KNECHT REPEATS AS SEC PLAYER OF THE WEEK, WINS NAISMITH PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Courtesy / UT Athletics

KNECHT REPEATS AS SEC PLAYER OF THE WEEK, WINS NAISMITH PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Courtesy / UT Sports

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – For the third time this season, including the second in a row, Dalton Knecht of the University of Tennessee men’s basketball team is the SEC Player of the Week, as announced Monday afternoon by the league office.

Knecht also garnered Naismith Trophy Player of the Week plaudits, as revealed Monday afternoon by the Atlanta Tipoff Club/Naismith Awards. He is the first Volunteer to claim the accolade since Grant Williams on Jan. 28, 2019.

The 6-foot-6, 213-pounder from Thornton, Colo., averaged 32.0 points per game for the second consecutive week, this time doing so in wire-to-wire home wins over Florida and Alabama. He added 6.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game to his ledger, while shooting 21-of-43 (48.8 percent) overall, 5-of-12 (41.7 percent) beyond the arc and a perfect 17-of-17 at the line.

Knecht poured in a career-best 39 points in Tuesday’s 85-66 victory over the Gators, finishing 13-of-23 from the field, 4-of-6 on 3-pointers and 9-of-9 at the stripe. Saturday, he logged 25 points in a 91-71 triumph over the Crimson Tide.

With his 39-point showing versus Florida, Knecht became the first SEC player since LSU’s Shaquille O’Neal in February 1991 to log back-to-back 35-point games, per Jared Berson. His 25-point performance against Alabama made him the fifth SEC player in the last 14 seasons (2010-24) to hit that total in four consecutive outings.

Additionally, this week alone, Knecht became the first SEC player to make eight-plus free throws without a miss since LSU’s Tari Eason on Feb. 26 and March 2, 2022.

While no other individual has claimed even two SEC Player of the Week distinctions this season, Knecht is already the first person from any school to earn three in a season since Auburn’s Walker Kessler in 2021-22.

The fifth-year guard, who previously won the award both Nov. 13 and Jan. 15, is also the fourth player in Tennessee history to do so thrice in a single campaign, joining Grant Williams (2018-19), Chris Lofton (2006-07 & 2005-06) and Dyron Nix (1988-89). The league first started giving out the recognition in 1984-85.

In addition, Knecht is the first back-to-back honoree in the league since Kentucky’s Immanuel Quickley nearly four years ago, as he won March 2 and Feb. 24, 2020. Two of the last three SEC players to receive the distinction in consecutive weeks are Vols, as the last person to achieve the feat before Quickley was Tennessee’s Admiral Schofield on March 5 and Feb. 26, 2019.

Knecht and Schofield are the only Volunteers in the last 20 years to win back-to-back SEC Player of the Week awards. Just two others—Ron Slay on Feb. 17 and Feb. 10, 2003, and Nix on Dec. 6 and Nov. 29, 1989—have done so in program history.
In total, this is the 18th time in head coach Rick Barnes‘ nine seasons a Volunteer has earned SEC Player of the Week accolades.

Knecht and fifth-ranked Tennessee continue play, after a midweek bye, Saturday at 6 p.m. ET against Vanderbilt at Memorial Gymnasium in Nashville, Tenn., live on SEC Network.

To keep up with the University of Tennessee men’s basketball team on social media, follow @Vol_Hoops on Instagram and X/Twitter, as well as /tennesseebasketball on Facebook.

Courtesy / UT Athletics

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