Aluma, Sheppard named ACC Players of the Week

Sheppard averaged 22 points as the Hokies knocked off NC State and North Carolina

Virginia Tech's Keve Aluma (22) celebrates a score during the second half of the University of Virginia - Virginia Tech NCAA college basketball game in Blacksburg Va. Saturday January 30 2021. (AP Photo / MATT GENRTY, The Roanoke Times, Pool) (MATT GENTRY PHOTOS, THE ROANOKE TIMES, Matt Gentry)

BLACKSBURG, Va. – After turning in two double-doubles last week, Keve Aluma earned two prestigious awards on Monday, earning Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy Player of the Week and ACC Player of the Week.

The national award marks Aluma’s first career nod and the league’s second selection for him this season, following winning it on Nov. 30. He joins Justin Robinson (Feb. 12, 2018) as the lone Hokie to win the Naismith weekly honor, which has been around for four seasons (started in 2017-18), and joins Zabian Dowdell (2007-07), Jeff Allen (2010-11) and Nickeil Alexander-Walker (2018-19) as the only ones to win ACC Player of the Week twice in a season.

The redshirt junior averaged 21.5 points, 11,0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 2.0 blocks per game last week, while shooting a solid 60.0 percent from the field (15-for-25) and impressive 91.7 clip from the charity stripe (11-for-12).

Aluma went off against the first-place team in the league with a career-high 29 points on 10-of-15 shooting, including making two triples, and a 7-for-8 clip from the charity stripe, while owning 10 rebounds, four assists and a block versus then-No. 8/8 Virginia Saturday. He also drew nine fouls and had a +22 plus-minus. The Wofford transfer was steady at Notre Dame last Tuesday, recording a 14-point, 12-rebound double-double in 30 minutes of action on 5-of-10 shooting and a perfect 4-for-4 mark from the free-throw line. Also chipped in three blocks and a steal and drew seven fouls.

He guided the Hokies to their fourth ranked win of the season by defeating then-No. 8/8 Virginia, making them the only ACC team that has four or more. He led Tech to its best ACC start in school history, with a 7-2 record (joined league in 2004-05 season).

On the Women’s side of the ACC, Virginia Tech senior guard Aisha Sheppard has been named the Atlantic Coast Conference Women’s Basketball Player of the Week, and Syracuse center Kamilla Cardoso is the ACC Freshman of the Week for the second consecutive week.

1/31/2021, UNC at VT, ACC women's basketball. (Jon Fleming)

ACC women’s basketball weekly awards are voted on by the league’s Blue Ribbon Panel.

Sheppard averaged 22.0 points per game to lift Virginia Tech to a pair of wins last week, including its best victory in program history last Thursday, as the Hokies upset second-ranked NC State in overtime, 83-71. The senior guard led all players with 28 points against the Wolfpack, scoring all of her points after halftime.

She scored 18 of her points in overtime, as Virginia Tech set an NCAA Division I record with 26 points in the extra period. Sheppard was 12-for-14 from the free-throw line in overtime to lead the Hokies to the 12-point victory.

On Sunday, the Alexandria, Virginia, native added 16 points and four assists, as Virginia Tech defeated North Carolina, 73-69. For the week, Sheppard connected on nine 3-pointers to increase her season total to 63, which leads the nation.

Sheppard ranks second in the conference in scoring at 19.25 points per contest and has been scoring at a 24.25 ppg clip in her last four outings. She leads the nation in 3-point shooting with 63 baskets from beyond the arc. She recently became the Hokies’ all-time leader in that category and received a commemorative basketball prior to the game against NC State. Her 282 career 3′s ranks eighth all-time in ACC history.

The Alexandria, Virginia native also leads the conference with 61 made free throws and has made her attempts at an 83.6% clip.

She also has one of the top assists to turnover ratios in the conference, her 1.58 mark is the seventh-best.