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Providence's Zaccheus Darko-Kelly named NAIA national player of the week

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Posted at 2:30 PM, Feb 09, 2021

(Editor's note: University of Providence media release)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – For the fourth time in his career, University of Providence men's basketball star Zaccheus Darko-Kelly was named the NAIA National Player of the Week.

Darko-Kelly won the award a day after being named the Frontier Conference Player of the Week for the eighth time of his career. Last week he recorded two double-doubles last week, averaging 22.7 points, 11.3 rebounds and 6.7 assists.

"It's awesome," head coach Steve Keller said. "He had a great weekend. He put up unbelievable numbers averaging a double-double, and was close to a triple-double. I think if you asked him, he'd tell you that we got three wins and that's all he cares about."

Darko-Kelly's skillset was on full display this past week. In Wednesday's double-overtime win over Montana Western, he scored 37 points, pulled down 13 rebounds and dished out eight assists. He recorded another double-double on Saturday, with 18 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists. He recorded 13 points, eight rebounds, five assists on Sunday's win.

"That's what great players do," Keller said. "If they need to score 30, they score 30. If they need to dish out eight or ten assists, they do that. If they need to dominate the boards they do that. He's obviously capable of dominating all aspects of the game. If you asked everyone on the team they'd tell you he's a great teammate."

This is the fourth time in his career that Darko-Kelly has won the NAIA National Player of the Year Award. Last season, he became the first player in NAIA men's basketball history to win the award three weeks in a row.

So far on the season, Darko-Kelly is averaging 19.6 points per game, 10.4 rebounds per game, 6.0 assists per game, 1.9 blocks a game and 1.3 steals per game. He's shooting 45.9% from the field, 33.3 % from beyond the arc and a whopping 93.2% from the charity stripe.

He is currently leading the Frontier Conference in points, rebounds and blocks, is second in the conference in assists, and is third in the conference in steals. Nationally, he ranks third in defensive rebounds per game (9.2), fourth in free throw percentage, seventh in assists per game, 12th in total rebounds and 14th in blocks per game.

"I've always said he's one of the top five players in the country," Keller said. "He didn't win that award last year but he's got to be in the mix again. I believe he's possibly the best player to ever play in the Frontier Conference. I'd like to get other people's opinions. He's a tremendous player."

Darko-Kelly and the Argos (10-1, 10-1) have a big week. They'll face Montana State-Northern on Wednesday before taking on Carroll College for a double-header this weekend.