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UGA's Thompkins, Leslie pick up big preseason SEC honors

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

ATHENS -- The Georgia football team may be struggling this season, but there aren't many out there who think the same about the Bulldogs' men's hoops program.

They're already getting tons of respect.

UGA juniors Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie were named Monday to the preseason All-SEC First Team, while Thompkins was selected as the SEC's preseason Player of the Year.

The SEC preseason teams are voted by a select panel of both conference and national media members.

Thompkins, a 6-foot-10 junior from Lithonia, received 18 of 20 first-place votes for the SEC's Player of the Year honor. He was a unanimous All-SEC First-Team selection last season for the Bulldogs, and he is the only member of the 8-man Coaches' All-SEC team to be returning in 2010-11. As a sophomore he averaged 17.7 points and 8.3 rebounds, both team highs.

Leslie, a 6-4 junior from Decatur, was the league's Most Improved Player for the 2009-10 season, averaging 14.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. He ended last season with a career-high 34 points in a second-round loss to Vanderbilt at the SEC Tournament.

As a team, the Bulldogs were also predicted to finish third in the Eastern Division.

With two first-place votes, they garnered 72 points, behind favorite Florida (110 points, 13 first-place votes) and Kentucky (95 points, three first-place votes). Tennessee, Vanderbilt and South Carolina completed the East.

The Gators return all five starters from a team that went 21-13 last season and made the NCAA Tournament.

Mississippi State, with 18 of 20 first-place votes, was the preseason favorite to win the Western Division. The remaining teams were picked in the following order: Ole Miss, Alabama, Arkansas, LSU and Auburn.

The Bulldogs got preseason practice under way last Friday in preparation for their season opener, a Nov. 4 exhibition game against Augusta State.

Georgia coach Mark Fox enters his second season after going 14-17 overall and 5-11 in the SEC in his first year at the helm last year.