2009/2010 SEC Preview

Posted on 27. Oct, 2009 by Nolan Shulman in Conference Previews, NCAA

All it took was one month of recruiting for Coach Calipari to bring Kentucky back to the top of college basketball. He went out and snagged 5 top 50 recruits including the #1 recruit in the nation, John Wall. Without having played a single game, Big Blue Nation is smiling again. Tennessee and Florida, they aren’t smiling. Their league just got a heck of a lot tougher. Tennessee is up to the challenge. They return Tyler Smith and Wayne Chism to go along with freshman Kenny Hall. Florida isn’t so lucky. Just three years removed from winning consecutive National Championships, Florida will be leaning on freshman Kenny Boyton to dig them out of their NIT slump. I wonder if coach Donovan is up at night asking himself if it’s too late to change his mind about Orlando again? In South Carolina, Devan Downey is back and that should cause nightmares for opposing guards. If you’ve circled their first game against Kentucky as a can’t miss game, your not the only one. This matchup could go a long way in determining the player of the year in the SEC conference. The SEC is poised to have one of it’s best seasons in recent memory. Not only do they bring back a lot of their talent, but they have some of the finest youngsters the college game has seen in some time.

2008/2009 SEC East Standings

Tennessee 10-6
South Carolina 10-6
Florida 9-7
Vanderbilt 8-8
Kentucky 8-8
Georgia 3-13

2008/2009 SEC West Standings

LSU 13-3
Auburn 10-6
Mississippi State 9-7
Alabama 7-9
Ole Miss 7-9
Arkansas 2-14

2009/2010 Projected SEC East Standings

Kentucky 14-2
Tennessee 11-5
South Carolina 9-7
Florida 7-9
Vanderbuilt 7-9
Georgia 2-14

2009/2010 Projected SEC West Standings

Missisipi St. 10-6
Missisipi 10-6
Arkansas 8-8
Alabama 6-10
LSU 4-12
Auburn 4-12

PRE-SEASON ALL CONFERENCE TEAMS

Player of the Year: Devan Downey, South Carolina- Downey is a proven point guard capable of winning games single handily. He’s a prolific scorer who also finds a way to get his teammates involved. While Wall is the better NBA prospect, Downey has gotten it done for the past three years. His 19.8 points, 4.5 assists, and 2.9 steals per game as a junior are going to be hard to match. He’s gotten better every year and averages of 20 ppg and 5 assists are well within his reach.

First Team All-SEC

G- John Wall, Kentucky- He’s probably already further along than Derrick Rose at the same point of their development. His ability to get in the paint and finish is second to none. No question the best talent in America.

G- Devan Downey, South Carolina- While Wall is getting all the hype in the SEC, Downey has proven he’s capable of leading the Gamecocks to new heights. He averaged just shy of 20ppg’s, while handing out nearly 5 assists, and connecting on 35% of his three’s. If he improves on that, look out !!!

F- Patrick Patterson, Kentucky- After deciding to forgo the NBA Draft, Patterson returns to help bring Kentucky basketball back to glory. Coach Cal has assembled a very young and very talented team which Patterson will have to lead. He’s up to the task.

F- Tyler Smith, Tennessee- Another SEC player who put the draft on hold to finish what he started, Smith comes back with a very polished resume. He made a huge leap last season and will be counted on to lead Tennessee. He will have to be dominant if the Vols hope to contend with Kentucky for the SEC East.

C- A.J. Ogilvy, Vanderbilt- Ogilvy averaged 15 and 7 last year in just 27 minutes. He shot 55% from the field and was extremely productive and efficient. He needs to stay on the court longer, and develop more of a mean streak on the glass. If he does, he could make Vandy a dangerous team and he’ll certain cement himself as a first round pick in next years draft.

Second Team All-SEC

G- Chris Warren, Ole Miss- Averaged just shy of 20 ppg’s last season before an ACL derailed the remainder of his sophomore year. If he’s healthy, the Rebels could be a very dangerous SEC team.

G-Scotty Hopson, Tennessee- His numbers from last season don’t jump out at you, but talking to the staff at Tennessee and NBA scouts around the league, everyone seems to feel he’s going to have a monster season. He shoots the three fairly well (35%) and can also score off the pull up.

F- Jarvis Varnado, Mississippi State- Jarvis is going to be really good. How good depends on Renardo’s amateur status. If Renardo plays, Jarvis will lose touches and no longer be the focal point of the offense. If he doesn’t Jarvis goes from being one of the best #2 options in the SEC to the main cog.

F-Renardo Sydney, Mississippi State- Whether or not Sydney will be cleared to play remains to be determined. If he is cleared, he’s determined to prove that he, not Cousins is the best freshman big man in the conference.

