For the third straight year, I’ve been asked by the Southeastern Conference office to vote on the preseason poll and preseason All-SEC team.
Here are my picks. Note there are no more divisions in basketball, so we’re now asked to pick the league 1-through-12.
5. Mississippi State
7. Ole Miss
11. South Carolina
C – JaMychal Green, Alabama
F – Terrence Jones, Kentucky
F – Jeffery Taylor, Vanderbilt
G – Dee Bost, Mississippi State
G – John Jenkins, Vanderbilt
Player of the year: Terrence Jones, Kentucky
I still think Florida has the talent to advance to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament. But I don’t see the Gators repeating as SEC champions. Vanderbilt has the most experience in the league, while Kentucky has the best combination of talent and depth.
The toughest decision I had to make was at point guard, between Bost and UF’s Erving Walker. Then I remembered the head-to-head matchup in Starkville, Miss., last year. Bost had 24 points and five assists and was able to drive in the lane at will. Walker had 18 points (on 6 of 17 shooting) and four assists. Walker had a penchant for making big shots last season, but Bost was a more consistent point guard with a better assist-to-turnover ratio (106-59, compared to Walker’s 125-84).
The SEC plans to release the preseason awards early next week.
— Florida F Erik Murphy got poked in the eye early in Wednesday’s practice and was sidelined for the rest of drills. But Florida coach Billy Donovan said that he does not expect the injury to be serious. Murphy was cleared to practice on Thursday. “There’s no eye damage or anything to prevent him from playing,” Donovan said.
— Donovan has been pleased with the play of redshirt freshman forward Cody Larson in practice. “He’s doing a lot of really, really good things right now, just in terms of little things that aren’t going to show up on the stat sheet,” Donovan said. “I’ve been pleased with what he’s been able to do for our team physically because we need another physical presence up front.”
— Donovan said Patric Young is getting the most shots in practice, suggesting the Gators are still working the ball inside-out. And Donovan remains pleased with the play of sophomore swingman Casey Prather. “To me, he’s playing the best basketball since he’s been here,” Donovan said.
— Junior guard Kenny Boynton said he’s continuing to try to mix up his game offensively in practice, complementing his perimeter shooting with drives to the basket. “I think my left hand has gotten a lot better,” Boynton said. “I’m finishing a lot at the rim with my left hand.”
— Freshman guard Bradley Beal was named to the Wayman Tisdale Award watch list, given by the USBWA to the nation’s top freshman player.
— Here’s a sneak peak at UF’s new home uniforms.