SEC hoops: Florida's Blackshear named preseason player of year

Media Day previews new stars, familiar favorites, NCAA concerns

AP
October 16, 2019 - 8:23 am

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — The Southeastern Conference has a new wave of highly rated recruits to replace departed stars, Kentucky remains the favorite and two programs could be in the NCAA crosshairs.

Those are among the storylines for SEC men's basketball media day held Wednesday in Birmingham.

Among those taking the podium are LSU coach Will Wade and Auburn's Bruce Pearl. Both programs are coming off terrific seasons but also were among those caught up in a federal investigation into corruption in and around college basketball.

Auburn has said it expects to receive a notice of allegations from the NCAA, as North Carolina State and Kansas already have.

On the court, Kentucky is once again the favorite to win the Southeastern Conference men's basketball title and Florida forward Kerry Blackshear is the preseason pick as player of the year.

It's the ninth consecutive year the Wildcats are picked to win the league and 15th time since the 1998-99 season. The predictions announced Tuesday were made in voting by SEC and national media members.

Blackshear is a graduate transfer who helped lead Virginia Tech to back to back NCAA Tournament appearances. He averaged 11.2 points and 6.0 rebounds per game in 103 games for the Hokies.

The first-team All-SEC picks were Blackshear, Georgia freshman Anthony Edwards, Kentucky's Ashton Hagans, Mississippi's Breein Tyree and Mississippi State's Reggie Perry.

Kentucky also had a pair of second-team preseason All-SEC picks, Tyrese Maxey and EJ Montgomery.

Florida was picked to finish second, followed by LSU, Final Four participant Auburn and Tennessee.

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