Kentucky's Monk picked as AP's SEC player, newcomer of year
ATLANTA (AP) Kentucky freshman Malik Monk was picked as both player and newcomer of the year, while Florida's Mike White claimed the coaching award on the All-Southeastern Conference men's basketball team announced Tuesday by The Associated Press.
Monk, a 6-foot-3, guard, is leading the SEC in scoring at 21.2 points a game. The latest stellar freshman for the Wildcats , he burst to national prominence in his 11th college game when he scored 47 points to lead the Wildcats past North Carolina 103-100 in Las Vegas.
Monk edged South Carolina senior guard Sindarius Thornwell for player of the year and was an overwhelming choice as the top newcomer.
In his second year filling the big shoes of Billy Donovan, White beat out Kentucky's John Calipari for coach of the year after guiding the No. 12 Gators to a 24-7 mark, including 14-4 in the SEC.
Monk made eight 3-pointers in his breakout game against North Carolina, the last with 16.7 seconds remaining to put Kentucky up for good. He set a school record for scoring by a freshman with the Wildcats' best individual performance since Jodie Meeks scored 54 at Tennessee in 2009.
But Monk was far from a one-game wonder. He scored 37 points in an overtime victory over Georgia, put up 34 on Ole Miss and had 33 in a victory over Florida . In addition, he had at least 20 points in 13 other games, leading the No. 9 Wildcats (26-5, 16-2 SEC) to the league's regular-season title and top seed in the conference tournament , which begins Wednesday in Nashville.
Thornwell bounced back from a six-game suspension in December for what was termed a violation of athletic department policy. The school never specified the nature of his offense or whether it was related to an arrest last spring on charges of possession of marijuana and driving with a suspended license.
The Gamecocks went 3-3 during his absence, a slump that motivated Thornwell when he returned to the court for the start of SEC play . He has averaged a career-best 21.2 points a game, just a fraction behind Monk on the league scoring list , while topping the SEC in steals (2.2) and ranking sixth in rebounding (7.3).
Monk and Thornwell were unanimous choices to the first team, which also included another Kentucky freshman, guard De'Aaron Fox, along with a pair of seniors, Georgia guard J.J. Frazier and Mississippi forward Sebastian Saiz.
The 2017 AP All-SEC team, with name, school, position, height, weight, class and hometown (u-denotes unanimous selections):
u-Malik Monk, Kentucky, G, 6-3, 200, Fr., Lepanto, Arkansas
u-Sindarius Thornwell, South Carolina, G, 6-5, 211, Sr., Lancaster, South Carolina
J.J. Frazier, Georgia, G, 5-10, 155, Sr., Glennville, Georgia
De'Aaron Fox, Kentucky, G, 6-3, 187, Fr., Houston, Texas
Sebastian Saiz, Mississippi, F, 6-9, 240, Sr., Madrid, Spain
KeVaughn Allen, Florida, G, 6-2, 183, Fr., Little Rock, Arkansas
Moses Kingsley, Arkansas, F, 6-10, 230, Sr., Abuja, Nigeria
Yante Maten, Georgia, F, 6-8, 240, Jr., Pontiac, Michigan
Robert Williams, Texas A&M, F, 6-9, 237, Fr., Oil City, Louisiana
Bam Adebayo, Kentucky, F, 6-10, 260, Fr., Little Washington, North Carolina
Player of the Year - Malik Monk, Kentucky
Coach of the Year - Mike White, Florida
Newcomer of Year - Malik Monk, Kentucky
AP All-SEC Voting Panel:
Kevin Brockway, Gainesville Sun (Florida); Jason Butt, The Macon Telegraph (Georgia); David Cloninger, The State (Columbia, South Carolina); Justin Ferguson, SEC Country (Alabama); Bob Holt, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; Cecil Hurt, Tuscaloosa News (Alabama); Hugh Kellenberger, Jackson Clarion-Ledger (Mississippi); Joe Leadingham, WKRN-TV (Nashville, Tennessee); Andrew Lopez, NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune (Louisiana); Patrick Murray, WBIR-TV (Knoxville, Tennessee); Davis Potter, The Oxford Eagle (Mississippi); Jerry Tipton, Lexington Herald-Leader (Kentucky); Joe Walljasper, Columbia Daily Tribune (Missouri); Brent Zwerneman, Houston Chronicle (Texas)
Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963 . His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/paul-newberry .
For more AP college basketball coverage: http://collegebasketball.ap.org