Coaches: Brewer First-Team All-SEC

ATLANTA -- Guard Ronnie Brewer snapped a 10-year Arkansas drought when he was named to the Coaches' All-Southeastern Conference first-team Wednesday.

The sophomore became the first Razorback to earn first-team all-conference honors since former Hogs Corliss Williamson and Scotty Thurman were tabbed in 1995. Brewer was one of eight players named to the All-SEC first-team, which is voted on by the conference's 12 coaches.

"Ronnie is a very talented player," said Arkansas coach Stan Heath. "He has done a lot for our basketball team. He's kind of our leader. He's the guy that makes big plays for us. It's just a tribute to him that he has made another step from freshman year to sophomore year. It has lifted our team up."

The 6-foot-7, 210-pound Brewer leads Arkansas in points (16.4), rebounds (4.9) and steals (74). He is second in assists (99) behind junior guard Eric  Ferguson (128).

Brewer, an all-freshman SEC selection along with teammate Olu Famutimi in 2004, was named second-team All-SEC by The Associated Press on Tuesday. Brewer also was selected to the United States Basketball Writers Association first-team All-District 7 squad and earned first-team All-District 9 honors from the National Association of Basketball Coaches earlier this season.

He is just the eighth Razorback to earn All-SEC first-team honors since Arkansas joined the conference in 1992.

"I just want to go out there and help the team as much as I could and try to be the best player I could be," Brewer said. "Coach Heath has a lot of confidence in me. My teammates have a lot of confidence in me. I just didn't want to let them down."

In addition, Arkansas center Darian Townes was named to the eight-man SEC All-Freshman team Wednesday. The 6-10, 250-pound Townes, who earned freshman all-America honorable mention honors from Rivals.com earlier this week, is second on the team in scoring (10.2), rebounding (4.6) and blocked shots (47).

"He still has a lot to learn," Heath said. "He's still got improvement inside him. But he's given us a dimension we haven't had in the last couple years, and I think it has made some other guys on our team better as well."

LSU's Brandon Bass took home the most-coveted individual award when he was named SEC Player of the Year. Glen Davis, his frontcourt mate, was named Freshman of the Year. Ole Miss guard Todd Abernathy was named Sixth Man of the Year and Kentucky's Chuck Hayes earned Defensive Player of the Year honors.

Kentucky's Tubby Smith was named SEC Coach of the Year by his peers.

Injury Bug
Mississippi State (21-9, 9-7 in SEC) has battled through a season full of nagging injuries. So it's little surprise the injury bug followed the Bulldogs to Atlanta.

Forward Shane Power missed part of Wednesday's practice after twisting an ankle in the Georgia Dome. But Power, the Bulldogs' third-leading scorer (11.4), returned to practice and should play in today's first-round matchup against Georgia.

Bulldogs center Marcus Campbell remains questionable because of a strained calf muscle. The senior is the third Mississippi State starter to miss time with an injury after sitting out Saturday's regular-season finale at Alabama.

"To do what this team has done this season with all the injuries is amazing," said Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury. "We have won 20 or more games. I think our team stayed together and remained positive. We are used to competing for championships, so this is new to us this season.

"What this team has accomplished this season, I am proud of."

Familiar Foes
Ole Miss coach Rod Barnes kept his team on the road after Sunday's 76-70 loss at South Carolina in the regular-season finale.

Barnes believed the short trip from Columbia to Atlanta would benefit the Rebels more than flying home to Oxford, where Ole Miss would've practiced once before traveling to Atlanta.

"We've been here for a few days now, so we're comfortable with our schedule and how we feel the floor is going to play," Barnes said. "I think it helps us to be here for a few days because we've been together as a team. I don't know what it is, but when you can spend so much time together I think it's a great thing."

Barnes' team will meet South Carolina in the first round for the third time in four years when they open the SEC Tournament today at noon. The game also will mark the sixth time they've met here since 1994.

Legendary Status
Former Razorbacks center Scott Hastings will be honored at halftime of today's Arkansas-Tennessee game as one of 12 SEC Basketball Legends. The SEC has honored a legend from each school at the tournament the past seven seasons.

Hastings, who played at Arkansas from 1979-82, is fourth on the school's career scoring chart (1,779 points) and is seventh in rebounding (680). He helped the Hogs win four Southwest Conference titles and two SWC Tournaments during his career.

Buzz Worthy
Tennessee guard C.J. Watson gave an unintended response to a question about playing inspired basketball for embattled coach Buzz Peterson, who hasn't received a vote of confidence from athletic director Mike Hamilton about his future in Knoxville.

"I'm not really worried about Coach," Watson said, earning a laugh from the press and a smile and pat on the back from Peterson. "We're just trying to stay focused. We know he's going to be here."

Peterson will be for at least one more season if Lady Vols Hall of Fame coach Pat Summitt has anything to say about it. With six NCAA titles and one win less than Peterson's former North Carolina coach and all-time victories leader Dean Smith,'s 879 Summitt's opinion carries weight in Orange Country.

Tennessee (13-16, 6-10) has had a disappointing season after returning all its starters, but injuries and untimely nonconference losses have crippled the Vols' chances.

"Clearly, Buzz knows he still has to prove himself," Summitt said. "I understand that this is Mike Hamilton's decision, but I feel very strongly that Buzz is the person for the job and wanted everybody to know how I feel about it.

"I've thought about this for a long time. I wouldn't say it if I didn't believe in this man."

Peterson has also gotten a vote of confidence from Smith and said he is lucky to know such influential basketball figures.

"(Summitt) knows something about the game of basketball," Peterson said. "I want to figure out what she's doing. I've built that relationship with her.

"When trying times come for the Peterson family, how she stepped up ... All I did was I called her and said, 'I heard what you did. Thank you and I love you.'"


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