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    • SEC "Fast Break": February 26

      Apparently, eight Southeastern Conference teams were having so much fun last Saturday they didn’t want it to end.
    • SEC Fast Break with Chris Dortch

      The first month of the season was largely forgettable for the Southeastern Conference by almost any barometer. Where to start?
    • November Offers Challenges for SEC Teams

      It seems like only yesterday Kentucky players were cutting down the nets in the New Orleans Superdome after winning the Southeastern Conference’s third national championship in a seven-year span. But that was more than seven months ago, and now it’s time for college basketball to crank up again.
    • One on One with Chris Dortch: Marquis Teague

      Was there ever a question Marquis Teague could take his place among the elite point guards coached the last four seasons by Kentucky’s John Calipari? We profile Teague, a likely first round pick in this week's NBA Draft.
    • Instant Reaction: Kentucky Claims Title

      About a month ago, Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari asked a question of his team.

    The Second Annual "Blue Ribbon" All-SEC Awards

    The regular season is behind us and the Southeastern Conference tournament awaits, so it’s time for the second annual Fast Break All-SEC awards. As always, we remind you that opinions expressed in this space are those of the Fast Break and not necessarily the SEC or its member institutions.

    FIRST-TEAM ALL-SEC
    G-Dee Bost, SR, Mississippi State
    - If you look at the numbers that define a point guard, Bost stands out in all of them—first in the SEC in assists, second in steals, 11th in free-throw percentage, fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio. He’s also a scorer who finished fifth in the league (15.8 ppg).

    G-John Jenkins, JR, Vanderbilt - Jenkins led the SEC in scoring for the second year in a row, the first time that had been accomplished since LSU’s Ronnie Henderson did it in 1995-96. He also leads the league and the nation in 3-pointers per game (3.9), and he’s shooting .461 from behind the arc despite the fact he’s a focal point of every opposing team’s defensive strategy.

    G-Kenny Boynton, JR, Florida - Boynton put in a lot of time in the offseason working on his jump shot, and it showed. He finished third in the SEC in scoring and 3-point percentage (.434).

    F-Arnett Moultrie, JR, Mississippi State - Moultrie, the transfer from UTEP who regained eligibility this season, averaged a double-double and led the SEC in rebounding. Was there a more valuable transfer in Division I?

    C-Anthony Davis, Kentucky - See below.

    SECOND-TEAM ALL-SEC
    G-Erving Walker, SR, Florida
    - A shooter by trade, Walker turned himself into a point guard, and the numbers show he did a pretty good job of it—he finished second in the SEC in assists (4.7 apg) and led the league in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.3).

    G-Jeffery Taylor, SR, Vanderbilt - Taylor finished second in the SEC in scoring because he spent countless hours last summer fine-tuning his 3-point stroke. He shot .451 from behind the arc (60 of 133) and finished ninth in the conference in 3s per game (1.9). Not bad for a guy who was 1 of 11 from 3 as a sophomore.

    F-Murphy Holloway, JR, Ole Miss - The NCAA cut Ole Miss some slack over the summer when it allowed Holloway, who played his first two seasons in Oxford before transferring to South Carolina in 2010-11, to return to the Rebels and be eligible immediately. He averaged 11.1 points and finished third in the conference in rebounding (8.9 rpg) and 10th in steals (1.4 spg).

    F-Jeronne Maymon, JR, Tennessee - See Most Improved Player category below.

    F-Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky - The term “warrior” is overused in sports, but there’s no better way to describe this freshman, who couldn’t be kept out of the starting lineup because he’s such a competitor. Several players have contributed to the Wildcats’ success this season, but this guy provides the fire and brimstone.

    ALL-SEC FRESHMAN TEAM
    G-B.J. Young, Arkansas
    - Despite coming off the bench most of the season, Young finished sixth in the SEC in scoring. He’s a big-time shot maker.

    G-Bradley Beal, Florida - Beal didn’t shoot the ball as well as he’s capable, but he averaged 14.7 points, seventh in the SEC, and 6.5 rebounds, which tied for Florida’s team high. Beal explodes to the rim like few others in the college game.

    G-Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia - Like Beal, Caldwell-Pope is another strong rebounder from the guard position (5.2 rpg). He gets a ton of steals (55, or 1.8 spg, fourth in the league) and can score points in bunches, even though his 3-point percentage hovers around 31 percent.

