Calathes SEC's Best Freshman

Florida knew they were getting a good one when Lake Howell's Nick Calathes gave his pledge to Billy Donovan long before his high school career ended. But few if any expected the multi-talented 6-6 freshman to top all other first year players in the SEC.

Nick Calathes is the SEC Freshman of the Year, at least according to FightinGators.com. The Gator newcomer is on the verge of leading the SEC in assists, breaking UF's school record in the process. In addition to his 6.44 assist a game, Calathes is averaging 15.9 points and 5.2 rebounds making him one of only two players in the country averaging at least 16 points, five rebounds and six assists.

The numbers alone put Calathes at the head of the class, but the fact that he is doing so much for his team with little veteran help pushes his accomplishments into an even brighter spotlight. Calathes heads up one of the best five-man All-Freshman teams in recent memory. In fact, you could argue that the All-Freshman team would beat our All-SEC team that we'll be posting tomorrow.

Four other sensational rookies join Calathes on this year's squad.

Anthony Randolph, LSU --- The long, lanky LSU Tiger has been coming on strong the second half of the season and has established himself as the top SEC prospect for the NBA. The numbers are impressive (15.4/8.5). The 8.5 rebounds are third best in the SEC as are his 2.33 blocked shots a game. He's simply impossible to match up with and will be one of the top scorers in the conference if he returns. Some project him as a top ten pick if he comes out this year.

A.J. Ogilvy, Vanderbilt --- The talented Aussie was probably the SEC Freshman of the Year in the fall, but he's faded a bit down the stretch. He ended up with god numbers (16.7/6.8) which ranks him in the top ten in the league in both categories a do his 1.41 blocked shots a night. Ogilvy will try and help Vandy improve on their Sweet 16 appearance from a year ago when the NCAA Tournament gets underway.

Chris Warren, Ole Miss --- A year ago he and Calathes were the top two high school guards in greater Orlando. Now they're the top two back court newcomers in the SEC. Warren scores effectively (15.7), is fifth in assists (4.5) and plays better defense than most rookies. Warren's immediate impact was a big factor in the Rebels' 14-0 mark in their pre-SEC schedule.

Patrick Patterson, Kentucky --- He was Calathes' top competition for "freshman of the year" honors before a stress fracture ended his season early. Before that, Patterson was a force for Kentucky and a major factor in their success after a miserable 7-9 start. Patterson's stats (16.4/7.7) are even more impressive when you consider how little help he had inside for most of the season. I wish I had a dime for every time a Gator fan imagined what this season would have been like if Patterson had chosen the Gators instead of the Wildcats.

Questions or comments? Contact FightinGators.com's Larry Vettel


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