KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (release) -- The Southeastern Conference announced Monday that Tennessee point guard Trae Golden has been named SEC Basketball Player of the Week following his breakthrough performance in the Vols’ season-opening win over UNC Greensboro last Friday.
Golden—who in 31 previous career games played had never scored in double figures—exploded for 29 points, six rebounds, nine assists, two blocks and a steal in 27 dominant minutes against the Spartans. The Powder Springs, Ga., native’s single-game totals for points, assists and field goals made (10) all rank first among SEC players so far this season.
In just the second start of the sophomore’s career, Golden did not miss a 2-point field-goal attempt (5-5), and he shot 4-of-5 at the free-throw line while powering UT to a 92-63 victory.
But perhaps one of the most noteworthy aspects of his effort Friday was the fact that he shot 5-of-9 from 3-point range after making only six 3-pointers all of last season.
“I felt like they challenged me to shoot the three,” Golden said after the game. “I only shot about 25 percent last season, so I would challenge me, too. I’ve been working on my shot, and the improvement is really repetition.”
Behind Golden’s effort, Tennessee shot an impressive .646 from the field as a team and .625 from 3-point range. The Vols currently lead the SEC in both statistical categories.
Golden and the Big Orange return to action Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET when they host ULM (0-1) at Thompson-Boling Arena.