(Photo by BYU Photo)
ST. LOUIS (USBWA) – The U.S. Basketball Writers Association has selected BYU's Elijah Bryant as its Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week for games ending the week of Sunday, Feb. 26. The USBWA's weekly honor is presented by Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook.
As the West Coast Conference Player of the Week, Bryant 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 eighth season that the USBWA has selected a national player of the week.
Bryant, a 6-5 sophomore guard from Gwinnett, Ga., led the Cougars to a 2-0 week, including a 79-71 win at previously unbeaten and top-ranked Gonzaga last Saturday. Bryant totaled 14 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals to help the Cougars knock off the Bulldogs. He scored 10 first-half points and helped BYU fight back from an 18-2 deficit to trail by just six at the half, 41-35. Bryant made several key plays down the stretch, starting with hitting a pair of free throws to tie the game at 69 with 3:22 to go. With 1:52 remaining, he hit a driving layup to tie the score again at 71 and on the next possession, assisted the basket that put the Cougars ahead for good. With BYU leading 73-71, Bryant stole the ball and the Cougars ended up scoring again to lead 75-71.
Two days earlier, Bryant had a career night at Portland, scoring a career-high 39 points while adding five rebounds, six assists and one block. He hit 10-of-17 from the field while draining 7-of-12 from three and 12-of-12 from the free-throw line. Bryant helped the Cougars jump out to a 23-11 lead by hitting four threes in the first seven minutes. Bryant’s 39 points are tied for third-most by a BYU sophomore.
For the week, Bryant averaged 26.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.5 steals while shooting 50.0 percent from the field, 47.4 percent from three and 100.0 percent (14-for-14) from the free-throw line.
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.
Oscar Robertson Trophy
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 Joe Mitch at 314-795-6821.
Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook, the most comprehensive college basketball publication in the world, returns for its 36th 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.
2016-17 Oscar Robertson National Players of the Week
• Week ending Dec. 11: Josh Hart, Villanova (Big East Conference)
• Week ending Dec. 18: Malik Monk, Kentucky (Southeastern Conference)
• Week ending Dec. 25: Quentin Snider, Louisville (Atlantic Coast Conference)
• Week ending Jan. 1: Dillon Brooks, Oregon (Pac-12 Conference)
• Week ending Jan. 8: Ryan Taylor, Marshall (Conference USA)
• Week ending Jan. 15: Quincy McKnight, Sacred Heart (Northeast Conference)
• Week ending Jan. 22: Lauri Markkanen, Arizona (Pac-12 Conference)
• Week ending Jan. 29: Tim Cline, Richmond (Atlantic 10 Conference)
• Week ending Feb. 5: Jacob Wiley, Eastern Washington (Big Sky Conference)
• Week ending Feb. 12: Bonzie Coles, Notre Dame (Atlantic Coast Conference)
• Week ending Feb. 19: Mike Daum, South Dakota State (The Summitt League)
• Week ending Feb. 26: Elijah Bryant, BYU (West Coast Conference)