|ST. LOUIS (USBWA) – The U.S. Basketball Writers Association has selected the Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer as its Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week for games ending the week of Sunday, Dec. 14. The USBWA’s weekly honor is presented by Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook.
As the West Coast Conference Player of the Week, Wiltjer 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. This is the sixth season that the USBWA has selected a national player of the week.
Wiltjer, a 6-10 junior from Portland, Ore., registered back-to-back 20-point games in a pair of wins over Pac-12 opponents. Last Wednesday, Wiltjer was 9-of-14 from the field and scored 21 points in an 81-66 win over Washington State. Then on Saturday, Wiltjer led the Zags to an 87-74 win at UCLA with a team-high 24 points on 9-of-13 shooting.
Overall in the two games, he was 18-for-27 (.667) from the field, 5-for-7 (.714) from behind the arc, and a perfect 4-for-4 from the free throw line. Against WSU he also had six rebounds, four assists, a block and a steal. Then at UCLA, he had four rebounds, an assist and a steal.
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 Oscar Robertson Trophy will be presented by its namesake, Oscar Robertson, at theDevon Energy College Basketball Awards on April 14, 2015, at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. The Henry Iba Coach of the Year Award and the Integris Wayman Tisdale Freshman of the Year Award will also be presented at the gala to be held annually following the NCAA Men’s Final Four.
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 34th 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.
2014-15 Oscar Robertson National Players of the Week
Friday Roundup – Baby Edition
July is crazy busy. So busy with live AAU events and Summer League that it’s not always easy to stop and put together a post. So here’s some stuff that matters (or is just dumb, or interesting) from the notebook for today.
Kyle Wiltjer is headed to Gonzaga. After announcing last month that he was leaving the Kentucky Wildcats, there hasn’t been too much in the way of news, but now Wiltjer has found his next basketball home.
The Fayetteville Flight ABA team, arguably one of the more successful ABA teams, is holding their annual mini-camp on August 17th.
Best story of the day is that Nate Robinson is willing to autograph just about anything, even a baby.
In perhaps a telling sign as to how worried the NCAA is about having to pay their employees, stemming from a current lawsuit against them brought by former players, they have stopped EA Sports from putting their logo on their collegiate basketball game. Of course, EA can still make a game with college programs because the licensing of the colleges is not owned by the NCAA.
Keith Olbermann is coming back to ESPN, this time to host a late night program. On the conference call announcing the move, ESPN suits and Olbermann both talked about trying to create the ‘must watch’ television that ESPN was built on. They talked about the contentious breakup that led to Olbermann’s original departure and about how he doesn’t want that to be the end of his story with ESPN. These are good goals, and the type of goals that the network and it’s talent should be shooting for. But the ESPN that Olbermann returns to is very different than the one he left in 1997. See, even though Disney owned ABC, which owned ESPN, the influence of Disney on ESPN didn’t officially get under way until 1996, about a year before Olbermann left. Since he’s been gone, Disney has completely revamped ESPN – first by merging graphics, hosts and executives between ABC Sports and ESPN, then in 2006 closing down ABC Sports entirely. The ESPN of today is much different – a turnstile of mostly nameless talking heads with little soul or personality, nobody watches SportsCenter the way they used to. If Olbermann is going to succeed, he’s either going to have to bring back some of the old ESPN magic or find a new way to make the vanilla programming style of Disney’s ESPN work.
The Charlotte Hornets held a name-change tribute party that people thought was lame but later turned out pretty okay. I’m glad the Hornets name is coming back to Charlotte, but the team isn’t losing because of the name.
Finally, we all know by now that Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are headed to play for the Brooklyn Nets. But the back story is that when Paul Piece knew he was going to be traded he talked Garnett into coming along.
Have a nice weekend and follow us on Twitter @bball_elite
Boost Mobile Elite 24 Notes 2010
By Marcus Shockley
The Boost Mobile Elite 24 event is intended to showcase the best 24 high school basketball players in the country who are rising seniors, and it follow what has become the norm for high profile televised All-Star basketball events, there is little defense, little offensive flow and not much point in scouting the game beyond simply seeing a little taste of player’s talent and how they work in an open court running game.
To be honest, very few colleges are able to employ a frenetic open court style, so it limits the scouting even more. Defense is not encountered, so players who look like star slashers are getting way too much freedom.
That being said, here are some thoughts from this year’s Boost Mobile Elite 24 event:
The big news of the day was the college announcement of Kyle Wiltjer, the 6’9″ PF and offensive weapon who committed to Kentucky for the Class of 2011. Wiltjer is a quick, sure handed PF who plays a finesse scoring game and relying on getting off quick hook shots to beat the defense in the post, and he approaches the big forward spot like a shooting guard. Wiltjer is not a power post player but definitely adds offense to a roster.
Austin Rivers (PG, 6’4″, 2011) had an overall solid game, despite being injured after leaping for a high pass. Rivers used his size to grab several rebounds and has a lengthy stride that is deceptively quick, as he uses a crossover at the perimeter to get to the basket repeatedly. Rivers is one of the deadliest slashing guards that has come along in some time. He can hit the outside shot, but his strength is in getting defenders on their heels and hitting a running floater, which is almost impossible to guard.
Quincy Miller (SF/PF, 6’9″, 2011) showed flashes of his game that make him look like a solid pro prospect, showing he is still an outside shooting threat and has quickness with the ball.
Jabari Brown (SG, 6’5″, 2011) continues to be my most underrated player of the 2011 class. While Wiltjer was getting most of the on-air discussion, Brown was putting the ball in the bucket and showing his ability to handle the ball even at 6’5″ and from the off-guard position. The only thing I’ve yet to scout Jabari for is his defense; I’ve read some reports that knock his rebounding, but I’m not sure how seriously I can take a scouting report that considers minimal rebounding from the SG position as an actual factor. Jabari recently eliminated several schools from his list.
Duece Bello (SG/SF, 6’3″, 2011), often linked with Quincy Miller, showed his ability to get up and down the court, slash and dunk in transition. Very explosive player who knows when to push the ball into overdrive and attack the basket.
Myck Kabongo (PG, 6’2″, 2011) was extremely active, getting involved and making a ton of positive plays. Kabongo has verbally committed to Texas. James McAdoo (PF, 6’8″, 2011), a UNC commit, looked like a solid inside forward, with a great high-arc baby hook and jumper. McAdoo looks physically ready for the college game.