Monday, December 06, 2004
TUSCALOOSA – The University of Alabama’s Kennedy Winston is the man of the hour, earning three national player of the week honors and the Southeastern Conference’s Player of the Week after playing back-to-back games against NCAA tournament teams where he scored 54 points and grabbed 20 rebounds.
The junior forward from Prichard made a last second jumper on Saturday to send Alabama’s road game at Charlotte into overtime and then made the winning shot in the third overtime to lift Alabama to a 102-101 victory. He ended the game with a career-best 33 points and had 10 rebounds as well. Just three nights before against another 2004 NCAA tournament team, East Tennessee State University, Winston scored 21 points and pulled down 10 rebounds.
For his efforts he was named SEC Player of the Week, ESPN National Player of the Week, The Sporting News’ National Player of the Week, and Collegeinsider.com’s national “Star of the Week.”
“It’s a nice honor to have for me individually, but I give a lot of the credit to my team for putting me in that situation, and I give a lot of credit to my coach who gave me the opportunity to go out there and display my talents,” said Winston, a 2004-05 John R. Wooden and Naismith award candidate. “But the most important thing about it all is that we got both wins en route to me and my teammates playing well. If you can play well and win, it’s good both ways.”
It’s the fourth time in his career to be named SEC Player of the Week. He earned the honor three times last season, December 15-21, 2003, February 16-23, 2004 and February 24-March 1, 2004. He’s the first Alabama player to win the league’s honor four times in his Alabama career.
“I’m really excited for Kennedy Winston,” said Alabama head coach Mark Gottfried. “Being selected SEC Player of the Week and then getting the national honors as well is certainly an achievement. He did the things he needed to do to help us win in the East Tennessee State game, and then against Charlotte he had one of those games where big shot after big shot he stepped up for his team, so he’s well deserving of the honors and I’m very happy for him.”
Winston is averaging 18.1 points and 6.3 rebounds after seven games this season.