It wouldn’t be an SEC media day without some smack talk.
Although this was more of a gracious invitation.
Tennessee senior forward Armani Moore challenged SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey to an arm-wrestling contest in the days leading up to Wednesday’s SEC Tipoff. Moore noticed that Sankey is a very fit guy from his social media posts, and dreamed up the idea.
“It’s just something I thought about,” Moore said. “It gives the opportunity to help out the charity I had in mind.”
Never miss a local story.
Moore wants to aid Operation Smile, which helps children overcome cleft lips or cleft palates. Sankey met Moore but hasn’t yet taken him up on the offer.
“He’s mentioned checkers, he’s mentioned flipping a tire,” Moore said. “I told him I forgot the tire so if he’s got an old junk car, we can do it with that.”
Mississippi State and LSU each brought their highest-rated recruits with them. The Bulldogs’ Malik Newman was eighth in Rivals’ national 150 and the Tigers’ Ben Simmons was No. 2.
“I haven’t talked to (Simmons) at all,” Newman said. “I’m looking forward to playing everyone, it’s not just one team.”
Simmons was voted preseason SEC Player of the Year.
“It’s crazy, because I haven’t played a game yet,” Simmons said. “It means a lot, but at the same time, to me it means nothing, because I haven’t played.”
Uphold the law
Florida senior Alex Murphy figured out the joke during his days at Duke. His name, also the real name of movie hero Robocop, was quite the poster-making fan experience.
“They were big into that,” Murphy said. “I figured out the guy’s name was Alex Murphy, but I still have never seen the movie.”
As for leaving Duke, Murphy doesn’t regret it but admitted the timing was lousy. Murphy left midway through his third year at Duke, sat out the transfer year and was eligible for Florida’s SEC season last year. The Gators had their worst season in 17 years.
The Blue Devils won the national championship.
“If anything, I was happy for those guys, especially Quinn (Cook),” Murphy said. “To see him on that stage crying, I got pretty emotional. He’s one of my best friends, one of my brothers.”
With Billy Donovan heading to the NBA after 19 years at Florida, Vanderbilt’s Kevin Stallings took over as the SEC’s longest-tenured coach. Stallings is beginning his 17th season.
Ole Miss’ Andy Kennedy is next with 10.
Follow on Twitter at @DCTheState