SEC media name Freije preseason Player of the Year

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.-- Vanderbilt senior forward Matt Freije was selected Southeastern Conference men's basketball preseason Player of the Year Wednesday by the writers and broadcasters in attendance for SEC Media Day. Vandy was also represented in the women's balloting, as senior forward Jenni Benningfield finished third in the voting for preseason Player of the Year.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.-- Vanderbilt senior forward Matt Freije was selected Southeastern Conference men's basketball preseason Player of the Year Wednesday by the writers and broadcasters in attendance for SEC Media Day. Vandy was also represented in the women's balloting, as senior forward Jenni Benningfield finished third in the voting for preseason Player of the Year.

Freije, the SEC's top returning scorer, averaged 17.9 points and 4.4 rebounds per game in 2002-03. Both Freije and Benningfield were also selected for their respective first-team All-SEC teams.

Freije and Benningfield were in Birmingham Wednesday along with representatives of all 12 SEC teams for Media Day. Vanderbilt's men's team was represented by Freije, senior guard Russell Lakey, and head coach Kevin Stallings. Benningfield, senior guard Hillary Hager and head coach Melanie Balcomb represented the women's team.

Asked bluntly if Freije was the best player in the league, Kevin Stallings said, "He is certainly capable of being [the best], and he is definitely one of [the best]. Will he be the best player every night? No. But our team will walk out on the floor knowing we've got someone on our team who's as good as anybody else."

The media picked the Vanderbilt men to finish fourth in the SEC East behind Kentucky, Florida and Tennessee. The Commodore women were selected fourth overall in the SEC behind Tennessee, LSU and Georgia.

To view the complete results of the preseason voting, click here.

Ed. note: VandyMania's Brent Wiseman and Whitney D. were present Wednesday for SEC Media Day. Look for a series of interviews and features from Media Day in coming days.


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