KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Georgia forward Yante Maten is the Associated Press’ Southeastern Conference men’s basketball player of the year.
Maten and Tennessee forward Grant Williams were unanimous first-team picks on the all-SEC team announced Tuesday. Tennessee’s Rick Barnes was named coach of the year and Alabama freshman guard Collin Sexton was selected as newcomer of the year by the 15-person media panel.
Auburn’s Bryce Brown and Arkansas’ Daryl Macon joined Maten, Williams and Sexton as first-team all-SEC selections.
The second team includes Auburn teammates Jared Harper and Mustapha Heron, Arkansas’ Jaylen Barford, Florida’s Chris Chiozza and Missouri’s Kassius Robertson.
Maten leads the SEC in scoring (19.4) and ranks second in the league in rebounding (8.8). Those statistics enabled him to earn player of the year honors even though Georgia (16-14, 7-11) tied for 11th place in the league standings.
This marks the first time an AP SEC player of the year has come from a team that ended the regular season below .500 in conference play since 1971, when Mississippi’s Johnny Neumann won the award while the Rebels went 6-12 in league competition.
There have been four AP SEC players of the year since then whose teams finished the regular season .500 in SEC play: Georgia’s Dominique Wilkins (1981), Tennessee’s Dale Ellis (1983), Vanderbilt’s Dan Langhi (2000 co-player of the year) and Georgia’s Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (2013).
Georgia is the No. 12 seed in this week’s SEC Tournament in St. Louis and will face 13th-seeded Vanderbilt in Wednesday’s first-round action. Georgia coach Mark Fox is hopeful Maten will be ready for that game after the 6-foot-8 senior took a shot to the jaw Saturday in a 66-61 loss at No. 13 Tennessee.
Maten was the choice of 11 of the 15 voters on the media panel. Three voters selected Harper as player of the year and one opted for Williams.
Barnes got 10 votes as coach of the year after leading Tennessee to a share of the SEC title. The preseason SEC media poll had Tennessee finishing 13th out of 14 teams in the conference.
Four voters selected Auburn’s Bruce Pearl, who led the Tigers to a share of the SEC title and the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament. Missouri’s Cuonzo Martin got one vote.
This marked the first year since 2007 that Kentucky didn’t have a first-team or second-team selection. Kentucky had at least one first-team all-SEC pick every year from 2009-17.
FIRST TEAM (listed alphabetically)
Bryce Brown, Auburn, G, 6-3, Jr., Stone Mountain, Georgia
Daryl Macon, Arkansas, G, 6-3, Sr., Little Rock, Arkansas
u-Yante Maten, Georgia, F, 6-8, Sr., Pontiac, Michigan
Collin Sexton, Alabama, G, 6-3, Fr., Mableton, Georgia
u-Grant Williams, Tennessee, F, 6-7, Soph., Charlotte, North Carolina
Jaylen Barford, Arkansas, G, 6-3, Sr., Jackson, Tennessee
Chris Chiozza, Florida, G, 6-0, Sr., Memphis, Tennessee
Jared Harper, Auburn, G, 5-10, Soph., Mableton, Georgia
Mustapha Heron, Auburn, G, 6-5, Soph., Waterbury, Connecticut
Kassius Robertson, Missouri, G, 6-3, Sr., Toronto, Ontario
Player of the year – Yante Maten, Georgia
Coach of the year – Rick Barnes, Tennessee
Newcomer of the year – Collin Sexton, Alabama
AP All-SEC Voting Panel
Rick Bozich, WDRB (Louisville, Kentucky); Kevin Brockway, Gainesville (Florida) Sun; Jason Butt, Macon (Georgia) Telegraph; John Clay, Lexington (Kentucky) Herald-Leader; David Cobb, Chattanooga (Tennessee) Times-Free Press; David Cloninger, The Post and Courier (Charleston, South Carolina), Richard Croome, The Eagle (Bryan-College Station, Texas); Justin Ferguson, SEC Country (Alabama); Bob Holt, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (Little Rock, Arkansas); Cecil Hurt, Tuscaloosa (Alabama) News; Andrew Lopez, The Advocate (Baton Rouge, Louisiana); Dave Matter, St. Louis Post Dispatch; Sheldon Mickles, The Advocate (Baton Rouge, Louisiana); Joe Rexrode, The Tennessean (Nashville, Tennessee); Will Sammon, Jackson (Mississippi) Clarion-Ledger
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