Ranking the Top 10 Basketball Players in the SEC
Ranking the Top Ten Basketball Players in the SEC
Every year the SEC consistently is one of the most talented leagues in the country. Players are recruited from all over the country to play in one of the top leagues. The number of potential stars recruited by the SEC continues to grow every year -- Tennessee has already signed two five star recruits for the 2013 season, adding to the many five star recruits already signed by Kentucky and Florida. Because of the recent string of SEC national champions, the SEC is becoming more appealing than many of the Big East schools that are normally the recipients of the best recruits. Many people assume the SEC is a two or three team league every year, and previously this has been the case. However, as the talent pool recruited by the SEC slowly gets stronger, so does the urgency at which the lower level SEC teams must recruit more talented players. This has created a league in which talented players want to be a member and compete, because players get the opportunity to test themselves against big name coaches and players. The SEC is such a strong league that for anyone familiar with the league it is very difficult to narrow the amount of talented players in the SEC down to ten (special thanks to Kentucky for throwing NBA talent unproven freshmen into the mix). However, for those unfamiliar with the talent in the SEC here’s a list of the ten players whose names you should know by the end of the season.
#10 Trevor Releford – Alabama
Trever Releford is Alabama’s premier returner. He’s averaged close to the same points (12 and 11), rebounds(3 and 3.3), steals (1.6, 2.0) and assists (2.8, 3.4) both his freshman and sophomore year in the SEC. Releford should be consistent again this year and will help aid Alabama in its quest to go to the NCAA tournament.
#9 Frankie Sullivan – Auburn
Hands down Auburn’s best player, Frankie Sullivan is returning to the SEC for a 5th season. The Guard averaged 14 points last year. Expect one of the most experienced players in the league to perform well and lead a young Auburn team to a few unexpected victories.
#8 Patric Young – Florida
Patric Young should be lower on this list; however, Young seemed to be inconsistent at times, which leads to his higher ranking. Young had flashes last year of being a top player in the SEC, but in games that mattered he tended to disappear (both losses to Tennessee in the regular season and the loss to Louisville in the Elite Eight). Hopefully he proves that last year was a fluke and comes out dominant in the SEC.
#7 Elston Turner - Texas A&M
Texas A&M’s first year in the SEC is going to be rough. The teams in the SEC are all around better than the teams in the Big 12 and Texas A&M will probably lose to a few underrated teams (like Auburn and Georgia). Elston Turner has played one year since his transfer from Washington and will be a decent player, but it will not be enough to keep Texas A&M near the top of the pack in the SEC.
#6 Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – Georgia
The Sophomore Guard is hands down the best player Georgia has and, more importantly, has the ability to make those he plays with better. He is a solid scorer and passer – a necessity for the Guard position and essential to his team. Caldwell-Pope could have a few 30+ point games this season and will most likely lead his team to an NCAA tournament berth.
#5 Michael Dixon, Jr. – Missouri
At the end of the season Missouri will be in the top four in the SEC, and one of their players will be an All-SEC caliber player - most likely Michael Dixon, Jr. He’s a very talented athlete and will most likely be at the next level. He’ll have a few breakout games, especially against some of the weaker teams in the SEC.
#4 Jarnell Stokes – Tennessee
The Sophomore Forward will end up being one of the best players in the country. He’s built like an NBA player and plays like one. Cuonzo Martin will have trained him hard all offseason, after Stokes arrived in January fresh out of graduating high school early. So expect him to be faster, stronger, and more ready for SEC play. Every SEC team should fear seeing number 5 in the paint.
#3 Phil Pressey - Missouri
Missouri point guard Phil Pressey leads the squad for head coach Frank Haith and with a plethora of newcomers and eligible transfers helping the rotation in 2012-13, the expectations are even higher. Pressey is widely being considered as an All-American candidate by many heading into the year.
#2 Nerlens Noel – Kentucky
Nerlens Noel is the only player on this list from Kentucky, not because Kentucky will not be talented, but because Kentucky has a whole new unproven roster. John Calipari will work his magic and make this team a national championship competitor like he always does, but until these players show out like his roster of freshmen last year, do not be impressed. They won a national championship last year because of talent AND experience; this year they are missing the latter. However, Noel will have an immediate impact on the SEC. He is no Anthony Davis on defense, but he will be a much more solid scorer.
#1 Kenny Boynton – Florida
Kenny Boynton has averaged over 14 points a game since his freshman year, consistently. He is without doubt the best player in the SEC. He is a great all around player and will probably be a top ten draft pick at the end of the year. For Florida, it is Final Four or bust; Boynton’s performance will be a huge part of that journey.