Please keep in mind we operate under two premises.
First, we insist on choosing a team. We are not going to have an All-SEC team with seven guards and a center. We chose a team that we honestly think could go out and play and win. Second, the stats we refer to are based on their performances in SEC play only. Overall season stats are slanted by the wide variety of non-conference schedules played by SEC teams, especially this year.
Marcus Thornton, LSU --- Our SEC Player of the Year had a superb season leading the Tigers to the SEC Championship. His 22.7 points a game is second best in the league and he adds six rebounds and 1.6 steals as well. He's also a very good defender.
Jodie Meeks, Kentucky --- Finished one point shy of averaging exactly 25 a game and did so as part of what was in essence a two-man team. Meeks led the SEC in three-point shooting percentage (.393) and free throw percentage (.895). Meeks has become one of the best "2" guards in the country.
Nick Calathes, Florida --- Florida's top gun leads the SEC in assists (6.1) for the second year in a row. He is also fourth in the SEC in scoring (18.4), 19th in rebounding (5.9) and second in steals (1.9).
Tasmin Mitchell, LSU --- This strong forward was a horse for the SEC Champs. Mitchell is one of two players in the conference to finish in the top 10 in scoring (18.4) and rebounding (8.1). Like Thornton he excelled on the defensive end as well. Mitchell could return to Baton Rouge as a fifth year senior. Time will tell if he does.
Patrick Patterson, Kentucky --- Patterson is the other guy in the top 10 in scoring and rebounding (17.2/8.6). This season for Kentucky has basically been Meeks and Patterson who combined for almost 60 percent of the Wildcats scoring. Additionally, Patterson tied for third in the conference with 2.0 blocked shots a game.
Devan Downey, South Carolina --- Carolina's cat-quick guard is third in the SEC in scoring (19.9) and assists (4.7) and his 2.9 steals are by far the most in the league. Downey rallied the Gamecocks to crucial wins over Florida and Kentucky that let Carolina tie for the SEC East title.
Jarvis Varnado, Mississippi State --- The human shot blocking machine rejected 61 shots in SEC action, but also grabbed 8.2 rebounds and improved his offensive play (13.1). State played four guards around Varnado most of the time, making his stats all the more important and meaningful.
Okay, that's seven that I think everyone would agree with, but number eight was tougher. Arkansas forward Michael Washington clearly has the best numbers of the rest (13.6/8.9) but not much of it made a difference for the 2-14 Hogs. Terrico White of Ole Miss is the highest scoring player not in the top seven choices (18.4), but he's a freshman and doesn't show up in any other category. So I'm going with the most talented player whose numbers don't seem to be good enough in part because his team is so deep.
Tyler Smith, Tennessee --- Smith has nice numbers (17.2/5.8) but he does a lot of other things for the boys from Rocky Top. He is also 9th in assists and fifth in assist/turnover ratio (1.6).
Maybe the SEC is down, maybe America is too, but these eight guys are pretty damn good.
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