Not long after being honored as the Big 12 Conference’s player of the week, the Missouri men’s basketball team’s senior forward Ricardo Ratliffe was named the nation’s best Tuesday.
After a week in which he averaged 22 points and seven rebounds over two league games, Ratliffe was named the recipient of this week’s Lute Olsen National Player Award. It was Ratliffe’s career-high 27 points in Waco, Texas, that helped the Tigers overcome then-No. 3 Baylor 89-88 and ultimately earn its No. 2 ranking, the highest for the program since 2001.
Ratliffe added 17 points and six rebounds in Missouri’s victory over Texas A&M last Tuesday. Over the week, he connected on 16-of-21 field goals, bringing his field goal percentage to .772 on the year. Ratliffe is on track to break the single-season record of .746, set by Oregon State’s Steve Johnson in 1981.
Asked about his conference player of the week award Monday, Ratliffe passed credit to his teammates.
“Basically, it’s good guard play,” he said. “I just respect the guards. You (have) got to give it to them.”
His coach explained the success differently.
“We need his production,” Frank Haith said. “I think (with) our guards, it’s like a marriage: You can’t have one without the other. I don’t know that Ricardo would have his great play without our guards and I don’t know if our guards would be as good as they are if we didn’t have a low-post presence.”