    F-Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky - See above.

    C-Anthony Davis, Kentucky - Again, see below.

    PLAYER OF THE YEAR
    Anthony Davis, FR, Kentucky
    - Has any player in the country had as much impact as Davis on both ends of the floor? He’s not only the SEC player of the year, he’s the national player of the year.

    FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
    Anthony Davis, FR, Kentucky
    - Some people might give this award to another freshman, given that Davis is also regarded as the SEC’s player of the year. Not us. He’s a freshman, which also makes him the league’s freshman of the year. And oh yeah, he’ll be the national freshman of the year, too.

    DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
    Anthony Davis, FR, Kentucky
    - Blocked shots don’t necessarily make a player the best defender in the league, but in Davis’ case, they do. He’s already broken the Kentucky freshman and overall records, as well as the SEC freshman record for blocks (146). He’ll own the league’s overall record (170, set twice by Mississippi State’s Jarvis Varnado) before the Wildcats are done playing. Yes, he’s also the national defensive player of the year.

    MOST IMPROVED PLAYER
    Jeronne Maymon, JR, Tennessee
    -  A year ago, Maymon averaged 9.1 minutes, 2.6 points and 2.8 rebounds. This season, he’s averaging 27.8, 12.6 and 7.8, and he’s racked up the SEC’s single-game highs in points (32) and rebounds (20) in one killer performance against Memphis in the Maui Invitational. Maymon was the picture of consistency down the stretch, scoring no fewer than 12 points in Tennessee’s last 12 games.

    SIXTH MAN OF THE YEAR
    Darius Miller, SR, Kentucky
    - Miller started 10 games this season, but he willingly came off the bench 21 times and still managed to average double-figures (10.0 ppg). He also shot the second-most 3-pointers on his team, cashing in at a solid 38 percent rate, and was third on the team in assists. But his biggest contribution was providing senior leadership for a team that started three freshman and two sophomores.

    CO-COACHES OF THE YEAR
    John Calipari, Kentucky, Cuonzo Martin, Tennessee
    - Call it a copout if you will - not being able to pick one - but the fact is, they both deserve the honor, because the two hardest things to do in coaching are exceeding expectations that are already high (Calipari) and rebuilding a program from scratch that had zero expectations (Martin).

    Kentucky fans, justifiably so, always expect to win the SEC championship, but Calipari took a team filled with freshman and sophomores - OK, so they are all first-round NBA draft picks - and turned it into a defensive juggernaut. Make no mistake, that’s why the Wildcats went through the SEC scheduled undefeated.

    And not to suggest that Martin inherited a down program - Bruce Pearl, fired last March after his brush with the NCAA, had guided the Vols to six straight NCAA tournaments - but Martin was left without much of a team. Top players Tobias Harris and Scotty Hopson left for the NBA draft (though Hopson wasn’t chosen), two other starters departed, and the bench was filled with players who had a skill or two but hadn’t contributed much previously.

    Martin also had to get his players to buy into his defensive concept, which he did masterfully as the Vols ended up 7-1 in the second half of the SEC season and claimed second place in the league after being picked by the media to finish 11th.



     
     

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    Chris Dortch Bio

    Chris Dortch estimates he’s covered close to 1,500 college basketball games since he was sports editor of his college student newspaper back in the late ’70s. “And it never gets old,” he says. “I always get pumped up to watch college hoops.”

    Dortch came to love basketball growing up in the basketball crazy state of Illinois, watching Missouri Valley Conference and Big Ten games every Saturday and pouring over the sports section of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I think I learned how to read a box score before I learned how to read,” he says.

    In college, first at George Mason and later at East Tennessee State, he came under the influence of two coaches that gave him a behind-the-scenes look at basketball from a coaching perspective. “After that I was hooked,” he says. “I knew I wanted to cover college basketball for a living.”

    And so he did, focusing on the Southeastern Conference at four newspapers and then for Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook, the famed “bible” of college basketball which Dortch began editing in 1996.

    In a 30-year career, Dortch has written for numerous publications and websites, served as a college basketball correspondent for Sports Illustrated, appeared on more than 1,000 radio shows and written five books, including String Music: Inside the Rise of SEC Basketball.

    Dortch has provided commentary for CSS, Fox Sports South, NBA TV and the Big Ten Network and also taught sports writing at East Tennessee State and Tennessee-Chattanooga, where his students call him “Professor D.”