Shelton SEC Player of the Week

TUSCALOOSA -- University of Alabama junior guard Earnest Shelton has been named the Southeastern Conference Player of the Week. It is the first time the Memphis native has won the honor.

"It's an honor, and I'm thankful for it," said Earnest Shelton, a starter on the Crimson Tide men's basketball team who is also an Academic All-SEC player.

"But mostly I thank my teammates for helping me get this because basically without their screens and them passing me the ball, this is something I would have never achieved. It's more of a team award than my award."

Shelton's past week of basketball included scoring 22 points in Alabama's December 3 win against Charlotte and 23 points in Saturday's win against Austin Peay. In fact, in three of his last four games, Shelton has scored 22 or more points as he had 28 points in Alabama's November 25 win against Southeastern Louisiana.

Shelton leads the Tide in scoring with 16.8 points a game, a jump from the 5.1 points a game he averaged last season.

"I'm more aggressive than I was in the past," said Shelton who along with his teammates is stepping up his play to accommodate for the loss of four starters from Alabama's 2003 NCAA tournament team.

"I got screens last year, but I'm getting a lot more screens this year. My teammates are really looking for me--they're basically counting on me to score considering everything we lost last year. We have to come in night after night and meet the challenge."

Kenny Walker, one of those starters lost to graduation last season, was Alabama's last SEC Player of the Week. He won the award on December 30, 2002, the same week Alabama was ranked No. 1 in the national rankings.

Shelton's award marks the tenth time an Alabama player has received the honor since the 1994-95 season and the 19th overall. He joins a list that includes: Terry Coner (1985 & 1986), Buck Johnson (1985), Derrick McKey (1986 & 1987), Michael Ansley (1989), Melvin Cheatum (1990), Latrell Sprewell (1992), James Robinson (1993), Brian Williams (1996, 1997 and 1999), Roy Rogers (1996), Eric Washington (1996), Rod Grizzard (2000), Gerald Wallace (2000), Erwin Dudley (2002) and Kenny Walker.

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