BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Following a breakout 26-point performance in a 30-point victory over NJIT, Kentucky freshman forward Skal Labissiere (pictured) was named the Southeastern Conference’s Co-Freshman of the Week on Monday, Nov. 16. LSU’s Antonio Blakeney shared the honors with Labissiere.
Labissiere was instrumental to the Wildcats in a pair of victories to open the 2015-16 season. The Port-au-Prince, Haiti native averaged team highs in points (17.5) and blocks (3.0) for the week. In the opener against Albany, Labissiere posted nine points, five rebounds and a team-high four blocks. The four blocks in his season debut were the most since Anthony Davis had five against Marist in 2011. Labissiere then exploded offensively with a 10-for-12 performance from the field and a perfect 6-of-6 day from the charity stripe for a 26-point performance against the Highlanders. He scored 18 points before halftime, the second most in a first half in the John Calipari era. He did not miss a shot in the opening half.
He’s the second freshman under Calipari to score 25 or more points in one of his first two career games. Terrence Jones was the other first-year player to turn the trick in the season opener in 2010-11. Furthermore, UK did not have a 20-point scorer in 2014-15 until the eighth game of the season. This is the first such honor of Labissiere’s career. With Labissiere’s Co-Freshman of the Week accolade, Calipari has a streak of seven consecutive years with a player earning a league award following the opening weekend of action. Trey Lyles was tabbed the Freshman of the Week a season ago while Eric Bledsoe (Freshman of the Week, 2010), Jones (Freshman of the Week, 2011), Davis (Freshman of the Week, 2012), Julius Randle (Player of the Week, 2014) and Kyle Wiltjer (Player of the Week, 2013) were the other players honored. UK will play its third game in five days with a trip to Chicago for the Champions Classic on Tuesday. The Wildcats will meet Duke at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Photos by Jamie H. Vaught