SEC Basketball has come to an end for 2010. With Tennessee’s elimination at the hands of Michigan State in the Midwest Region Final, there are no more SEC games to be played, so I figured it was time to release the When[It]StrikeMe All-SEC teams for 2009-2010. I’ve loaded up your standard fare of All-Conference Performers, as well as All-Villain Team, All-Glue, All-Name, All-Smooth, All-Freak-Athlete and All-Wait-Till-Next-Year teams. Let’s start with the individual awards.
Coach of the Year. At the end of Conference Play, I was ready to follow the Coaches and give this one to Kevin Stallings of Vanderbilt. Not only was that the homer pick, but it was also the wrong one. There are some arguments against Bruce Pearl, but he is the Coach of the Year. Pearl’s Vols have overcome tremendous shortcomings on their roster to end up as the last SEC team standing, earning the Vols program’s first Elite Eight. It is true that Pearl brought the troublemakers that caused those roster problems into the program; however, at the very least one has to appreciate that he actually disciplined his offenders (unlike a certain reptilian coach to the north). For that, I grant thee Pearl the Coach of the Year. Runners Up (Tie) – Stallings and John Calipari (Kentucky).
Player of the Year & Freshman of the Year. Some people seem dead set on giving John Wall the annointed status as best SEC player. I’m sorry, he’s not even the best player on his own team. Granted, on a team that starts four potential lottery picks for this year’s draft, not being the best doesn’t mean a whole lot; nevertheless, the guy I’m watching and who I believe was the most singularly dominating SEC performer in several years was Demarcus Cousins. In a year in which he wasn’t even expected to be a candidate for Player of the Year or Freshman of the Year… hidden by characters such as Wall, USC’s Devan Downey, UT’s Tyler Smith, MSU’s Jarvis Varnardo and Vanderbilt’s AJ Ogilvy, Cousins snuck up on people. Or at least he snuck up on folks as much as a phenomenal, freak-beast at 6’10″ 260lbs can. He’s arguably the most athletic big man in amateur basketball and turned into a double double machine while dominating the best post players in the SEC. The only real downturn for Demarcus is that the most physically mature player in the league was also the most immature. He loved flashing his elbows and lost his cool on numerous occasions. Regardless of his personality disorders, Cousins was the best player and the best newcomer in the league. Runner Up (Both Awards) – Wall.
Sixth Man of the Year. This was really somewhat of a thin award pool. No sixth man really dominated in any tangible measure, so it ended up falling by default to Vanderbilt’s shooting wunderkind, John Jenkins. The SEC leader in three-point shooting at 48.3% actually shot 50.7% from downtown if you remove the 0-7 performance against Georgia. In the Georgia game, Jenkins played through a flu that hospitalized him for two days the next night. Anyway, Jenkins eventually ended up starting seven games as his unreal stroke could not be left on the bench. It goes without saying that he will not be eligible for an SEC sixth man award again. Runners Up (Tie) - Chandler Parsons (Florida) and Zach Graham (Ole Miss).
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