Providence, RI-University of Memphis freshman Austin Nichols has been named the American Athletic Conference Rookie of the Week, the league office announced Monday.
It is the third week in a row and the fourth time this season Nichols earned the weekly honor, as he also received it Dec. 2, 2013, Feb. 24, 2014, and Mar. 3, 2014. It is the seventh time this season a Tiger has been honored by the league. In addition to Nichols’ four weekly awards, Shaw Goodwin was twice named The American Player of the Week Dec. 2, 2013, and Jan. 13, 2014, and Nick King the league’s Rookie of the Week Nov. 25, 2013.
Last week, Nichols averaged 15.5 points and 6.0 rebounds and shot 66.7 percent from the field (14-of-21) as Memphis split a pair of games against top-25 opponents. The 6-foot-8 forward scored 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting in a 97-84 loss at No. 15/15 Cincinnati Mar. 6. He followed that game with 14 points (7-of-9 FG), nine rebounds and three blocked shots in a 67-58 win against No. 18/18 SMU Mar. 8.
The Collierville, Tenn., native has picked up his play recently, netting double figures in his last six games. He averaged 14.0 points and shot 67.9 percent from the floor in the last six contests.
On the season, Nichols has started all 31 games and is averaging 9.3 points and 4.3 rebounds. He leads the team in field goal percentage (60.0) and is second on the squad in blocked shots (41). Nichols is ranked among the American Athletic Conference statistical leaders in field goal percentage (2nd) and blocked shots (9th).
The Tigers (23-8, 12-6 The American), ranked No. 19 in both national polls, return to action Thursday, Mar. 13 when open play in the inaugural American Athletic Conference Tournament at FedExForum. Memphis meets No. 21/21 Connecticut (24-7, 12-6 The American) in a quarterfinal contest at approximately 8 p.m. (CT).