INDIANAPOLIS (USBWA) – The U.S. Basketball Writers Association has named five Oscar Robertson National Players of the Week for games of the week ending Sunday, Nov. 12.
For the 2023-24 season, the USBWA has expanded its national player of the week program that has been affiliated with the Oscar Robertson Trophy since the 2009-10 season. In past seasons, the USBWA has recognized just one player each week.
Each Tuesday during the regular season, designated USBWA board members will select five standouts from the 32 Division I conference players of the week to be recognized.
Following are the five players selected for the season's opening week:
Armando Bacot, North Carolina (Atlantic Coast Conference)
A returning third-team USBWA All-American, Bacot averaged 23.5 points and 16.5 rebounds per game and shot 60 percent from the floor and 91.7 percent from the line in wins over Radford and Lehigh to start the season. The 6-11 graduate forward/center from Richmond, Va., had game highs of 25 points and 13 rebounds against Radford. It was his 100th game scoring in double figures and 10th game in his career in which he made 10 or more field goals. He followed it up with 22 points and 20 rebounds – both game highs – against Lehigh, his third career 20/20 game, seventh game with 20 or more rebounds and 71st double-double.
Tucker DeVries, Drake (Missouri Valley Conference)
The 6-7 junior guard/forward from Waukee, Iowa, enjoyed the third 30-plus point game of his career with a career-high 36 points, including 23 in the second half last Wednesday against Lipscomb. He also added five rebounds and six assists in the win over the Bisons. With Drake trailing 51-47 in the second half, Devries scored 17 straight points during a 9:14 span enabling the Bulldogs to grab a 64-60 advantage they never relinquished. The 36-point game in a season-opening game was the most in the league since Nov. 14, 2014 (Marcus Marshall of Missouri State had 38 points in the Bears’ opener vs. Eastern Illinois).
Terrence Edwards, James Madison (Sun Belt Conference)
The 6-6 redshirt junior guard/forward from Atlanta, Ga., averaged 21 points, 5.7 rebounds and four assists per game while shooting 21 of 23 (.913) at the free throw line in three wins for the Dukes. The 2023-24 Preseason All-Sun Belt First Team selection led the Dukes to an impressive 3-0 start to the season which included overtime road wins over No. 4 Michigan State and Kent State before a home win against preseason Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference favorite Howard. All three opponents competed in the 2023 NCAA Tournament. In the season opener, Edwards led the Dukes with 24 points in the 79-76 overtime upset of the Spartans. He followed that performance with a double-double of 25 points and 10 rebounds to complement six assists and two steals in a thrilling 113-108 double-overtime triumph over the Golden Flashes. He concluded the week with 14 points, three assists and three steals in the 107-86 win over the Bison. James Madison’s win over Michigan State was the first by a Sun Belt team against a team ranked in the top five of the AP poll since November 2008 – the Dukes are also the first to hand an AP preseason top-five team a loss in that team's home season opener since 2001. James Madison’s win at Kent State snapped the nation’s second-longest home win streak (23). JMU became the only NCAA Division I team in the last 30 years to begin a season with consecutive road overtime wins.
Dillon Jones, Weber State (Big Sky Conference)
The 6-6 junior forward from Columbia, S.C., averaged 27.5 points and 12.0 rebounds per games as the Wildcats opened the season 2-0, including a victory over No. 23 Saint Mary’s on the road Sunday night. He played all 40 minutes in Moraga to help navigate the Wildcats to their first victory over a Top 25 team since December 2000, scoring a career-high 29 points. Saint Mary’s led by as many as 16 points, but Jones helped erase the lead and the Wildcats stormed back. He also went 18-of-18 from the FT line to start the season. Jones was the unanimous Big Sky Conference Preseason MVP.
Ja’Kobe Walter, Baylor (Big 12 Conference)
In his first collegiate game, the 6-5 freshman guard from McKinney, Texas, scored 28 points to lead the Bears to an 88-82 come-from-behind win over Auburn. He finished the week averaging 16.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.0 steals as the Bears went 3-0 to start the season for a fourth straight year. Walter set a school record for the most points by a freshman in his debut, while being one of just four freshmen in Big 12 history to score at least 28 in their opener. The guard closed the week with 14 points and a career-high eight rebounds against Gardner-Webb.
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 award will be announced at the 2024 Men's Final Four in Glendale, Ariz., with the formal presentation to follow at the annual USBWA Awards Luncheon hosted by the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis.
The U.S. Basketball Writers Association was formed in 1956 at the urging of then-NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers. With some 800 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.
2023-24 USBWA Men's Weekly Honors
• Week ending Nov. 12: Armando Bacot, North Carolina; Tucker DeVries, Drake; Terrence Edwards, James Madison; Dillon Jones, Weber State; Ja’Kobe Walter, Baylor.