Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Gonzaga’s Kyle Wiltjer Named ZAGSBLOG National Player of the Week
By CHRIS RUSSELL
Gonzaga’s Kyle Wiltjer has been named the ZAGSBLOG National Player of the Week.
The Kentucky transfer went on a tear against Pacific on Thursday, scoring a career-high 45 points on 15-for-22 shooting, including a near perfect 8-for-9 from three-point land.
“I was just in the zone,” Wiltjer told reporters. “My teammates just got me the ball. I wasn’t thinking of it and it just happened.”
Wiltjer followed up with 16 points and 12 rebounds in Saturday night’s comeback road victory over St. Mary’s. With the victory, Gonzaga has extended their winning-streak to 21 and claimed the outright WCC regular season championship.
Joe Lunardi of ESPN currently has Gonzaga as a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and Wiltjer could eventually end up facing his former team — No. 1 Kentucky — in the NCAA Tournament.
“Who knows?” Wiltjer told me in November. “Its’ a crazy tournament.”
Next game: Feb. 26 vs. San Diego @ 11 PM
OTHER NOTABLE PERFORMANCESQuinn Cook, Duke – The senior from Washington, D.C. was instrumental in Duke’s 92-90 comeback victory over arch-rival North Carolina on Wednesday. Against the Tar Heels, Cook scored 22 points on 7-for-15 shooting, including 6-for-9 from behind the arc. Cook followed up with a stellar performance by posting 27 points, 4 assists and 4 rebounds in a victory against Clemson, a game where All-American center Jahlil Okafor did not play due to an ankle injury.
Next game: Feb. 25 at Virginia Tech @ 9 PM
Jerian Grant, Notre Dame – Though Grant didn’t lead the Fighting Irish in scoring in Saturdays 87-70 win over Boston College, he did distribute 11 assists and scored 10 points for the Irish. On Tuesday, Grant was spectacular against Wake Forrest, posting 24 points, 10 assists and 5 steals in an 88-75 victory. The senior from Bowie, MD leads Notre Dame in scoring on the season (17.2) and has helped lead the Irish to a 24-4 record and 12-3 (second place) in conference play.
Next game: Feb. 24 vs Syracuse @ 8 PM
Montrezl Harrell, Louisville – It’s hard to imagine what Rick Pitino’s squad would do without Harrell. On Saturday, Harrell took matters into his own hands, lifting the Cardinals to a 55-53 victory over Miami. Against the Canes, Harrell scored 21 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in 40 minutes of action. Despite having his captaincy removed two weeks ago, the 6-foot-9 forward continues to be the most consistent player on a dysfunctional Louisville team that just parted ways with point guard Chris Jones. On the season, Harrell is averaging 15.6 points, 9.5 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game.
Next game: Feb. 23 at Georgia Tech @ 7 PM
Jarell Martin, LSU – Saturday’s 70-63 victory over Florida kept LSU’s NCAA tournament hopes alive. Against the Gators, Martin was a man amongst boys, posting a career high 28 points on 8-for-15 shooting and tallied 13 boards. On the season, Martin has posted a double-double on eight occasions. With the victory, the Tigers currently sit “On the Bubble” in Joe Lunardi’s latest Bracketology.
Next game: Feb. 24 at Auburn @ 7 PM
Follow Chris on Twitter
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.