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NCAA Basketball SEC Basketball

Top 5 SEC Player Of The Year Candidates

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Top Five SEC Player of the Year Candidates

Top Five SEC Player of the Year Candidates
Robert Mayer-USATODAY Sports

The Southeastern Conference will never be known as a basketball conference. The football in the SEC is so far advanced over the rest of the conferences that basketball has been forgotten. Granted, the basketball isn't just behind because of football's success. They have some issues, the main one being that there aren't enough good teams. Only Florida and Kentucky consistently have future pros on the roster. I mean, there is a reason why they only get three or four teams in the NCAA Tournament every season. The teams might not have the consistency that the NCAA Tournament Committee wants to see, but there are plenty of talented players in this conference.

The SEC has talent, and they have had it for years. The SEC has had a top-10 pick in the NBA draft every season since 2009, and has a total of nine top-10 picks in the past four drafts and another 10 that were selected in the first round. You can't argue with 19 first-round picks in four seasons. The talent is spread out across several teams, and maybe the coaching isn't up to par with the rest of the country, but the talented players are there in the SEC.

This season, there are about 10 players in the SEC that are on NBA draft boards. This conference might not be deep in teams, but it is deep in talented players. Kentucky has the a quintet of five-star recruits, Florida has Casey Prather and Patric Young, Tennessee has Jordan McRae and Jarnell Stokes, and then there are newcomers like Jordan Clarkson, and upperclassmen that are great college players such as Trevor Releford and Marshall Henderson.

It has been an entertaining season for SEC basketball thus far, and with all the players that are in the league this season, the remainder of this season and the SEC Tournament will be exciting.

Follow Robbie on Twitter @rmarbury

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5. Jordan Clarkson

5. Jordan Clarkson
Dak Dillon-USATODAY Sports

Clarkson had to sit out last season as part of the NCAA's transfer rules, but Missouri will tell you he was worth the wait. He has had to step in for former point guard Phil Pressey to lead Missouri's fast-paced offense, and he has done so very admirably. Clarkson leads the Tigers in scoring and assists this season, and he will lead the Tigers to another NCAA Tournament in a year when they were not expected to make it in.

Bottom line: 23.9 PER, 18.9 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 3.9 APG.

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4. Jordan McRae

4. Jordan McRae
Randy Sartin-USATODAY Sports

McRae is the most important player on Tennessee. They go as he goes, and sometimes they even fall behind him. McRae gives his all every night. He is a long, athletic wing that can shoot, rebound, pass and defend. To use a baseball term, McRae is a five-tool player. If the Volunteers are to make their first NCAA Tournament since Bruce Pearl left, they will do so on the back of McRae, who leads them in points, assists and blocks.

Bottom line: 26.7 PER, 18.4 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 2.9 APG, 1.1 BLKPG.

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3. Trevor Releford

3. Trevor Releford
Kelly Lambert-USATODAY Sports

Releford has been the one consistent player for Alabama in each of the past two seasons, and he is also one of the best scoring guards and on-the-ball defenders in the country. Releford is on the smaller side, but that does not prevent him from being an excellent defender, and he has amazing speed that allows him to get in the lane. He also has a great touch from the outside if defenders try to cheat off of him to negate his speed. There are few players that can guard Releford, and even fewer that he is unable to defend. Things are still a little shaky for Alabama, but Releford is definitely a bright spot.

Bottom line: 27.7 PER, 18.9 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 2.5 APG, 2.5 STLPG, 41.1 3PT%.

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2. Julius Randle

2. Julius Randle
Jamie Rhodes-USATODAY Sports

Randle will be the best player as far as NBA talent goes, but he is still young and you can see that in his game. But what he lacks in focus and maturity, he more than makes up for it with god-given talent. Randle is a beast on the low-block, he faces defenders up and take them off the dribble, and he rebounds at one of the best rates in the country. 

Bottom line: 26.8 PER, 16.9 PPG, 11.1 RPG. 53.4 FG%.

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1. Casey Prather

1. Casey Prather
David Butler II-USATODAY Sports

Prather came to Florida without much fanfare, but he has improved each season with the Gators and is now their most important player. Prather does a little bit of everything for Florida, and loves to mix things up in the paint. He is a versatile player that can play inside and out, and is a plus defender as well. Florida has been the best team in the SEC thus far, and Prather has been the best player in the conference.

Bottom line: 28.8 PER, 17.0 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 2.1 APG, 62.4 FG%.