INDIANAPOLIS (USBWA) The U.S. Basketball Writers Association has selected Auburn forward/center Walker Kessler as its Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week for games ending the week of Sunday, Jan. 2.
As the Southeastern Conference Player of the Week, his first career conference weekly honor, Kessler 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. Once again, the USBWA will select a Division I men's National Player of the Week each Tuesday throughout the season. The USBWA has named Oscar Robertson National Players of the Week since the 2009-10 season.
A 7-1, 245-pound forward/center from Newnan, Ga., Kessler posted the second triple-double in program history Dec. 29 in then-No. 11 Auburns 70-55 home win over No. 16 LSU to open SEC play. Kessler scored 16 points to go with 10 rebounds and a career-high 11 blocks in 28 minutes as Auburn (12-1) won its ninth straight while giving LSU (also 12-1) its first loss in its only game last week.
The triple-double is only the second in program history, joining former forward Kenny Gabriel on the Auburn record list, and the ninth this season in Division I and the first in the SEC. Kessler shot 75 percent from the field (6 of 8), hit his only three-point attempt and was 3-of-4 from the line to tie for game-high scoring (16). He also had an assist. Kessler is the first player in the SEC to have consecutive games with 7+ blocks since 2013 he had seven against Murray State on Dec. 22.
The first Auburn player to earn this honor from the USBWA, Kessler currently leads the SEC in blocks per game at 4.4 which also lists third nationally. He has a season-best string of four consecutive double-digit scoring games. According to STATS, Kessler is the only NCAA Division I player in the last 25 years to post a triple-double against a 10-0 or better team. The Tigers continue SEC play tonight at South Carolina (9-3) with a 6:30 p.m. ET tipoff televised on the SEC Network.
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 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 Malcolm Moran at 814-574-1485.
2021-22 Oscar Robertson National Players of the Week
Week ending Dec. 12: Bennedict Mathurin, Arizona (Pac-12
· Week ending Dec. 19: Alondes
Williams, Wake Forest (Atlantic Coast Conference)
Week ending Dec. 26: Oscar Tshiebwe, Kentucky (Southeastern
· Week ending Jan. 2: Walker Kessler,
Auburn (Southeastern Conference)
· Week ending
Jan. 9: Johnny Davis, Wisconsin (Big Ten Conference)
Week ending Jan. 16: Armando Bacot, North Carolina
(Atlantic Coast Conference)
· Week ending Jan.
23: Isiaih Mosley, Missouri State (Missouri Valley Conference)
Week ending Jan. 30: Bryce Hamilton, UNLV (Mountain
· Week ending Feb. 6: Hunter
Maldonado, Wyoming (Mountain West Conference)
Week ending Feb. 13: KJ Williams, Murray State (Ohio
· Week ending Feb. 20: Julian
Champagnie, St. John's (Big East Conference)
Week ending Feb. 27: KJ Williams, Murray State (Ohio
· Week ending March 6: Jaime
Jaquez Jr., UCLA (Pac-12 Conference)