Arkansas sophomore guard B.J. Young's near triple-double on Saturday night was good enough to earn him the league's top honor on Monday.
Young (6-3, 180) was named the SEC's Player of the Week after he scored 26 points, grabbed a career-high 13 rebounds and dished out 7 assists in a 79-61 over Northwestern (LA) State.
The pre-season All-SEC first team selection is now averaging 17.5 points and 4.4 assists to lead the Razorbacks (8-4) in both categories and is also grabbing 4.7 boards per game.
"I think we have a lot more guys this year that can make plays as well, so that takes a scoring load off of me," Young said early last week. " I can still score when I need to, but I like to get other guys involved, too, and share the wealth with everybody and make the smart play on the court. Just make the play that needs to be made at the right time."
Always a scorer, Young has 48 assists to only 21 turnovers this season for the Razorbacks as he has tried to expand his game.
He had 73 assists and 74 turnovers last season as a true freshman, when he averaged an SEC rookie-best 15.3 points and shot 50 percent from the field overall, 41.3 percent from 3-point range and 74.3 percent from the free throw line.
"I use that (ability to score) and my attacking ability to draw multiple defenders and kick to teammates," Young said. "I just tell them to stay ready to catch it and shoot. I think that's what guys have been doing this year. Marshawn Powell and other guys have been putting the ball in the hole for me. They've been making me look good.
"... Whenever I get a chance for a one-on-one on offense, I still make plays," Young added. "I still like to score. ... It's just been a different kind of year for me, but it's fun. I like this team, and I think we're going to be ready for the upcoming games."
Teammate Marshawn Powell likes what he is seeing from Young, who has played well offensively despite struggling with from deep this season while making just 22 percent of his 3-pointers (9-of-41).
"He's gotten a whole lot better from last year," Powell said. "BJ draws a lot of attention, so that opens things up for the other guys. He does a great job of giving it up at the right time. ... When he knows what to do and how to do it, he's pretty good at doing it."
Arkansas sophomore center Hunter Mickelson lauded Young's play as well.
"He's still looking to score, but he's got the team on his mind, too." Mickelsons said. "... I think he's looking for everybody else a little bit more this year. Of course, he looked (to pass) last year, too, but we didn't have as many guys as we do now. He's a got lot more options this year, and he's using that to our advantage."
The 13 rebounds seemed to be what impressed Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson most.
"It's in him," Anderson said. "Our defense was pushed back playing a lot of matchup so it's imperative that we rebound. He is around the ball a lot and hats off to him. That's part of continuing to round the game off. He is showing the facet of being a distributor and a scorer and now you start adding in the rebounding factor because some of the better guards in the country rebound the basketball. BJ is athletic enough that he is capable of doing it."
Young has now scored at least 20 points this season with a high of 29 against Arizona State.
Arkansas has won four games in a row and does not play against until Saturday night when it hosts Delaware State (5-8), who lost 79-50 to Maryland in its last outing.
The Hornets play at Marshall on Wednesday before traveling to Fayetteville for this weekend's game.
"Coach Anderson told us this was the last time that we will have this long of a break so we are just going to enjoy it and practice hard and try not to get too rusty for the next game," Young said. "We want to take this same energy and build on it and take it into the next game."
Young Named SEC Player of Week
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