BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — WKU senior guard Orlando Mendez-Valdez has been named the Sun Belt Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Week, the conference office announced Monday afternoon. It is the first career selection for the San Antonio, Texas native and the 44th for WKU in 26 years of SBC affiliation. Mendez-Valdez joins AJ Slaughter as Toppers to win the league's highest weekly award this season. Slaughter was tabbed with the honor on December 2.
In five games over the period, Mendez-Valdez averaged 15.8 points, 5.2 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and 2.0 steals per game in leading the Hilltoppers to a 4-1 mark including a perfect 3-0 start to Sun Belt Conference play.
The highlight of the past three weeks came on January 1 in WKU's 99-76 win over Troy. The senior guard hit 7-of-12 shots, including 4-of-8 from deep, for 18 points to go with career-highs in rebounds (10) and assists (12), resulting in the first-ever known triple double in the remarkable 90-year history of WKU basketball.
In the team's Sun Belt opener at South Alabama, Mendez-Valdez drilled 7-of-11 shots for 20 points in the 69-66 win. He poured in a career-best 25 in a loss to Florida State in Sunrise, Fla. as part of the MetroPCS Orange Bowl Classic. Drilling 7-of-9 three-pointers, the 6-1 guard tied the 15-year tournament record for made threes in a single game.
For the five-game period, he shot over 58 percent from the field and was 19-of-35 from long range for 54.3 percent.
WKU embarks on a three-game, seven-day road swing beginning tonight in Starkville, Miss. against Southeastern Conference foe Mississippi State at 7:00 PM. The game is being broadcast on CSS, WKYU-PBS in Bowling Green, and on ESPN360.com.