David Cloninger

Cloninger: My All-SEC picks

Sindarius Thornwell
Sindarius Thornwell gmelendez@thestate.com

The SEC will announce its coaches’ SEC awards Tuesday and it seems assured that South Carolina’s Sindarius Thornwell will at least be named first-team All-SEC. The question is, what else will he get?

First, some details. Today is the coaches’ awards, where coaches can’t vote for their own players. The media awards will be released this week as well.

The first and second teams will feature 7-10 players, because the SEC’s system of not breaking ties (and such a limited base of 14 ballots) leaves a lot of honorees. I’ll list my top two groups of five below, and I’m sure all 10 of them will wind up on the SEC’s lists (perhaps all on the first team).

So (regardless of position):

First-team All-SEC

J.J. Frazier, Georgia

Luke Kornet, Vanderbilt

Malik Monk, Kentucky

Sebastian Saiz, Ole Miss

Sindarius Thornwell, South Carolina

Second-team All-SEC

KeVaughn Allen, Florida

Tyler Davis, Texas A&M

De’Aaron Fox, Kentucky

Moses Kingsley, Arkansas

Yante Maten, Georgia

Just missed

Again, I only picked 10. It was a very tough whittling-down procedure, and a lot of it came down to who missed some games and which teams finished higher. I also tried to keep an eye on the total package, not just scoring.

I’m sure some of these others will make it on the SEC’s list.

Bam Adebayo, Kentucky

Canyon Barry, Florida

Antonio Blakeney, LSU

Deandre Burnett, Ole Miss

Matthew Fisher-Davis, Vanderbilt

Dusty Hannahs, Arkansas

Mustapha Heron, Auburn

Robert Hubbs, Tennessee

Quinndary Weatherspoon, Mississippi State

Robert Williams, Texas A&M

All-defensive team

Admon Gilder, Texas A&M

Moses Kingsley, Arkansas

Duane Notice, South Carolina

Sebastian Saiz, Ole Miss

Sindarius Thornwell, South Carolina

All-freshman team

Bam Adebayo, Kentucky

De’Aaron Fox, Kentucky

Mustapha Heron, Auburn

Malik Monk, Kentucky

Robert Williams, Texas A&M

Now for the big prizes. There will be a Scholar-Athlete of the Year but there’s no way I can predict that (although I read Barry is getting a master’s in nuclear engineering, so he seems a likely shoo-in).

The others:

SEC Player of the Year

It’s basically a two-horse race between Monk and Thornwell, although the way Frazier has played the last three weeks with Maten out has been impressive. Monk won the scoring title (by an extremely slim margin) over Thornwell and Frazier was third, with Kentucky finishing first, South Carolina fourth and Georgia eighth.

Monk was the league’s top 3-point shooter. He also once played five straight halves without a rebound.

Frazier finished third in steals, sixth in assists and played more minutes than anybody. The only knock I could say about him is he had Maten with him in case he had a bad night, and lost twice to the other guy among the top three.

I think it’s clear – second in scoring, sixth in rebounding, first in steals, third in minutes, guarded the opponent’s best player through 18 games and did all of it with inconsistent-at-best help.

DC’s pick: Thornwell

Freshman of the Year

The best player on the league champion.

DC’s pick: Monk

Defensive Player of the Year

I can see where coaches would like to play “everybody gets a trophy” and give this to Thornwell while giving Player of the Year to Monk (by that rationale, they could also give Freshman of the Year to say, Robert Williams, while naming Monk, a freshman, Player of the Year, which makes no sense whatsoever. Yet it has happened before). Thornwell definitely deserves some consideration after leading the league in steals and, as mentioned above, guarding the other team’s best player. USC teammate Duane Notice does a lot defensively that doesn’t show up in the stat sheets, but I’m not sure everyone saw what I saw from him all year. Williams was second in rebounding and blocked shots and could get some votes.

I’m thinking the league’s best shot-blocker who finished third in rebounding will get it.

DC’s pick: Kingsley

6th Man of the Year

Barry was Florida’s second-leading scorer and only started one game.

DC’s pick: Barry

Coach of the Year

Frank Martin deserves some consideration for guiding the Gamecocks to fourth place despite losing three starters, and Mike Anderson pulled Arkansas out of a mid-season hole to have it bumping into tournament projections. Bryce Drew also deserves massive credit for a 10-8 SEC season after starting 2-4.

Still, Florida’s Mike White won 24 games and finished second, despite losing his starting center in the last month. The Gators play so unselfishly and that’s all him, managing egos and coaching defense.

DC’s pick: White

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