SEC Player of the Year
Grant Williams (Tennessee)
Grant Williams may be on the shorter side for a power forward at just 6’7, but he is a man-child. He averaged 15 points per game, up from 12 during his freshman season. And managed to average 6.3 boards per game.
The stats do not do him justice for how much he has meant to Rick Barnes’ squad. Williams wasn’t top-5 in any of the six major categories but was the leader on the floor despite being a sophomore.
Tennessee was predicted to finish 13th in the SEC, or second to last. Williams and the Volunteers finished as Co-Champions of the SEC regular season title and were runner-up’s in the SEC tournament. Tennessee vastly overachieved this season, and that is why Rick Barnes was named SEC Coach of the Year alongside his SEC Player of the Year.
No one meant more to their team than Grant Williams besides Yante Maten. Grant Williams and the Volunteers achieved more this year than Maten’s Georgia Bulldogs. But, to not have Maten as an honorable mention after all he did at Georgia over his four-year career and specifically this year would be a mistake.
Grant Williams team endured more success over the course of the season, and therefore he deserved the honor. But, let’s not forget the special season Maten had in his final year at Georgia.
First Team All-Conference
Kevin Knox (Kentucky)
Knox was streaky throughout most of the season. He let whether he was hitting shots that night affect his play. His body language would show he was not engaged on the defensive end and it would lead to a lack of engagement on the offensive end. But, Kentucky has won seven of its last eight and it has been because of Knox’s play. His most impressive performance came on the road in Morgantown where he dropped 34 points and eliminated a 17-point deficit to take down the then No. 7 West Virginia Mountaineers.
Chris Chiozza (Florida)
Chiozza finally got starter minutes this year averaging 32.2 per contest and it resulted in a significant jump in his stat line. While averaging 11.2 points per game, 6.2 assists per game, and 4.4 rebounds per game despite his 6-0 stature, Chiozza was the leader the Gators needed. He didn’t just run the Gators offense, he also was the defensive leader where he also was named to the All-Defensive team.
Jaylen Barford (Arkansas)
Barford’s usage rate jumped significantly this year and it resulted in a 5-point jump in scoring average. Last year he shot 27-percent from beyond the arc. Barford worked all off-season on his jump shot and it resulted in leading the SEC in 3-point field goal percentage. Look for him to get hot in the tournament alongside Daryl Macon to make a run in March.
Yante Maten (Georgia)
I hope you did not take the last three seasons of watching Yante Maten for granted. The kid was special and put up silly numbers while wearing a Georgia uniform. He averaged 19 points per game and 8.6 rebounds per game this season while also shooting 80-percent from the charity stripe. Without Maten, Georgia would have finished dead last in the SEC. He was pretty valuable to say the least.
Grant Williams (Tennessee)
I know we already touched on Williams season, but to take a team that was predicted to finish second-to-last in the SEC to a top two finish in both the regular season and tournament is something special. Williams should be back next year causing havoc in the paint for the Volunteers. Hopefully Williams and Admiral Schofield (Best name in college basketball) advance in the tournament to show the country how special they are.
Second Team All-Conference
Kassius Robertson (Missouri)
Collin Sexton (Alabama)
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Kentucky)
Chris Silva (South Carolina)
Tyler Davis (Texas A&M)
Third Team All-Conference
Daryl Macon (Arkansas)
Bryce Brown (Auburn)
Quinndary Weatherspoon (Mississippi State)
Admiral Schofield (Tennessee)
Jeff Roberson (Vanderbilt)