Releford Makes Case With Coaches

Things may be changing for the better for Trevor Releford as a candidate for Southeastern Conference Player of the Year. Although the award usually goes to the star of the best team, or at least one of the top teams, despite a poor season by Alabama, Releford has been outstanding.

Although Alabama has struggled to an 11-18 record, including only a 5-11 mark in SEC games, Trevor Releford has been a standout in the league. In fact, SEC coaches are on record as saying that the Crimson Tide's record would not preclude the coach from considering Releford for the SEC Player of the Year honor.

Releford is the only senior who plays for the Crimson Tide. He and walk-on Isiah Wilson will be recognized Saturday at Senior Day, Bama's final home game. Alabama will host Arkansas at 3 p.m. Saturday in Coleman Coliseum in the final regular season game of the year.

Releford, an All-SEC player last year and pre-season All-SEC this year, became just the seventh player in the 101-year history of the program to record over 1,800 career points. He ranks among the SEC leaders in scoring (18.8 points per game), shooting percentage, three-point shooting percentage, free throw shooting percentage, steals, and assists.

Alabama Coach Anthony Grant has made the case for Releford. He said, "His numbers. You look at what he's been able to do night in and night out for our basketball team especially here in SEC play when from a scouting standpoint teams obviously are aware of what he is capable of and game plan to try to limit his opportunities. He's consistently been able to produce for our team.

"I know this is a one-year award but over the course of his career he just continues to get better and improve and add things to his game.

"I think you look at the importance of him to our team in terms of being able to go out there and affect the game in a multitude of ways whether it be scoring points or getting his teammates an opportunity to score points or making plays on the defensive end of the floor by getting steals. I think he's been a guy that has affected the game in a lot of ways.

"Certainly he would have my vote. I think he's had an outstanding year and I think he is certainly very deserving of every consideration."

The question put to SEC coaches who were available for discussion was:

Would Alabama's record preclude you from considering Trevor Releford for SEC Player of the Year?

Here are the responses:

Kevin Stallings, Vanderbilt: "No, record would not preclude me from considering anyone for Player of the Year."

Mark Fox, Georgia: "No, I don't think so. I don't think it would preclude me from considering him. I think he's had a terrific career there. I wouldn't say it would preclude me. I won't say who I will vote for but I think obviously Florida has dominated the league so much that someone from there team will likely deserve the award."

Cuonzo Martin, Tennessee: "Not at all. I think you have to take everything into consideration. Look at the guy who won the award last year (Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia). He was a very talented player and his team did not finish in the top three but is a talented basketball player. I don't think that matters. You would like to vote when you're talking about a guy as a Player of the Year for one of the top teams because of the body of work; but not at all (would he eliminate Releford). Trevor's a very talented player."

Mike Anderson, Arkansas: "I've always loved Trevor. He's a young man I've known when he was a freshman in high school. I am a Trevor Releford fan. He has done an outstanding job there not only this season but in his career. He's done whatever it takes to win. He's put them in positions where they had opportunities to win. Unfortunately they have been kind of short-handed with some guys leaving out of there but he's a dynamite player and a tremendous leader."

Tony Barbee, Auburn: "No. Obviously you typically honor a Player of the Year from a team that is one of the top teams in the league, but Trevor deserves all the accolades he gets for more so the career that he's had at Alabama as opposed to the season that the team has had. He's a like I said before the game, a dynamic player. He's one of those guys that you would love to have run your team every single year because he does so much. The career that he has had at Alabama would not keep me from voting him as Player of the Year."

Andy Kennedy, Ole Miss: "It would not. The Player of the Year, I wish they would name it the Most Valuable Player because he's certainly very, very valuable to their team despite them having ups and downs as we all have through the course of the year. He's had a tremendous year and certainly will be in consideration for that award." Billy Kennedy, Texas A&M: "No, not at all. He's done so much. He's a winner. I'm really surprised that their team has struggled like they have. I think they have some good pieces and he's definitely worthy of consideration for Player of the Year because he wins big games at the end. I just think he's a winner and for four years has been a good tough player for them. I'm going to strongly consider him in that role."

Jerry Tipton of the Lexington Herald Leader, asked a question that included, "Andy Kennedy said Trevor had a senior sense of urgency. "He's always been fast with the ball and always had the ability to knife through defenses but now his perimeter shooting has improved so much over the last two years he is really a hard cover.'"

BamaMag Top Stories