Western Carolina guard Vonterius Woolbright today collected his school-record sixth Southern Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Week honor for games played Jan. 8-14. Woolbright again averaged a double-double last week with 17 points and 14 rebounds per game, adding an average of seven assists per outing as the senior tallied the second triple-double of his career in last week’s road win at ETSU.
The only player in the league with multiple honors this season, Woolbright earned the sixth weekly award from the conference office also marking the sixth of his WCU career, matching former Catamount standout Frankie King who collected six over two seasons from 1993-95. It’s the second-straight season the SoCon has seen one player collect plaudits six times as Chattanooga’s Jake Stephens accomplished the feat a year ago before being sidelined by injury. Davidson’s Stephen Curry holds the record with eight weekly awards back in the 2008-09 season.
The conference office selects and announces the SoCon's weekly award winners from nominations submitted by the sports information or media relations personnel at each institution.
Woolbright ran his season total of double-doubles to an NCAA-leading 14, tied with Enrique Freeman of Akron, as he posted two more double-doubles last week including his second career triple-double, which is just the fifth in WCU men’s basketball NCAA Division I history. Woolbright joined Mason Faulkner as the only two Catamounts to earn multiple triple-doubles in their Catamount careers.
A product of Albany, Ga., Woolbright tied teammate Tre Jackson for a team-high 20 points while pacing the team with 13 rebounds and was credited with 10 assists for the rare triple-double in WCU’s road win at ETSU last Wednesday. He again posted double-figures with 14 points and 15 rebounds in the low-scoring road win at Mercer, pushing WCU’s seasonal winning streak to nine in a row that includes five consecutive road wins.
Woolbright has scored in double figures in all 17 games to date this season with double-digit rebounds 14 times to account for his 14 seasonal double-doubles that include an active streak of nine-straight. He continues to lead the SoCon in two statistical categories, averaging a double-double with 20.6 points and 12.6 rebounds per game. He ranks third in the league in assists at 5.4 per outing. Nationally, Woolbright ranks 14th in scoring and is second in the NCAA in rebounding which includes leading the nation in defensive boards at 10.18, the only player in the country to average double-digit defensive rebounds.
Woolbright had a busy week last week as the senior was named to the Lou Henson Award Mid-Season Watch List by CollegeInsider.com. He was also featured on ESPN's College Game Day as analyst Seth Greenberg's "Dude of the Day" on Saturday and was again interviewed by Greenberg and the ESPN studio crew on Sunday during the network’s coverage of college basketball.
Western Carolina returns home on Tuesday, Jan. 16, with a special 6 p.m. start time to host the current league co-leading Samford Bulldogs in a nationally televised match-up on the CBS Sports Network (check local listings; DIRECTV Ch. 221; Dish Network Ch. 158). The game will also be broadcast on the Catamount Sports Network with live streaming audio and live stats available online at CatamountSports.com. Fans locally can also hear the game on 105.7 FM / 540 AM WRGC “The River” in Sylva (wrgc.com).
Samford (15-2, 4-0 SoCon) enters the much-anticipated match-up in Cullowhee riding a school-record 15-game winning streak while the Catamounts (15-2, 4-0 SoCon) have won nine straight overall on the year and have 10-consecutive home wins in Cullowhee. WCU will celebrate former Catamount great Ronnie Carr who made the first 3-pointer in college basketball history back in November 1980 during Tuesday's home date. Carr will be recognized during a special on-court halftime ceremony.
Advanced tickets for Tuesday’s game are available online at CatamountSports.com/BuyTickets or by phone at (828) 227-2401. Also, the first 1,000 Western Carolina students through the gates with a valid CatCard will receive a free long-sleeve Catamount T-shirt. WCU students receive free admission with a valid ID and are encouraged to arrive early and sit in the “Cat Cage” student section, presented by Prospect Cullowhee.