Modica's Big Week Earns SEC Honor

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas has gone four seasons between three-game winning streaks in the Southeastern Conference, and nearly as long between Player of the Week honors.

Arkansas junior Jonathon  Modica helped the Razorbacks snap both those streaks with his 25-point, 9-rebound performance against LSU on Saturday to earn the SEC's Player of the Week.

Modica is the first Razorback since Jannero Pargo in 2002 to win the honor and only the fifth Arkansas player to earn the honor in the last 10 seasons.

Modica also scored 14 against Georgia in the Hogs' 62-47 win last Wednesday and is averaging 17.3 points in three games since coach Stan Heath reinserted him into the starting lineup against Ole Miss on Feb. 5.

Not coincidentally, Modica's resurgence has paralleled the Razorbacks' three-game winning streak, their first since taking five straight to close out the regular season and one in the SEC Tournament in 2001.

He took the honor in stride, just as he did his 25 points Saturday.

With No. 16 Alabama and Vanderbilt coming up on the road, matching the five-game win streak from 2001 will be a tall task, but Modica would like to see one of his teammates be able to claim Player of The Week honors next Monday.

"I'm grateful I got a chance to be recognized as the SEC Player of the Week, but hopefully we can win these two games this week and something similar can happen," he said.

Modica has hit 21 of his last 37 shots (56.7 percent) and dropped 4 of 7 three-pointers on LSU.

"I'm in a groove," Modica said. "I feel good. I'm not forcing a lot and I'm getting a lot of good looks. Fortunately, I'm taking advantage of them. I just hope and pray things continue to go the way we want them to."

Modica said his slumps from earlier in the nonconference and SEC seasons are over.

"I feel good," Modica said. "I feel confident. Whatever happened earlier in the year, I really don't care. My team is on a three-game winning streak and we're trying to get in the NCAA Tournament.

"That's the only thing that matters right now."

His team-first attitude and his success within that concept is what had Heath beaming on Monday.

He's averaged six rebounds and three assists in his last three games.

"Happy for him," Heath said. "Well-deserved. Any time you put up numbers and you're winning games, that's a good thing."

Modica, who made a pair of free throws and the go-ahead basket in the closing moments at Ole Miss and started the LSU game 6 of 6 from the field, had a career-high 7 assists against the Rebels and a season-high 9 rebounds against the Tigers.

"What I like about how he's playing now is that he's getting a lot of things done within the team concept," Heath said. "I think that's major growth from how he has been for the last couple years. He's always been a gifted scorer, but now he's doing it with everybody involved.

"You're seeing different parts of his game."

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