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Two in a row: Providence's Zaccheus Darko-Kelly again NAIA national player of the week

Zaccheus Darko-Kelly
Posted at 4:08 PM, Feb 18, 2020

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

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The awards keep coming in for Zaccheus Darko-Kelly.

The star junior of the University of Providence men's basketball team was named the NAIA National Men's Basketball Division I Player of the Week for the second consecutive week. He is the first player to receive the award twice this season, and the first to win the award in consecutive weeks since Corday Sims (Peru State) in 2016.

"Back-to-back national player of the week awards don't happen very often," head coach Steve Keller said. "There's a lot of very good players in the country. It's a great honor for him."

Darko-Kelly had two consecutive 35-point games this week. In a loss to No. 5 Lewis-Clark State on Thursday, he recorded 36 points, five rebounds and five assists. He followed that on Saturday with a season-high 37 points on 14-of-18 shooting, including 3-of-3 from beyond the arc, at Montana Tech. He also grabbed 11 rebounds and dished out five assists against the Orediggers.

On the weekend, he totaled 73 points, 16 points and 10 assists while shooting 63 percent from the field, 60 percent from beyond the arc and 88 percent from the free throw line. On Monday he was named the Frontier Conference Player of the Week for the second consecutive week, as well. He's won the award a total of five times this season.

With four games left in the season, Darko-Kelly not only leads the Argos in all statistical categories but is also ranked in the top five in the Frontier Conference in all statistical categories. He currently averages 23.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 2.3 steals and 1.5 blocks per game while shooting 54 percent from the field, 46 percent from beyond the arc and 82 percent from the line.

"He's just stepped up his game," Keller said. "The thing about him is he's not selfish. He gets the ball to the open guys and reads the defense. He's well-respected on and off the floor. He's well-liked by his teammates. I'm really proud of him."

Before the game on Saturday, Darko-Kelly was announced as one of 50 finalists for the Bevo Francis Award, an award given to the top small college basketball player in the country. The list will be shrunk to 25 players on March 15 before a winner is chosen in April.

Darko-Kelly and the Argos (21-5 overall, 9-5 Frontier Conference) will return to Great Falls Friday when the team takes on Montana Western (11-14, 4-10) at 7:30 p.m. Fans are asked to "Pack the Place in Pink" to support breast cancer awareness.