Fortson Earns SEC Honors

FAYETTEVILLE — Five days after Courtney Fortson became the second Arkansas player ever to notch a triple-double, the point guard set a school first.

He became the first Razorbacks freshman to be named Southeastern Conference Player of the Week.

Fortson was honored by the league Monday after scoring 20 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and dishing out 11 assists in the Razorbacks' 98-70 win against North Carolina Central last Wednesday.

"To be voted SEC Player of the Week is a tremendous honor," Arkansas coach John Pelphrey said of Fortson. "To be the only freshman in the history of Arkansas to do that, that's a pretty cool first to have your name attached to. I'm very, very proud of him. He's probably not going to get a tripe-double every night, but we certainly need his heart and toughness every single night."

It hasn't taken long for Fortson's importance to be felt by Arkansas. He leads the Hogs in scoring (15.4), assists (6.4) and minutes a game (31.7). He's also the team's third-leading rebounding (5.4).

Pelphrey was asked if he was concerned about the success Fortson has achieved so far in his first seven games. He said it's just one of many things all of his young players will have to learn to handle this year.

"I would certainly rather have to deal with players that are good enough to have success than players are not good enough to have success," Pelphrey said.

"That will be a topic of conversation and we've had it before with the triple-double. I don't have any fear of him going out and competing."

Jim Thorpe Classic

Arkansas' game against Austin Peay on Wednesday is the first of three games in the Jim Thorpe Classic.

Austin Peay will play Stephen F. Austin in Bud Walton Arena on Friday night. Arkansas and Stephen F. Austin will play Saturday night.

The classic counts as an exempt tournament for the Razorbacks. Last year, Arkansas played an exempt tournament in Puerto Rico. Pelphrey said the Hogs are hoping to return to traditional exempt tournaments in the future, but hosting one this year was important for the makeup of the 2008-09 team.

"With a young basketball team we said, ‘If we're going to have a chance at all, we better play as many games as we possibly can (at home) because when we play in Bud Walton Arena our fans impact games," Pelphrey said. "The other part of that with a young basketball team was, first semester, let's do as well as we can, don't miss as much school."


Pelphrey said there was no change to the status of forward Montrell McDonald, who has been suspended for the past three games. ... Pelphrey said Arkansas tried to find a fourth team to participate in the Jim Thorpe Classic in the offseason, but couldn't reach an agreement with anyone else. ... Wednesday is the last day of final exams for the Razorbacks.

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