Releford, Hale Earn SEC Honors

Sometimes when something doesn't happen it is news. Such is the case with the announcement of the Southeastern Conference men's basketball awards. It is not a huge surprise on the Player of the Year, either the man who won it or the man who didn't. Certainly in the Alabama camp, there is disappointment.

To get the bad news out of the way quickly, Alabama senior guard Trevor Releford was not selected the SEC Player of the Year in voting by the league's 14 head coaches.

The good news, though, is that Releford was selected first team All-SEC. The Crimson Tide senior from Kansas City could hardly have done more in quest of the honor. He was handicapped by Bama not having a very good season (13-8), failing to win a road game, and finishing 10th in the conference with a 7-11 record.

Releford, though, had a tremendous year, leading Alabama in scoring with 18.8 points per game and ranking among the SEC leaders in scoring, three-point shooting, free throw shooting, steals, and assists.

Additionally, Bama forward Shannon Hale of Johnson City, Tenn., was selected to the All-SEC Freshman Team. Hale is averaging 8.8 points and 3.6 rebounds per game.

Releford and Hale and the rest of the Tide team resumes play Thursday in the first round of the SEC Tournament at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Bama will meet LSU at 7 p.m. EDT (6 p.m. central time). The winner of that game will play Kentucky Friday.

Understandably, Florida dominated the honors squad as selected by the coaches. The Gators dominated the league with a perfect 18-0 record.

The coaches selected Florida Coach Billy Donovan as coach of the year, senior Scottie Wilbekin as player of the year, Patric Young defensive player of the year (and he also earned SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year), and Donian Finney-Smith as sixth man of the year.

The only individual award going to a non-Gator was Kentucky's Julius Randle being selected SEC Freshman of the Year.

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