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  • Daniel Hooker

WCU's Woolbright Collects SoCon-Record Ninth Weekly Honor

For a Southern Conference record-setting ninth time this season, Western Carolina men’s basketball senior Vonterius Woolbright today collected Southern Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Week honors for all games played Feb. 26 through March 3. Woolbright guided the Catamounts to a pair of league victories, recording two more triple-doubles to extend his NCAA lead while also keeping pace for the most double-doubles in the nation this season.

 

Woolbright’s ninth weekly plaudit from the SoCon eclipses the previous benchmark set by former Davidson standout – and SoCon Hall of Famer – Stephen Curry who procured eight awards back in the 2008-09 season. Woolbright matched Curry with his eighth honor back on Feb. 12.

 

Woolbright is one of just three SoCon players since 1968-69 to earn nine or more weekly honors from the SoCon (16 – Stephen Curry, 2006-09; 11 – Jake Stephens, VMI/UTC, 2020-23. The conference office selects and announces the SoCon's weekly award winners from nominations submitted by the communications or media relations personnel at each institution.

 

This season, Woolbright has also twice been named an Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week and has collected all three of the SoCon’s Player of the Month recognitions for November, December, and January. On Feb. 27, Woolbright was one of the 40 finalists selected to the watch list for both the Oscar Robertson Trophy and United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) All-America honors.

 

Originally from Albany, Ga., Woolbright recorded a pair of triple-doubles last week as he helped guide WCU to a perfect 2-0 record. The Catamounts finished the regular season with the longest active win streak in the league, earning a home victory over Furman (Feb. 28) and a road win over Chattanooga (March 2) to climb to a fourth-place finish in the SoCon regular season. 

 

Woolbright recorded two triple-doubles on the week to average a triple-double overall with 15.0 points, 11.5 rebounds, and 10.5 assists per game on 47.6% shooting (10-of-21) in the pair of victories. He posted 15 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists in the win over Furman in WCU’s home finale, reaching a double-double with points and assists before collecting the triple-dip with a late rebound. In the regular-season finale, he finished with 15 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists in the road win at Chattanooga, just the seventh victory for WCU at UTC’s McKenzie Arena in series history.

 

Woolbright continues to go toe-to-toe with Enrique Freeman of Akron for the national lead in double-doubles, having recorded an impressive 26 double-doubles in the 31 team games this season. He also has an NCAA-leading five triple-doubles on the year to give him six in his WCU career. Woolbright is one of just five players in the nation this year with multiple triple-doubles, two more than second-place (Deivon Smith, Utah – 3).

 

Entering the week, Woolbright ranks 11th in the country with a SoCon-leading 21.4 point per game average, while also ranking second in the NCAA with 12.1 rebounds per game including an NCAA-best 9.77 defensive rebounds per game. Has also moved up to 31st in the country in assists per game, averaging 5.5 per contest – second in the SoCon.

 

Additionally, over the weekend, Woolbright was named the Southern Conference Player of the Year and was picked as one of five players named postseason All-SoCon as selected and announced by HoopsHD.com as the website unveiled its all-conference teams for the 15 mid-major conferences that have completed 2023-24 regular season play.

 

Western Carolina enters this week’s 2024 Ingles Southern Conference Basketball Championship with a 22-9 record marking just the second 20-win season as an NCAA Division I program while also matching the most wins since 2009-10. Woolbright leads the Catamounts into the quarterfinal round tournament on Saturday evening against fifth-seeded Furman in a seasonal series rubber match as the two teams split the regular season matchups, both winning on their home court. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:30 p.m., in a game that will be televised on NexStar affiliates (check local listings) and simulcast on ESPN+ (paid subscription required). Each game WCU plays in Asheville will also be broadcast on the Catamount Sports Network with live audio available online at CatamountSports.com.

 

Again this year, the Catamount Club's Catamount Central for the duration of the tournament is Mellow Mushroom (50 Broadway St., Asheville, NC 28801). Pregame socials scheduled for two hours ahead of every game the Catamounts play in Asheville will be held at the downtown pizzeria location. Saturday’s first gathering is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m.

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