SEC basketball was more exciting and competitive this season than it has been in a long time. Over the course of the season, Kentucky, Tennessee, LSU, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, and Auburn were all ranked at some point. The conference is hoping to get in between six and eight teams into the NCAA Tournament and build off of the regular season success. There were some disappointments during the season, Auburn is the main one, but overall a really good year in the SEC for basketball.
SEC Player of the Year: Grant Williams/Tennessee
Grant Williams was the player of the year in the SEC last season, this season he backed it up again. The Junior Foward from Charlotte, NC showed out this season. On the season Williams averaged 19.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.4 blocks, and 1.2 steals per game. Williams shot 83% from the free throw line this season including a perfect 23-23 performance against Vanderbilt from the charity stripe. Physicality and intensity are Williams’ bread and butter. He has pushed around almost every big that he has played against. Williams does not have a lot of NBA Draft buzz and may be around another year to bully the SEC’s big men for the 2019-2020 season.
SEC Defensive Player of the Year: Tremont Waters/LSU
Tremont Waters has been proving doubters wrong since he got into college last season. Listed at 5′-11″ and standing at a realistic 5′-9″, Waters has been wowing crowds this season with his spectacular play. Most recognize him for his offensive ability, averaging 15.4 points and 5.8 assists a game, but his defensive ability is so elite. The young guard is averaging 3 steals every game and pulling down 3 rebounds a game. What doesn’t get recorded as a statistic is how smart he is while guarding and how disruptive he can be without recording a stat in the box score. He went off against Marquette in the early season where he had 39 points and 5 steals. Waters brought that same intensity to SEC play all season.
SEC Freshman of the Year: Tyler Herro/Kentucky
Tyler Herro has been an interesting player all year. After leading the Wildcats in scoring during their trip to the Bahamas, Herro’s production fell off in the regular season. However, since SEC play started, Herro has stepped up. Averaging 14.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 93.6% from the free-throw line. Tyler Herro can take over the offense for the Wildcats, or be a spark plug for the rest of his teammates. The young guard is going to have a big decision to make at the end of the season, and word is he is more than likely going to end up in the NBA Draft this summer. Should Herro come back, he is a favorite for SEC Player of the Year in 2020.
SEC Sixth Man of the Year: Aric Holman/Mississippi State
The Mississippi State Bulldogs are an interesting team. They were ranked in the top-15 in the country at one point this season but fell off during SEC play. One of the key parts of their success this season has been the play of Aric Holman. The 6′-10″ Senior Forward has averaged 9.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game this season. While Holman has spent some time in the starting five, it is his work off the bench that makes him so valuable. Holman easily could have shut down after being regulated to the bench this season, but he decided to make the most of his opportunities.
SEC Coach of the Year: Kermit Davis/Ole Miss
Ole Miss has had a good, not great season. However, if you asked the media before the season, they should be the worst team in the SEC. Kermit Davis left Middle Tennessee State after establishing the program as his own and establishing the culture he wanted into the program. Davis left that job for the Ole Miss job and while many doubted their potential success, Kermit Davis led them to a 20-11 record and in the top half of the SEC standings. At points this season the Runnin’ Rebels were ranked in the top-25. The job Kermit Davis has done in his first season as head coach of Ole Miss has been spectacular. Expect bigger things to come from Kermit Davis and Ole Miss in the years to come.
Regular Season All-SEC Team
Tremont Waters/LSU- Guard
Jordan Bone/Tennessee- Guard
PJ Washington/Kentucky- Forward
Grant Williams/Tennessee- Forward
Daniel Gafford/Arkansas- Forward