All awards of SEC have Big Blue tint
Posted: Tuesday, March 13, 2012 7:00 pm
By PAUL NEWBERRY
AP Sports Writer
ATLANTA (AP) — One day after its first loss in more than three months, Kentucky got back to winning.
The top-ranked Wildcats made a clean sweep of the awards Monday on The Associated Press All-Southeastern Conference team. Freshman Anthony Davis was a unanimous choice for player of the year and newcomer of the year, while John Calipari took the coaching honor for the second time in three seasons at Kentucky.
Davis was joined on the first team by another unanimous selection, Vanderbilt junior guard John Jenkins, the only player to repeat from last year’s All-SEC team.
The remainder of the first team included another Kentucky freshman, forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and two players from Mississippi State, junior forward Arnett Moultrie and senior guard Dee Bost.
Led by Davis, a 6-foot-10 forward from Chicago, the Wildcats (32-2) romped through the SEC with a perfect 16-0 record. After a one-point loss at Indiana in early December, they won 24 straight games, a streak that finally ended Sunday with a 71-64 setback to Vanderbilt in the championship game of the conference tournament at New Orleans.
But Kentucky still earned the top overall seed in the NCAA tournament and finished No. 1 in the final AP poll for the eighth time. Three of those teams went on to claim the national championship, and this team certainly has a shot at adding to that list.
“I think our confidence is still here. We never lost any confidence,” Davis said. “We just got to go back in the gym and play hard in practice and get ready for the tournament.”
The freshman showed he was ready for college, even if it’s just a one-year stopover on the way to the NBA. He connected on an astounding 64.2 percent of his shots (no one else in the SEC made more than 55 percent) and dominated at the defensive end with 4.6 blocks per game (doubling up the next-best player on the list).
Davis finished eighth in scoring (14.3 points a game) and second in rebounding (10.0).
“He’s the darndest thing I’ve ever seen,” Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said. “What a terrific player. What an unbelievable, unbelievable player that kid is. Wow, is he good. And a great demeanor, great disposition. Wow. He is the real, real deal.”
Published in The Messenger 3.13.12