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Holly MacKenzie

The Naismith Notes: Zach Edey named Sporting News National Player of the Year

It’s been a week for the record books for Purdue’s Zach Edey. After being named the College Game Day Player of the Year on Saturday, Edey was named the Associated Press Big 10 Player of the Year on Tuesday. He followed that up by taking Sporting News’ National Player of the Year honours on Wednesday.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">🌟 One of the most-dominating seasons in Big Ten history. <a href="">@zach_edey</a> is your PLAYER OF THE YEAR! <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Purdue Men&#39;s Basketball (@BoilerBall) <a href="">March 7, 2023</a></blockquote><script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>

“I think my perception of ‘great’ has changed a lot,” Edey told the Sporting News. “Coming out of high school, I had no idea. I never thought I was going to be a great player. I thought I was going to be a pretty good player. I was hoping to come into college and have an impact on my team.”

“My version of being great my freshman year was being solid off the bench, someone who comes in and helps with winning,” he told the publication. And then last year, my perception of being great – I’ve actually thought about this a little bit this year. Last year if I had like 15 and 10, that was like a great game. This year, it flipped everything on its head. This year, if I walk out of a game and I have 18 and 10, I think I've had an off game. I should have done better.”

The Toronto native averaged 21.9 points, 12.8 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game in his junior season for the Boilermakers as he’d led the team to a 26-5 record. He scored in double figures in every game he played this season, including dropping a career-high 38 points to go with 13 rebounds in a Purdue victory against Michigan State University in January.

Edey’s rise is even more incredible when you consider that he only began playing basketball at 16 years old. After a season of impeccable play, the 7-foot-4 centre took to Twitter to reflect on how far he’s come in three years at Purdue.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Took the day to take this in. Three years ago only 2 schools in this conference thought I was good enough to play at this level. Life changes fast man <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; zach (@zach_edey) <a href="">March 7, 2023</a></blockquote><script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>

Edey wasn’t the only Canadian having a huge week. UConn’s Aaliyah Edwards was named Most Outstanding Player for the Big East Tournament as she led UConn to its 10th consecutive Big East Tournament title. Edwards had 19 points and 15 rebounds in a 67-56 UConn victory over Villanova in Monday’s Championship Game. She averaged 19.3 points and 13.3 rebounds over three games in the tournament while shooting 61 percent from the floor.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">The BIG EAST Tournament MOP - who else by Aaliyah Edwards?<br><br>- 19.3 PPG<br>- 13.3 RPG<br>- 61.0 FG% <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; UConn Women’s Basketball (@UConnWBB) <a href="">March 7, 2023</a></blockquote><script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>

Edward’s being named Big East Tournament MVP came less than a week after she was named the Big East’s Most Improved Player. She is one of two players who have played in every game for the Huskies this season, averaging 16.6 points and 9.2 rebounds per game.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">The BIG EAST’s Most Improved Player!<br><br>👏 Aaliyah Edwards <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; UConn Women’s Basketball (@UConnWBB) <a href="">March 2, 2023</a></blockquote><script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>

Laeticia Amihere made her presence felt for the South Carolina Gamecocks in the SEC Tournament this weekend. While the season-high 17 points to go with seven assists and six rebounds in South Carolina’s 80-51 win against Ole Miss made headlines, it was this block that made the highlight reels.

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Amihere averaged 12.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists over South Carolina’s three games in the tournament as South Carolina went undefeated to claim the SEC Tournament title. After the final, Tournament MVP Aliyah Boston singled out Amihere’s strong play in the tournament and handed over her own trophy to Amihere for her performance.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">.<a href="">@_Theblackqueen_</a> deserves her flowers! <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; South Carolina Women&#39;s Basketball (@GamecockWBB) <a href="">March 6, 2023</a></blockquote><script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>

Shifting to G League action, Leonard Miller dropped a career-high 30 points to go with 12 rebounds as the G League Ignite took on Capital City. He followed that up with a 16-point, eight-rebound effort as he took on Raptors 905 in front of family and friends in Mississauga. Libaan Osman highlighted Miller’s basketball journey for the Toronto Star.

Mychal Mulder exploded for 10 three-pointers in a 135-133 Sioux Falls Skyforce comeback victory against the South Bay Lakers on Monday. He shot 10-for-15 from deep, while adding seven assists. Mulder’s 104 made threes leads the G League this season.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">🔥 36 PTS<br>🔥 10 3PM<br>🔥 7 AST<a href="">@MychalMulder</a> powered the Force to the win over the Lakers <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Sioux Falls Skyforce (@SFSkyforce) <a href="">March 7, 2023</a></blockquote><script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>

Team Canada legend Kim Gaucher was inducted into the PAC-12 Hall of Honor for her stellar career with the University of Utah. Gaucher was a member of the 2023 all-female class, in recognition of the passing of Title IX. Be sure to click the link below and scroll through the photos of Gaucher and her family celebrating the honour.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Kim Gaucher enters <a href="">@pac12</a> Hall of Honor!! 👏<br><br>Story: <a href=""></a><a href="">@UtahWBB</a> | <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GoUtes</a><a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Utah Athletics (@utahathletics) <a href="">March 5, 2023</a></blockquote><script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>

In NBA action, the Denver Nuggets are the top team in the West and are on a four-game winning streak. Jamal Murray has averaged 25 points and eight assists per game over that span. His impact was on full display in a 118-113 Nuggets win against the Toronto Raptors on Monday where Murray was the best player down the stretch in a close game as the Nuggets managed to pull away late. The Kitchener native is averaging 20.3 points, 4.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game this season while shooting 46 percent from the floor and 39 percent from beyond the arc.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Big cheesin&#39; <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) <a href="">March 7, 2023</a></blockquote><script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>

RJ Barrett had 29 points, 11 rebounds and three assists in a huge 131-129 2OT Knicks victory against the Boston Celtics on Sunday. After winning nine straight games, the Knicks finally had their winning streak snapped by the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday, but Barrett’s play through the team’s winning streak deserves recognition. Barrett is averaging 19.7 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game in his fourth NBA season and he’s found ways to contribute whatever the team has needed from him during that stretch.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">RJ is getting BUCKETS 🪣 <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) <a href="">March 6, 2023</a></blockquote><script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>

The Oklahoma City Thunder have won their last three games and as per usual, when Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is on the floor, he has led the way. In a 129-119 victory over the Utah Jazz on Sunday, Gilgeous-Alexander had 38 points, seven rebounds, four assists, a block and three steals. He followed that up with a 33-point, three-rebound, six-assist, two-steal performance in a 137-128 win against Golden State. Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging 31.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game this season.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Keeping the main thing, the main thing 🤝 <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) <a href="">March 6, 2023</a></blockquote><script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>