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Feb. 2, 2010

ST. LOUIS – The U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) has selected South Carolina guard Devan Downey as its Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week for games ending the week of Sunday, Jan. 31. The USBWA’s weekly honor is presented by Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook. It marks the first such honor of Downey’s career and the first for the Southeastern Conference this season.

As the SEC Player of the Week, Downey was nominated for the weekly award, which was chosen by a representative of the USBWA board of directors from a list of Division I conference players of the week.

Downey, a 5-9 senior from Chester, S.C., led the Gamecocks to two SEC victories, scoring a combined 63 points, including a 30-point effort in Carolina’s 68-62 upset victory over previously unbeaten No. 1 Kentucky on Tuesday. The win was South Carolina’s first ever vs. the top-ranked team in the AP poll. Downey added five rebounds, three assists and two steals while shooting 10-for-11 from the free-throw line.

He followed up with a 33-point effort in a 78-77 win over Georgia on Saturday. The game was his third consecutive with 30-plus points and his fifth in seven SEC games this season.

This is the first season that the USBWA has selected a national player of the week. The weekly Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week is added to the Oscar Robertson Trophy watch list, which will be released at mid-season.

Since the 1958-59 season, the USBWA has named a National Player of the Year. In 1998, the award was named in honor of the University of Cincinnati Hall of Famer and two-time USBWA Player of the Year Oscar Robertson. It is the nation’s oldest award and the only one named after a former player.

At the conclusion of the regular season, the USBWA will name finalists for the award, which is voted on by the entire membership of the USBWA. The winner of the 2010 Oscar Robertson Trophy will be announced and presented by its namesake, Oscar Robertson, at the USBWA’s annual awards breakfast on Fri., April 2 in Indianapolis, site of the 2010 NCAA Men’s Final Four.

The U.S. Basketball Writers Association was formed in 1956 at the urging of then-NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers. With some 900 members worldwide, it is one of the most influential organizations in college basketball. It has selected an All-America team since the 1956-57 season.

2009-10 Oscar Robertson National Players of the Week
• Week of Dec. 13: Gordon Hayward, Butler
• Week of Dec. 20: Jon Scheyer, Duke
• Week of Dec. 27: Devin Ebanks, West Virginia
• Week of Jan. 3: Jimmer Fredette, BYU
• Week of Jan. 10: Luke Harangody, Notre Dame
• Week of Jan. 17: Damion James, Texas
• Week of Jan. 24: Adrian Oliver, San Jose State
• Week of Jan. 31: Devan Downey, South Carolina