Big East Postseason Honors
ACC Postseason Honors
Besides being the conferences top scorer, Chris Loftons value to his team became undisputable in the four games he sat out, all losses except for a home win over a weak Georgia squad. With him in the lineup, Tennessee went 21-6 against the fourth toughest schedule in college basketball, behind Loftons nearly 21 points a game average on 48% shooting from the field and 42% from behind the arc. Lofton is now expected to test the waters this April in order to gauge his draft stock. Advancing a few rounds in the NCAA Tournament could really help his cause. Hes certainly can no longer be considered just a one-dimensional spot-up shooter.
This was a disappointing season for Arkansas, one that could very well see coach Stan Heath being fired due to his teams continuous underachievement, but the light at the end of the tunnel for Razorback fans is there in a freshman point guard who looks to be developing into a bona fide SEC star. Beverley, a late signee out of Chicago, led Arkansas in points, assists, steals, and minutes played. With no departing seniors on the roster, Arkansas should be considered one of the top teams in the preseason SEC rankings next fall.
Defensive Player of the Year: Corey Brewer, 6-9, Junior, Small Forward, Florida
Leading the SEC in steals per game, but responsible for so much more than that, Corey Brewers outstanding size, length, quickness and relentless motor make him not only the best disruptive defender in the SEC, but possibly the entire country. Florida went away this year from many of the trapping and pressing gimmick defenses that became a staple of Billy-ball in the past, but Brewer made sure to remind people of his outstanding instincts a couple of times a game at least with a well timed block, steal, deflection, or drawn charge. When focused, he truly has game-changing potential on this end of the floor.
Coach of the Year: Kevin Stallings, Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt will be making only its second trip to the NCAA tournament in the last 10 years, but there really wasnt much suspense involved this time around considering that they were arguably the 2nd best team in the SEC all season and ranked in the various top 25 polls for much of February. Much of the credit for that has to go to their head coach, Kevin Stallings, who took a roster that on paper isnt much more talented than some of the SEC teams that wont be even heading to the NIT, and gave them the potential to beat anyone on any given night. With a distinct playing style that borrows certain elements from the Princeton offense and one of the more unique home courts in the entire country, Stallings has created an atmosphere that should allow him to tap into the terrific talent base that surrounds him in the state of Tennessee, and continue that success into the next few years.
In a conference that is not lacking in NBA talent, no one helped their stock over the 2006-2007 season as much as Derrick Byars. The leader of a tough and unselfish team that made up for what it lacked in talent with pure determination, Byars was very much a legit candidate for SEC player of the year, and was only narrowly edged out in our mind by in-state rival Chris Lofton. Byars strength, smarts, shooting ability and defensive presence have established him as a legit NBA prospect, and has put him in a situation to get drafted if hes to play well at Portsmouth and/or the NBA pre-draft camp.
1st Team All-Conference:
Taurean Green, 6-2, Junior, Point Guard, Florida
Chris Lofton, 6-2, Junior, Shooting Guard, Tennessee
Derrick Byars , 6-7, Senior, SG/SF, Vanderbilt
Corey Brewer, 6-9, Junior, Small Forward, Florida
Joakim Noah, 6-11, Junior, PF/C, Florida
-Florida dominated the SEC, winning the conference with a three game cushion even after disturbingly dropping a couple of road games down the stretch. Its only natural that they dominate the SEC all-conference team as well, sending three of their five starters. Noah, Brewer and Green didnt overly impress statistically, but the work they did within the team amongst each other is what made Florida possibly the best team in college basketball until a few weeks ago.
-Byars and Lofton are discussed in more depth above, and as the best players on the 2nd and 3rd best teams in the SEC, were more than deserving of their spot here.
2nd Team All-Conference:
Tre Kelley, 6-0, Senior, PG/SG, South Carolina
Shan Foster, 6-6, Junior, Shooting Guard, Vanderbilt
Richard Hendrix, 6-8, Sophomore, PF/C, Alabama
Glen Davis, 6-8, Junior, Power Forward, LSU
Al Horford, 6-10, Junior, PF/C, Florida
-On numbers alone, Tre Kelley might get some votes for SEC player of the year honors, at least if you are to ignore his turnovers and league-worst 4-12 record. Regardless, Kelley is 2nd in the league in scoring and 3rd in assists, meaning his spot here is well deserved.
-Shan Foster was the perfect 2nd option in Kevin Stallings offense, using his excellent shooting stroke from behind the arc and mid-range to average 15.6 points per game.
