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SEC Player of the Year Candidates

Darrell Bird

Photo by Darrell Bird

Photo by Darrell Bird

With the non-conference season in the books it’s time to move forward and look towards conference play. The SEC had an interesting non-league slate that saw a slew of tough schedules without many marquee wins. The Cats came away with one big win (Louisville), and two decent wins (Boise State and Providence), while Florida came away with a couple big ones against Kansas and Memphis. After that, though, the conferences best win was probably Mizzou’s road win at NC State (or their home win vs. UCLA, depending on how much you value home/road).

Anyways, as much as the SEC may have struggled in the non-conference, there are still a plethora of good players capable of challenging the current, clear-cut favorite in Julius Randle. Let’s take a look a some of his main competitors:

Jordan Clarkson, Mizzou: The 6’5” transfer from Tulsa has been the main reason for Mizzou’s early season success thus far. A lot of people thought going into the season that Missouri would take a step back this season (I was not one of them), but Clarkson’s strong play has pretty much eliminated any thought of that. On the year he’s averaging 20 points per game on 50% shooting, 4.6 assists, and 3.6 rebounds. Clarkson hasn’t “shied away” in any of their big games yet either, as he’s put up 21, 25 and 21 against UCLA, Illinois and NC  State, respectively.

Casey Prather, Florida: No one on Florida benefitted more than Prather after enduring the Gators early season roster issues. The extended minutes for him allowed Prather to blossom into a star of sorts. On the year he’s averaging 17.8 points per game and 5.7 rebounds on 62.4% shooting (!). For those of you that don’t know, 62.4% from the field as a 6’6” guard on 10+ shots per game is ridiculous. If he keeps up that pace for the entire season and if Florida heavily contends for the SEC title, it could end up being a two man race between Prather and Randle for SEC POY rights.

Jordan Mickey, LSU: Here’s a freshman in the SEC that isn’t getting much pub. He wasn’t a top recruit by any means but my god is he doing well for an LSU squad that has serious hopes of an NCAA tournament berth after a solid non-conference portion. Mickey contributes on both ends of the floor, as he is averaging 13.5 points per game, 8.1 rebounds and 3.5 blocks per game (good for 2nd in the SEC). He’s an interesting player to keep an eye on because LSU isn’t getting many national looks due to their lack of a great win, but they don’t have any bad losses so if they can make a run at the SEC title than Mickey would get a serious look at the award.

Marshall Henderson, Ole Miss: Do I think Henderson is a good player? Yes. Do I think Marshall Henderson is insanely overrated? Also yes. But nevertheless, Henderson is going to score enough points in SEC play for him to warrant consideration for SEC POY (disclaimer: this is me projecting that he’ll be a candidate based on the media’s tendencies. In no way, shape or form is near my faux ballot). He’s scoring nearly 19 points per game in just 26 minutes of action, but if he wants to stay in the race he’s going to need to help his team win more games to get a potential NCAA berth. He’s also going to need to turn in better performances that the one he did last weekend in a loss to Mercer where he was just 5 of 16 from the field with 4 turnovers.

Fringe candidates: Willie Cauley-Stein, Jabari Brown, Johnny O’Bryant, Trevor Releford, Jordan McRae



Article written by Ben Ward

14 Comments for SEC Player of the Year Candidates

  1. Hello Ben
    6:30 pm December 30, 2013 Permalink

    I’ll keep an eye on those guys you mention as the season goes along.

  2. FormerUoflGraduate
    6:30 pm December 30, 2013 Permalink

    This to me says it all about how the crybabies at my former scholastic institution sees this game with transparent eyes.

  3. here ya go
    6:35 pm December 30, 2013 Permalink

    This website gripes and moans about how we should just sit back and enjoy the college season and the ride of the basketball team, but at every turn you shove NBA projections and something about someone on this team going to the NBA down our collective throats. how about you practice what you preach, and enjoy the college basketball season?

  4. go cats
    6:36 pm December 30, 2013 Permalink

    I think I’d put Young on there as a fringe candidate over WCS. All he can do is block shots.

    And it’s ‘berth,’ not ‘birth.’

  5. Delk for 3
    6:42 pm December 30, 2013 Permalink

    I just personally think James Young or Aaron Harrison should be considered fringe candidates. They both could lead UK in scoring throughout the SEC regular season. It’s no guarantee that Randle will be that guy. That stated, Randle will probably lead the conference in double-doubles. I don’t think WCS has a prayer.

  6. jpg
    6:46 pm December 30, 2013 Permalink

    I thought Jeronne Maymon or Jarnell Stokes would be more dominate than they have been. UT has not shown up so far, but they have some solid talent.

  7. Mark
    6:46 pm December 30, 2013 Permalink

    I would put James Young on that list. Marshall Henderson’s poor sportsman ship would not qualify in my book. I don’t know how he can even play basketball with his drug history problems? Cracks me up when coaches suspend people indefenitly and they are back in No time.

    • Ben Ward
      2:51 am December 31, 2013 Permalink

      I thought about putting James Young on the list but I don’t think there’s enough room for three candidates from Kentucky and I don’t see how you could place him above either Randle or WCS at this juncture. If Young ever busts out of his shooting slump then I could easily see him shoot up as a possible candidate.

  8. scotty
    10:12 pm December 30, 2013 Permalink

    the use of the word PEACE to end any conversation or article indicates a lack of testicles & the fact you are never going to score.

    • Silas P. Silas
      11:22 pm December 30, 2013 Permalink

      Well Mr. Civilized, peace can also be used interjectionally as a request, greeting or farewell. So, try to find another way to be an @hole, if you don’t know your grammar that is. Peace.

  9. LMU
    12:34 am December 31, 2013 Permalink

    UK fan, but live in Tennessee. Hate the Vols, but how is McRae not on this list?

  10. Jordan McRae
    1:16 am December 31, 2013 Permalink

    This article is a slap in the face!

  11. Billy G
    10:50 am December 31, 2013 Permalink

    Unbelievable….James Young should be there…the list is officially deficient.

  12. The_big_nasty_figgya
    11:00 am December 31, 2013 Permalink

    Listen Guys- Wards list is pretty good, but to be honest only a UK or Florida player will win this award so asking why a certain Tennessee player hasn’t made it will result in “Ward” giggling in your face. Ward does have testicles, I think, and he knows how to use them!