Just submitted my ballot for the preseason All-SEC men’s basketball poll.
I picked Florida second overall in Southeastern Conference, behind Kentucky. The Wildcats again will be young, but again will have overwhelming talent at all five starting positions. I had a chance to watch Kentucky freshman center Nerlens Noel in the summer of 2011 at the AAU national championships. Noel isn’t as polished as offensively as Anthony Davis was coming into college, but he may be an even better shot-blocker.
Like ESPN analyst Bruce Pearl, I like Florida’s experience and depth up front. If Casey Prather can conquer his turnover problems, you will have four upperclassmen up front (Patric Young, Will Yeguete, Erik Murphy and Prather) rotating in three spots. It could play out similar to 2010-11, when the all-senior starting frontline of Chandler Parsons, Alex Tyus and Vernon Macklin led the Gators to the SEC regular season title.
I picked Missouri third, but consider the Tigers league title contenders as well. Remember this name — Phil Pressey. Pressey, Missouri’s junior point guard, has an incredible competitive will and I believe will emerge as the best point guard in the league.
I picked Florida senior guard Kenny Boynton for the All-SEC first team, with Noel, Pressey, Arkansas sophomore guard B.J. Young and Tennessee senior forward Jeronne Maymon. I considered Florida junior center Patric Young, but felt he was too inconsistent as a sophomore last year. If Young’s conditioning and post offense improves though, he could easily surpass Maymon by the end of the season. I also think Tennessee sophomore Jarnell Stokes and Arkansas junior Marshawn Powell could emerge as elite big men in the league this season.
Here’s a look at my preseason All-SEC ballot:
Projected Order of Finish
7. Ole Miss
8. Texas A&M
13. South Carolina
14. Mississippi State
Preseason All-SEC Team
C — Nerlens Noel, Kentucky
F – Jeronne Maymon, Tennessee
G — Kenny Boynton, Florida
G — Phil Pressey, Missouri
G — B.J. Young, Arkansas
The SEC will release the full preseason men’s basketball poll early next week.