An argument for Roberson as SEC's best


Published: Tuesday, March 1, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, March 2, 2005 at 5:54 a.m.
I know there are still games to be played, a tournament to be decided and bubbles to be burst before we get to the NCAA Tournament. But I've seen enough.
And so in the spirit of Sunday's Academy Awards (in case you're wondering, I'm wearing Nike), it's time to present the SEC awards for work in the field of basketball, another area where vertically challenged Martin Scorcese would get shut out.
  • PLAYER OF THE YEAR: You can make an argument for LSU's Brandon Bass, even though he is part of the SEC's best starting five. You can make an argument for Lawrence Roberts, even though his team has underachieved this year.
    You can call me provincial, but I'll take Anthony Roberson. Not only has Peep averaged more than 20 points a game in conference play, he is fifth in shooting percentage and has only missed six free throws in SEC games. Roberson has his flaws, but doesn't everybody? All I know is that at the end of a game, I like the ball in his hands.
  • COACH OF THE YEAR: ESPN.com's Jay Bilas, whom I have a lot of respect for, has given this award to Billy Donovan. Donovan, who has never won a league coach of the year award, is a worthy candidate.
    Bilas unfortunately taints his praise of Donovan by making Alabama's Mark Gottfried the other finalist. You mean the Mark Gottfried who always looks like he can't believe what is taking place on the court but it is too stunned to say anything? You mean the Mark Gottfried whose team is fading down the stretch and could end up behind LSU in the SEC West?
    To me, it's a three-horse race and my final ballot would look like this - 1. Tubby Smith; 2. Billy Donovan; 3. John Brady.
    I'm not a big fan of Brady's but he has done a marvelous job this season taking a team that appeared headed for the NIT and giving it a chance to win the West. Donovan has done one of his best jobs this season, juggling three veterans with four freshmen and coming up with one of the toughest teams Florida has had.
    But Smith is 13-1 in the league despite losing four key members from last year's team. The Wildcats rarely impress ... until you look at the Ws and Ls.
  • ALL-SEC TEAM: Roberson, obviously, along with Bass and Roberts. This shouldn't be only about the stats, but about which five players you feel are the most valuable in the league. That's why I'll take Kentucky's Chuck Hayes and Arkansas' Ronnie Brewer, who do a lot of little things for their teams.
    Second team - David Lee, UF; Kennedy Winston, Alabama; Glen Davis, LSU; C.J. Watson, Tenn.; Toney Douglas, Auburn.
  • ALL-FRESHMEN TEAM: Douglas and Davis make it along with Rajon Rondo, the wonderful point guard from Kentucky. Shan Foster of Vanderbilt is going to be a pain in the sides of SEC defenders for years to come which makes one enjoy the thought of his coming matchups with the fifth member of the team - Florida's defensive specialist Corey Brewer.
  • ALL-UNDERRATED TEAM: Auburn's Quinnel Brown is in the top 20 in SEC games only in both scoring and rebounding but Douglas gets all the attention. Georgia doesn't have much, but it does have guard Sundiata Gaines, who will get better when he gets some teammates. Cavadas Nunnery of Mississippi isn't a big scorer but you have to love his ability to handle the ball. Ditto Jason Holwerda of Vanderbilt, second in the SEC in assists-to-turnover ratio. And Renaldo Balkman of South Carolina is about more than stats.
  • MOST IMPROVED PLAYER: I've seen big improvements this season on Lee of Florida, Bass of LSU and Brewer of Arkansas. But this award goes to Alabama's Winston, who a year ago was a forced shot waiting to happen. The funny thing is that if he returns to school he could win this award again next year because he has a ton of turnovers and almost no steals this season.
  • ALL-OVERRATED TEAM: Patrick Sparks of Kentucky received plenty of preseason hype and the Louisville game made him an instant legend. But he has been inconsistent since then. Earnest Shelton should be one of the five best players in the league, but he has more turnovers than assists and little rebounding. Andre Patterson was supposed to be the missing link for Tennessee, but has been a disappointment. Dawid Przybyszewski could make the list just for making me learn how to spell his name. But when a 7-foot senior who can shoot is a non-factor all season, it's an easy choice. Mississippi State fans may bristle at the final player, but the next Timmy Bowers - point guard Gary Ervin - is the only SEC player with more than 90 turnovers this season.
  • ALL-DEFENSIVE TEAM: Start with the two Brewers - Corey from UF and Ronnie from Arkansas, along with Rondo, the SEC steals leader, from Kentucky, and Bass from LSU. Round it out with South Carolina's Brandon Wallace, who has 37 blocks and 27 steals.
    You can reach sports columnist Pat Dooley by e-mail at dooleyp@gvillesun.com or by calling 374-5053. You can hear The Pat Dooley Hour each weekday from 11 a.m. to noon on The Star 99.5-FM.
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