Utah's Carlson headlines Oscar Robertson National Players of the Week

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, Dec. 31.

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. This week's selections were delayed a day by the New Year’s holiday and were chosen from a list of the conferences that did name a player of the week.

Following are the five players selected for performance this past week:

T.J. Bickerstaff, James Madison (Sun Belt Conference)
Bickerstaff, a 6-9 graduate forward from Atlanta, Ga., led all players with 21 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in an 82-65 home win over Texas State in JMU’s only action of the week. It was his fourth double-double of the season and his 12th double-digit scoring game after hitting 9-of-11 from the field. He’s just the second player in the Sun Belt this season to compile at least 20 points, 10 boards and five assists in a game. JMU (13-0), ranked 19th in the latest polls, is one of only three remaining undefeated teams and their 13-game win streak is a school record.

Branden Carlson, Utah (Pac-12 Conference)
Carlson had a career-high weekend as Utah opened Pac-12 play with a pair of wins, extending its win streak to eight. The 7-foot senior center from South Jordan, Utah, finished the week averaging 26.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 2.5 blocks while shooting .526 from the field and .545 from 3-point range (on six made treys). Carlson dominated the second half of Sunday’s 95-90 win over Washington, scoring 27 points in the frame to help Utah come back from a 15-point deficit. He finished with a career-high 34 points with seven boards and seven assists, a career high. Carlson opened the week with 19 points, eight rebounds, five assists and five blocks in an 80-58 win over Washington State. Carlson became the only 7-footer since 1996-97 per Stats Perform to record 30-plus points with seven rebounds and seven assists in a single game and is the second listed center since that time frame to record those numbers.

Xavier Johnson, Southern Illinois (Missouri Valley Conference)
Johnson registered his fifth 30-point game of the season Saturday as he helped the Salukis to a 62-50 win over UIC. The graduate guard from Germantown, Md., went for 31 points, five assists and three rebounds in the win, including scoring the final 14 points to close out the Flames. He connected on a trio of 3-pointers and went 8-for-9 from the charity stripe. The honor marks the third time this season he has earned MVC weekly honors.

Noah Reynolds, Green Bay (Horizon League)
Reynolds led the Phoenix to a 2-0 weekend with wins over Wright State and RMU. The junior guard from Peoria, Ill., averaged 33.0 points, 3.5 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game while shooting 66.7 percent from the floor and 61.5 percent from three. Reynolds scored a career-high 39 points on 14-of-19 shooting to go with six assists in Friday’s 88-77 win over Wright State. The 39-point performance is the most points scored by a player across Division I in a regulation game this season and is the sixth-most in a single game in program history. He returned Sunday with a game-high 27 points in a 78-61 win over RMU.

Reese Waters, San Diego State (Mountain West Conference)
Waters guided San Diego State to an 84-74 victory at then-No. 13 Gonzaga, leading all scorers with 22 points on 8-of-11 shooting from the field. The junior guard from Long Beach, Calif., also recorded five rebounds, two assists and two steals while not committing a turnover.

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.
• Week ending Nov. 19: Hunter Dickinson, Kansas; Jaedon LeDee, San Diego State; Quinten Post, Boston College; Kyle Rode, Liberty; Marcus Tsohonis, Long Beach State.
• Week ending Nov. 26: Zach Edey, Purdue; Kevin McCullar Jr., Kansas; Isaiah Stevens, Colorado State; Tyler Thomas, Hofstra; Jamir Watkins, Florida State.
• Week ending Dec. 3: Boo Buie Northwestern; Boogie Ellis, USC; Baylor Scheierman, Creighton; Shahada Wells, McNeese; Trazarien White, UNCW.
• Week ending Dec. 10: Mika Adams-Woods, St. Bonaventure; Enrique Freeman, Akron; David Jones, Memphis; Arthur Kaluma, Kansas State; Tyler Kolek, Marquette.
• Week ending Dec. 17: Tyler Cochran, Toledo; Kevin Cross, Tulane; Fletcher Loyer, Purdue; Ian Martinez, Utah State; Mitchell Saxen, Saint Mary's.
• Week ending Dec. 24: Oumar Ballo, Arizona; Johnell Davis, Florida Atlantic; RJ Davis, North Carolina; Jarod Lucas, Nevada; Vonterius Woolbright, Western Carolina.
• Week ending Dec. 31: T.J. Bickerstaff, James Madison; Branden Carlson, Utah; Xavier Johnson, Southern Illinois; Noah Reynolds, Green Bay; Reese Waters, San Diego State.