-Richard Hendrix was at times the only glimmer of hope in what turned out to be an incredibly disappointing season for Alabama. His 15 points a game, 9 rebounds and 61% shooting from the field kept the Tide in many games, along with his sheer toughness.
-Glen Davis put up outstanding numbers, 18 points and 10.4 rebounds, but all too often did so in a losing effort (see below).
-Al Horford played solid defense, scored efficiently, and generally did what was asked of him on most night amongst a crowded Florida roster that is stacked with NBA talent.
3rd Team All-Conference:
Todd Abernethy, 6-1, Senior, Point Guard, Ole Miss
Lee Humphrey, 6-3, Senior, Shooting Guard, Florida
Jamont Gordon, 6-5, Sophomore, PG/SG/SF/PF, Mississippi State
Takais Brown, 6-8, Junior, PF/C, Georgia
Randolph Morris, 6-10, Junior, Center, Kentucky
-Todd Abernethy was the catalyst behind Ole Miss tying for 1st place in the weak SEC West, leading the entire conference in assists with 6.3 per game.
-Lee Humphreys 52% average from behind the arc is what kept defenses from completely collapsing on his outstanding frontcourt.
-Jamont Gordon was one of the best stat-stuffers in the entire country, with 16 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists per game, helping Mississippi State to surprisingly tie for 1st in the SEC West.
-Takais Brown made a nice impact coming out of junior college for the Georgia Bulldogs, averaging 14.6 points and nearly 6 rebounds per game in the process.
-Randolph Morris started off the year strong but faded a bit down the stretch, still helping the Wildcats clinch an NCAA tournament berth and averaging 15.4 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.1 blocks on the way.
All Freshman Team:
Patrick Beverly, 6-1, Point Guard, Arkansas
Ramar Smith, 6-2, Point Guard, Tennessee
Derrick Jasper, 6-6, PG/SG, Kentucky
Wayne Chism, 6-9, Power Forward, Tennessee
Duke Crews, 6-7, PF/C, Tennessee
Players to look out for in 2008:
Derrick Jasper, 6-6, Freshman, PG/SG, Kentucky
Mike Mercer, 6-4, Sophomore, PG/SG, Georgia
Jamont Gordon, 6-5, Sophomore, PG/SG/SF/PF, Mississippi State
Mareese Speights, 6-10, Freshman, Center, Florida
Steven Hill, 7-0, Junior, Center, Arkansas
-Derrick Jasper wasnt consistent as a freshman in 2006-2007, but his ability to shoulder minutes at the point as a pass-first playmaker will come in very handy for Tubby Smith next year.
-Mike Mercer might be the most explosive athlete in the conference and was on his way to putting together a very nice sophomore season, but a torn ACL cut his year short. If he can fully recover, Georgia will be in good shape to make a run for the NCAA Tournament next year.
-Jamont Gordon is one of the most versatile players in the country, playing four different positions for Mississippi State as a sophomore and putting up very nice numbers in the process. His junior season could very well be his breakout year.
-Mareese Speights put up ungodly per minute numbers in sparse playing time backing up arguably the best frontcourt in the nation, and should emerge as one of the best big men in the conference next year when plenty of playing time opens up.
-Steven Hill led the SEC in blocked shots but didnt contribute enough in other areas as a junior, partially due to the fact that he very rarely got any touches if at all in Stan Heaths offense. Hill probably wouldnt mind seeing a change of scenery in the coaching department at Arkansas next year, one that would better take advantage of his size and athletic gifts.
Jon Brady, LSU
-Glen Davis put up SEC player of the year-type numbers, but did so on low shooting percentages and in a losing cause for the most part. LSU didnt look much worse with him out of action, especially defensively, which is fairly concerning.
-Jon Brady went from coaching a Final Four team last year to one that might not even make the NIT this season, one of the biggest swings we can remember in recent history. His team looked uninspired, underprepared and completely outmatched even in games that they should have won handily, despite having the talent to do much more.
-Ron Steele suffered through injuries to his foot and knees all season long, going from being considered one of the best point guards in the nation to arguably one of the worst. Were looking forward to seeing what he can do next season after resting up all summer long.
-Darian Townes has continuously regressed over the last two years, going from an all-conference freshman season to being a marginal bench player as a junior.
-Jermareo Davidson had a chance to step up and show some leadership skills in the absence of Ron Steele, but instead showed little to no improvement in his senior year and shot a paltry 41% from the field.