This week, we honor a senior Cowboy who went down fighting in his last conference tournament on his way to the helping get his team to the NIT ...
Player of the Week
Diego Kapelan (Vancouver) – Senior, McNeese State
This past week, Diego Kapelan had one of his best stretches this season helping lead his team deep into the Southland Conference Tournament. In his three games, he averaged 17 points, 1.7 rebounds, and an assist in 29 minutes of action. He shot 17-of-36 from the floor including 8-of-22 from the three while making all 9 of his free throw attempts. On the strength of his performance, Kapelan is named to the Southland Conference All Tournament Team and he is our last regular season NC-Double-Eh Player of the Week.
In McNeese State’s game to open the Southland Conference Tournament against Nicholls State, Kapelan led all his team with 14 points in the 61-54 win. In his 33 minutes of action, he also grabbed 2 rebounds while shooting 6-of-10 from the floor, including 2-of-3 from the trey.
The following night against Texas State, Kapelan was equally brilliant in the 91-83 win. He posted 17 points on 4-of-10 shooting which included 2-of-7 from behind the arc while making all 7 of his free throws. He also added a rebound and an assist for good measure in his 24 minutes.
In the tournament’s championship, Kapelan was save his best game for last. Against Texas-San Antonio, he would go for a team high 20 points but that would not be enough as the Cowboys would fall just short of the win and the NCAA Tournament berth losing 75-72. Kapelan would shot 7-of-16 from the floor, including 4-of-12 from the three, and make both his attempts from the charity stripe. He also added 2 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal in his 31 minutes.
For the season, Kapelan is averaging 15 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.1 assist in 29.1 minutes per game. He’s shooting 39.3% from the field, 35.8% from behind the arc and 88.5% from the free throw line. He’s the team’s second leading scorer while leading the team in free throw percentage. His averages place him among the leaders in the Southland Conference including scoring (8th), free throw percentage (2nd) and three pointers made per game (2nd with 2.6). They face off against Boston College Tuesday at home in the opening round of the NIT.
Honorable Mentions: Andrew Nicholson ,St. Bonaventure – 30 pts, 13 rebs, 2 asts, 4 blks, 10-of-19 FGs, 1-of-1 3-PT FGs, 9-of-11 FTs in 47 mins in one game.
Rookie of the Week
Tristan Thompson (Brampton, ON) – Freshman, Texas
What more can be said about Tristan Thompson after this week. In Texas’ run through the Big 12 Conference Tournament, he played big averaging 11.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.7 blocks in 25.7 minutes. He also shot 15-of-21 from the floor and made 6-of-10 from the free throw line to earn not only Big 12 Conference All Tournament Team honors but also our final NC-Double-Eh Rookie of the Week.
In the Longhorns’ 74-54 win over Oklahoma to start their Big 12 Tournament, Thompson was huge posting third straight double-double going off for 13 points and 11 rebounds in 28 minutes of action. He also tallied an assist, 2 steals and 2 blocks in the win. He shot 5-of-8 from the floor and 5-of-8 from the line.
In the next game the following night against Texas A&M, Thompson went for his fourth double-double in as many nights putting up 14 points and grabbing 13 rebounds in the 70-58 victory. He went 7-of-9 from the field and also had 3 assists, 2 blocks and a steal.
In the Longhorns’ battle against Kansas in the conference title game, Thompson was saddled with foul trouble limiting him to only 7 minutes but he was still very efficient in his time putting up 7 points, getting 2 rebounds and blocking a shot. He shot 3-of-4 from the floor and he made his only free throw attempt. Texas would eventually lose the game to the Jayhawks 85-73.
On the year, Thompson is averaging 13.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1 steal and 2 blocks in 30.6 minutes. He’s currently the team’s leading rebounder and shot blocker and is the second leading scorer and in steals. Thompson’s averages place him amongst the leaders in the Big 12 Conference in scoring (17th), rebounding (2nd), blocks (1st) and offensive rebounds (1st with 3.9). Texas will be facing Oakland in thier first round game in the NCAA Tournament this Friday.
Honorable Mention: Christian Kabongo, New Mexico State –9.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 6 apg, 2 spg, 5-of-16 FGs, 9-of-12 FTs, 30.5 mpg in two games.