CANMORE, Alta. — It’s no secret that the Oakland Golden Grizzlies are the team to beat in the Horizon League this season, especially with the departure of the Valparaiso Crusaders to the Missouri Valley Conference.
They have one of the more experienced roster in the country, headlined by five seniors. They have a trio of Horizon League Player of the Year contenders, in Jalen Hayes, Kendrick Nunn, and Martez Walker. All three players have started their 2017-18 season strong, and the Golden Grizzlies are starting to round into form.
Over the past week, Oakland took to the court three times. They came into the week with a 2-3 record, and were looking to get back on the right track. Two of the three games were away from home, so the Golden Grizzlies still had their work cut out for themselves.
Thanks in large part to Walker, who posted a pair of 30+ scoring performances over the week, Oakland came away with a perfect 3-0 record. They pushed their record above the .500 mark in the process, and showed that they are truly rounding into form.
For his efforts this past week, a stretch that saw him average more than 28 points per game in three wins, Oakland senior guard Martez Walker has been named the College Court Report Player of the Week for November 27 – December 3, 2017!
Coming into the week, the Golden Grizzlies were riding a three game losing streak, with all three losses coming away from home.
On Monday, Oakland capped off their four game road trip with a contest against the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles. The teams needed overtime to decide the game, and the Golden Grizzlies came away with the 93-86 win to push their record back to .500 for the season.
Walker played all 45 minutes on the day, and he scored a team-high 32 points to lead Oakland to the victory. He was 12-of-20 (60.0%) from the floor, and 5-of-11 (45.5%) from three point range in the win. Walker also chipped in six rebounds, five assists, and one block, while committing just one turnover in what his most well-rounded game of the season to date.
Three nights later, the Golden Grizzlies were back on their home floor to take on the Texas Southern Tigers. The Tigers are consistently the top team in the SWAC, so Oakland knew that the contest wasn’t going to be an easy one.
Once again, Walker was at the forefront of the offensive attack for the Golden Grizzlies. His 22 points tied Brailen Neely for the team-high, and Oakland put up a season-high 97 points in their 10-point win over the Tigers.
Walker finished the game shooting 9-of-20 (45.0%) from the floor, and a perfect 3-of-3 from the free throw line. He also registered four blocks in the win.
After a brief stop at home, the Golden Grizzlies closed out their week with a road contest against the Western Michigan Broncos on Saturday. The game kicked off a two game road swing in the state of Michigan.
Just like the previous two games, Walker led the team on the offensive end of the floor, posting his second 32-point game of the week in the Golden Grizzlies’ 78-73 win over the Broncos. Oakland trailed by three at the half, but put up 41 points in the second frame to take home the five-point victory.
Walker shot 50% or better from the field for the fifth time in eight games against Western Michigan. He finished 10-of-14 (71.4%) from the floor, and 5-of-7 (71.4%) from three point range, in the win.
For the week, Walker averaged 28.7 points per game on 31-of-54 (57.4%) shooting from the floor across the Golden Grizzlies’ three wins. He added 2.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 2.0 blocks per contest for an all-round strong stretch of games for the senior.
Walker is in his third season with the Golden Grizzlies after transferring from the Texas Longhorns following his freshman season. The native of nearby Detroit, MI has developed into a leader over his three years at Oakland, and has improved immensely on the offensive end with each passing year.
Walker and the rest of the Golden Grizzlies have their sights set on the 2018 NCAA Tournament, where they could make some serious noise due to their wealth of experience and talent.
On the heels of a strong week, one that saw Oakland improve their record to 5-3 overall with a perfect week, senior guard Martez Walker is the College Court Report Player of the Week for November 27 – December 3, 2017!
– T. Bennett
Nov. 20 – 26, 2017: Zach Thomas, Bucknell Bison
Nov. 13 – 19, 2017: Femi Olujobi, North Carolina A&T Aggies
Nov. 10 – 12, 2017: Geno Crandall, North Dakota Fighting Hawks
**College Court Report Player of the Week recipients are selected from teams in the following conferences:
America East, Atlantic Sun, Atlantic 10, Big Sky, Big South, Big West, Colonial, Conference USA, Horizon League, Ivy League, MAAC, MAC, MEAC, Missouri Valley, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Patriot League, Southern, Southland, Summit League, SWAC, Sun Belt, West Coast, and WAC