MBI most valuable player Rode earns national recognition

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Liberty’s Kyle Rode was honored at both the national and conference level today for his performance in this past weekend’s 2023 Myrtle Beach Invitational. Rode was named the Lou Henson National Player of the Week by CollegeInsider.com and received his second straight Conference USA Men’s Basketball Player of the Week nod.

Rode was selected as the Myrtle Beach Invitational MVP after guiding the Flames (5-0) to three wins in four days against a strong field, capped off by the tournament title with Sunday night’s 71-61 triumph over Vermont. Liberty also downed Wichita State 83-66 in the semifinals and took down Furman 88-74 in the quarterfinals.

Rode averaged 19.3 points per game, 6.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 2.0 steals while shooting 47.4 percent (18-of-38) from the field and knocking down 45.5 percent (10-of-22) of his three-pointers in the tournament. The fifth-year senior scored a career-high 31 points in the semifinal win over Wichita State and knocked down a career-best seven threes on the night on 12 attempts. Rode added five rebounds and four assists in the contest.

In the quarterfinals against Furman, Rode led the squad with 19 points and added five boards while knocking down 6-of-7 free throws. The Lexington, Ky. native also had a game-high three steals against the Paladins.

In Sunday’s championship game against the Catamounts, Rode finished with eight points and a season-high eight rebounds.

In five games this season, Rode is averaging a team-best 18.0 ppg to go along with 4.6 rpg while shooting 51.4 percent (18-of-35) from deep and 49.2 percent (30-of-61) from the field. The forward is currently eighth nationally in total three-pointers (18), 16th in three-pointers per game (3.60) and 29th in three-point percentage (51.4). Rode leads Conference USA in all three categories.

Rode is the first back-to-back CUSA Player of the Week since UAB’s Jordan Walker earned two straight weekly honors on Jan. 17 and 24, 2022.

Rode and the Flames (5-0) will be back in action on Saturday afternoon, hosting Maryland Eastern Shore (3-2) in a non-conference tilt. Tip time is 1 p.m. at Liberty Arena and can also be seen on ESPN+. Liberty received seven votes in the AP Poll this week. This is the first time since March 18, 2020 (one vote) that the Flames have been among other receiving votes in the poll.