preston Parks, UT Martin.
CO-FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK
KJ Williams, F 6-9, 240, Fr. Cleveland, Miss. Murray State
In a pair of wins Williams averaged 13.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and 2.0 steals/game while hitting 85.7 percent (12-of-14) from the field. Williams was a perfect 7-of-7 from the field in scoring 14 points in a 90-69 win over Morehead State to begin the week. He pulled down eight rebounds, had two steals and a block in 20 minutes against the Eagles. Two days later he had 13 points and a career-high 13 rebounds in a 97-85 come-from-behind win over Eastern Kentucky; that marked his first double-double of the season. Williams also had three blocks, two steals and an assist in the win while hitting 5-of-7 field goals. Williams currently leads the OVC in field goal percentage (76.9%).
CO-FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK
Cameron Williams, G 6-2, 190, Fr. St. Louis, Mo. SIUE
In two games last week Williams averaged 22.5 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals/game while hitting 56.7 percent (17-of-30) from the field, 45.5 percent (5-of-11) from 3-point range and a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line. Williams had a season-high 27 points on 10-of-12 shooting (4-of-6 3-pointers) in a 94-88 victory over Southeast Missouri. In that game he added two steals, an assist and rebound in 30 minutes of action. In an overtime loss at Eastern Illinois, Williams added 18 points, five rebounds and a steal.
Others Nominated: Nick Muszynski, Belmont; Ben Harvey, Eastern Illinois; Jomaru Brown, Eastern Kentucky; Alex Caldwell, Southeast Missouri; Jr. Clay, Tennessee Tech.