Caldwell-Pope, Donovan win top SEC honors

Caldwell-Pope, Donovan win top SEC honors

March 12th, 2013 by David Paschall in Sports - College

Georgia sophomore guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was named this morning by Southeastern Conference coaches as the league's player of the year.

Caldwell-Pope is second in the league in scoring (18.0 points per game) and third in steals (2.1), and he is among just 10 NCAA Division I players to score in double figures in every one of their team's games this season. The 6-foot-5, 205-pounder from Greenville, Ga., is the first UGA player to win the award from coaches since such balloting began in 1987.

The only other Georgia player to win the honor was Dominique Wilkins in 1981, with Wilkins being recognized by the Associated Press and the United Press International.

Florida's Billy Donovan was named coach of the year, with Kentucky forward Nerlens Noel earning top freshman. The 6-10 Noel suffered a season-ending knee injury Feb. 12, but not before tallying 106 blocked shots in 24 games, including a school single-game mark of 12 in a win at Ole Miss.

Tennessee junior guard Jordan McRae was named to the All-SEC first team, while Volunteers sophomore forward Jarnell Stokes was a second-team pick.

Pope has led Georgia in scoring 28 times, and he has averaged 5.4 points in the last five minutes of SEC games, when he has shot 65 percent from the field, 63 percent from 3-point range and 83 percent from the free-throw line. He had a combined 49 points in two meetings with Tennessee as the Bulldogs swept that season series for the first time since 2001.

The Bulldogs are 15-16 overall and 9-9 in SEC play, and they are the eighth seed in the league tournament that begins with two games Wednesday night.

Donovan has led the Gators to five outright or shared SEC regular-season titles, but this is just the second time he has won the league coaching honor. His first occurred in 2011.

For more information, read Wednesday's Times Free Press.