INDIANAPOLIS (USBWA) The U.S. Basketball Writers Association has selected Murray State forward KJ Williams as its Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week for games ending the week of Sunday, Feb. 13.
As the Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Week, Williams 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. Williams joins Ja Morant (Jan. 20, 2019) as the only players from Murray State to earn to USBWA's weekly national honor.
A 6-10 junior from Cleveland, Miss., Williams averaged 30.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 1.5 blocks while shooting 63.9 percent (23-of-36) from the field and 85.7 percent (12-of-14) from the free throw line in a pair of road conference wins last week. With the victories, the Racers, one of four unbeaten teams in conference play, extended their winning streak to 14 games and improved to 24-2 overall and 14-0 in OVC play.
On Thursday at Tennessee State, Williams scored 31 of his career-high 39 points after halftime as MSU won 73-62, coming back from a seven-point halftime deficit. Williams hit 15-of-22 from the field, grabbed six rebounds, blocked two shots and added a steal in 38 minutes. The 39 points were the 11th-most by a Murray State player in program history.
Williams followed up on Saturday with his 10th double-double of the season 21 points and 12 rebounds · in a come-from-behind 57-53 win at Morehead State that ended the Eagles' 20-game home court winning streak. Williams was 8-for-14 from the field and a perfect 5-for-5 at the line and added four steals and a block in 32 minutes. Murray State finished the comeback with a 17-4 run in the final 5:17 and it was Williams' bucket with 1:56 to play gave the Racers their first lead since early in the second half; he added another field goal, two free throws, a steal and rebound in the final minute to help seal the win.
Williams is second in the OVC in both scoring (17.4) and rebounding (8.7).
The Racers look to continue their winning ways on Thursday night against Austin Peay at 6 p.m. CT on ESPNU.
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)