C- Michael Washington, Arkansas- After averaging almost 16 points and 10 rebounds as a Junior, Washington will be counted on to at least duplicate those numbers if Arkansas wants to improve on it’s 2 wins in SEC play last year. His 1.3 blocks per game need to improve as he’ll be asked to protect the rim and provide quality help defense.

Third Team All-SEC

G- Kenny Boyton, Florida- With Calathes gone the pressure falls on Boyton to lead the backcourt in Gainesville. He’s a great scorer who has a terrific mid range game, but can he get it done alone?

G- David Huertas, Ole Miss- For those of you who don’t know Huertas, it’s time to learn his name. This 6-5 scorer from Puerto Rico should team with Chris Warren to form one of the most potent backcourts in America.

F- Alex Tyus, Florida- After a weird summer highlighted by a fake transfer, Tyus is back to improve on his steady play from last year. He shot almost 60% from the field, but most of those came on dunks. If he can add a 10 foot jumper to his high energy style, he could take another step forward and help Florida become relevant again.

F- Wayne Chism, Tennessee- Chism is back to provide experience and toughness for Tennessee. He brings more to the table than his numbers suggest. His 8 rebounds in 25 minutes shows he can be an elite rebounder in this league. It’s his senior year, and I expect his output to increase all over the board.

C- Demarcus Cousins, Kentucky- John Wall isn’t the only freshman expected to come in and dominate right away for Big Blue Nation. They are also expecting Cousins to come in and team with Patterson to form the best front court in the country.

PRE-SEASON ALL FRESHMAN TEAM

Freshman of the Year: John Wall, Kentucky- Never a doubt. He’s not just the best freshman in the SEC, he’s the best freshman in America. He’s never played a collegiate game and is already the favorite to be the #1 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. Enough said.

First Team All-Freshman

G-John Wall, Kentucky- He’s on my first team all conference and is my freshman of the year, so there is little doubt he would make this pre-season team as well.

G- Kenny Boyton, Florida- It’s all on Kenny to guide the Gators back to the NCAA tournament. While he’s an excellent player capable of scoring it in bunches, I’m not sure he can do it alone. If the other guys step up, he can provide the bulk of the offense.

F- Kenny Hall, Tennessee- Hall is a wiry kid who should help provide Tennessee with energy and length. He’s quick, can shoot it, and looks to be a perfect fit in Bruce Pearl’s offense. He is the perfect compliment to Chism and the two could blossom into a very formidable frontcourt.

F-Renardo Sydney, Mississippi State- Eligibility issues aside, this kid is special. Until I’m told otherwise, I’m going to assume Sydney is going to play. On the court, Sydney can do it all. He can shoot it, pass it, face up his opponent, and take it to the tin. At 6-11, 265, there are few who possess his skill set.

C- DeMarcus Cousins, Kentucky- Him and Patterson could become the most talented frontcourt in the history of Kentucky basketball. Wall is an exceptional player, but how quickly and effectively Cousins adjusts to the college game will determine how good Kentucky will be.

Second Team All-Freshman

G- John Jenkins, Vanderbilt- Jenkins is an excellent shooter who can score the ball. He’ll play his tail off for the full 40 minutes and should immediately help Vandy score the ball.

G- Eric Bledsoe, Kentucky- Wall is the only highly touted point guard who inked with Kentucky. Bledsoe is also a terrific playmaker who should start next to Wall. He can handle it, lead an offense, and get in the lane. They may be young in Kentucky, but they are very talented int he backcourt.

F- Marshawn Powell, Arkansas- Arkansas has quietly picked up some nice recruits moving forward. Powell is a great post defender who can rebound and guard his position. His offense needs work, but he’ll do the dirty work for the Razorbacks this year.

F- Jon Hood, Kentucky- Yup Kentucky again. This is possibly the best class of the decade. While Hood won’t start on day one, he will find his way into the rotation. Why do I say that so confidently? He’s as versatile a player as you’ll find in this class and as smart a player too. He might not have the athletic gifts of Wall and Cousins, but this kid will make a big time impression on Big Blue Nation.

C- Daniel Orton, Kentucky- How much run will Orton get? He wasn’t a Calipari recruit and doesn’t seem to have the body or game to fit coach Cal’s system. One thing he does have going for him is that he’s a heck of a player and will be hard to keep off the floor. I expect him to prove to Coach Cal that he can play in any system.

COACH ON THE HOT SEAT

John Calipari, Kentucky- While he’s clearly not in danger of losing his job, Calipari has more pressure on him than any coach in America. Coaching for Big Blue Nation is a daunting task. They criticize every decision you make and expect National Championships. Add to it the top recruiting class of the decade coming in and the pressure is on. His honeymoon should last right up until his first loss. Good luck coach.

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One Response to “2009/2010 SEC Preview”

  1. ashley judd

    28. Oct, 2009

    Go Wildcats.
    Bring us the hardware Mr.Wall.

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