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Holly MacKenzie

The Naismith Notes: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander earns Player of the Week honours dropping career numbers

It didn’t take long for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to settle into the new NBA season. After a week where Gilgeous-Alexander led the Oklahoma City Thunder to a perfect 3-0 record, the 24-year-old was named Western Conference Player of the Week, joining Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo in the East.

This is the second time in Gilgeous-Alexander’s career that he has earned Player of the Week honours.

In a 108-94 victory against the Los Angeles Clippers, Gilgeous-Alexander had 33 points to go with five rebounds, eight assists, three blocks and three steals.

He followed that up with 24 points, five rebounds, six assists and three steals in a 118-110 victory, also over the Clippers, on Thursday. Capping off his week of dominance, and sealing his Player of the Week nod, was a brilliant 38-point, six-rebound, nine-assist performance in a 117-111 overtime victory over the Dallas Mavericks. After the Thunder came back from 16 points down with less than four minutes remaining, Gilgeous-Alexander scored OKC’s first six points in the overtime period to help the Thunder pull away.

The fifth-year guard is averaging a career-high 31.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 1.2 blocks and 2.4 steals per game through Oklahoma City’s first five games this season.

- Rookie Bennedict Mathurin is also making life in the NBA look easy. The 20-year-old rookie has been fantastic through Indiana’s first eight games of the season, averaging 20.4 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists. Mathurin is also shooting 43 percent from three. In a 125-116 road win against the Brooklyn Nets, Mathurin scored a career-high 32 points to go with five rebounds and two assists in 33 minutes.

He shot 8-for-16 from the floor, 6-for-9 from beyond the arc and was a perfect 10-for-10 on free throws. He came off the bench in the game, becoming the first rookie in franchise history to score 32 points off the bench.

- After dealing with injuries to start the preseason, big men Chris Boucher and Khem Birch made their season debuts for the Toronto Raptors. Both players are in their sixth NBA season, while this is the fifth season in Toronto for Boucher and the third for Birch.

- Guard Dillon Brooks also returned to the court for the Memphis Grizzlies after missing the end of preseason and start of the regular season with a thigh injury. The 26 year old is in his sixth NBA season, all spent with Memphis. After easing back into action, Brooks scored 30 points on 12-for-20 field goals, including 4-for-7 three-point field goals in his third game back for the Grizzlies.

- Teammate Brandon Clarke had 16 points on 6-for-8 shooting in a 125-110 Memphis victory over the Sacramento Kings on Thursday. Like Brooks, Clarke has spent all four of his NBA seasons with the Grizzlies, after being selected 21st overall in the 2019 NBA Draft.

- Kelly Olynyk continues to roll in Utah. The Jazz have had one of the best starts to the season, sitting third in the Western Conference with a 6-2 record. Olynyk has been one of the biggest reasons for that start as the 10th-year veteran has done a bit of everything for the Jazz through the team’s first eight games. Olynyk is averaging 12.9 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.6 steals and nearly a block per game in 27.4 minutes per contest. He has been there when the Jazz have needed a bucket, he’s already scored a game-winner, and his patience and calm under pressure has come in clutch for a Jazz team that has already had a pair of back-to-back overtime victories. He had a 23-point performance in a 124-123 thriller against Memphis on Saturday.

- Minnesota Lynx forward Bridget Carleton was honoured by her high school, John McGregor Secondary School over the weekend. Speaking to the crowd about the hours spent in that very gym, Carleton reflected on falling in love with the game over her four years playing for the school where she was coached by her mother, Carrie. Getting emotional at times, Carleton shared her appreciation for the honour with the crowd.

Senior Women’s National Team head coach Víctor Lapeña congratulated Carleton on the honour with some kind words on Twitter.

- Nirra Fields had a huge Saturday, dropping a game-high 32 points for Emlak Konut Istanbul against Fenerbahce in an 87-82 loss against the powerhouse. Fields shot 9-for-17 from the floor, including 3-for-5 from beyond the arc and 5-for-6 from the line in 38 minutes of action. She added a game-high five steals. Through four games this season, Fields is averaging a team-best 19.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 3.5 steals per game while shooting 54 percent from the floor.

- Sophomore centre Charles Bediako was named to the Kareem Abdul Jabbar Watch List. The award recognizes the top centre in college basketball for their on-court achievements. The seven-footer is in his second season with the Alabama Crimson Tide and was one of 20 players on the list.

- Finally, it was a big weekend for Canadian Women’s 3x3 players Paige Crozon and Kacie Bosch who were named the University of Lethbridge Sportspersons of the Year. Along with Michelle Plouffe and Katherine Plouffe, Bosch and Crozon helped lead a Canadian 3x3 squad that was dominant all season en-route to being named the 2022 FIBA 3x3 Women’s Series Champions. The team went undefeated in Constanta, Romania as they defeated France 21-16 in the final to be crowned Women’s Series champs. Bosch and Crozon were up for the challenge during this entire Women's Series season and their recognition is most deserved.