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Caldwell-Pope named SEC Player of the Year

Georgia sophomore Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is second in the Southeastern Conference in scoring, averaging 18 points per game.

Georgia sophomore Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is second in the Southeastern Conference in scoring, averaging 18 points per game.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The Southeastern Conference unveiled its men’s basketball coaches’ postseason awards Tuesday, and the top honor went to a Georgia Bulldog.

Florida’s Billy Donovan earned SEC Coach of the Year honors while Georgia sophomore Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was selected the SEC Player of the Year by the league’s coaches. Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel took home SEC Freshman of the Year and SEC Defensive Player of the Year accolades. Kentucky’s Kyle Wiltjer was tabbed SEC Sixth Man of the Year while Florida’s Patric Young earned SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors.

This is the second SEC Coach of the Year honor for Donovan, who led the Gators to a 14-4 mark in league play and a 24-6 overall record.

The Gators earned their fourth SEC championship under the direction of Donovan and the fifth in school history.

Caldwell-Pope, who ranks second in the SEC in scoring (18 ppg) and third in steals (2.1 spg), is one of only 10 players in NCAA Division I to score in double figures in every one of their team’s games this season. The Greenville native becomes the first Georgia player to be named SEC Player of the Year by the league’s coaches. 

Noel blocked 106 shots in his 24 games before going down with a knee injury on Feb. 12.

Despite the shortened season, his 106 blocks ranked second in UK single-season history and third among SEC Freshmen behind Anthony Davis (186) and Shaquille O’Neal (115). He set a UK single-game record with 12 blocked shots at Ole Miss and finished the year averaging 10.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game.

Young earned the SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year award for the second consecutive year, sporting a 3.38 grade-point average in telecommunications. The junior from Jacksonville, Fla., is averaging 10.5 points and 6.2 rebounds for the nationally ranked Gators.

Wiltjer won the SEC’s Sixth Man of the Year award after averaging 10.5 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game.

Coaches voted on eight-member teams for first team All-SEC, second team All-SEC and for the SEC All-Freshman Team. They voted on a five-player squad for the SEC All-Defensive Team. They were not permitted to vote for their own players and ties were not broken.