Handing Out the SEC AwardsPosted by David Changas on March 9th, 2016
Unlike the coaches, the SEC microsite writers stick to a rule of putting only five members on their all-conference team. Clearly, making our group should mean more to those selected than having the coaches pick them.
- Tyler Ulis, Kentucky (SEC Player of the Year)
- Jamal Murray, Kentucky
- Ben Simmons, LSU
- Jalen Jones, Texas A&M
- Stefan Moody, Ole Miss
Credible cases could be made for Damian Jones, Kevin Punter, Retin Obasohan, and Michael Carrera, among others, but the five selected stood out as the five best.
SEC Player of the Year
Tyler Ulis, Kentucky. The diminutive Kentucky point guard successfully made the leap from role player on a 38-win team of all-stars to the leader of one of the nation’s best backcourts. Playing almost every important minute of every contest, Ulis averaged 16.6 points and a league-leading 7.4 assists per game. But it was the way in which he could dominate a game at only 5’9″ that separates him from the pack. If the Wildcats are going to make their usual run later this month, Ulis will be the catalyst that make it happen.
SEC Newcomer of the Year
Ben Simmons, LSU. This was the easiest selection we made. While the league had a number of standout freshman this season, the likely top pick in this summer’s NBA Draft was clearly the cream of the crop. It’s too bad Simmons’ multi-talented wares won’t be on display in March Madness for the whole country to enjoy (unless the Tigers win the SEC Tournament) because he is the type of player who can take over a game like few others on the college level.
SEC Coach of the Year
Frank Martin, South Carolina. Martin edged Kentucky’s John Calipari for this award. While it’s true that the Gamecocks did not beat many heavyweights on their way to a 24-7 (11-7 SEC) record, it’s quite an accomplishment for the Gamecocks to be in NCAA Tournament consideration given where the program was when he took over. Martin’s next task is to lead his team to the school’s first NCAA Tournament victory since 1973.