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Kentucky nearly sweeps SEC awards

Kentucky dominated the Southeastern Conference regular season with a six-game cushion in the league standings and the conference’s first undefeated record since 2003. Consider it no surprise then that the Wildcats dominated the SEC’s annual awards on Tuesday.

Headlining a near sweep of the conference’s major awards, freshman forward Anthony Davis was named SEC Player of the Year by the league’s coaches just a couple hours after Sporting News named him its National Player of the Year.

Kentucky won five of the SEC’s six major awards. John Calipari won SEC Coach of the Year for the first time, Darius Miller was tabbed the Sixth Man of the Year, and Davis was named Freshman of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, in addition to his Player of the Year honors. Florida’s Patric Young prevented the Kentucky sweep by winning SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

The five SEC awards are a school record.

“I’m happy for all the kids,” Coach Cal said Tuesday. “They deserve all the accolades, but I will remind them it really means nothing. Let’s move on to the next part of our season.”

Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist were named first-team All-SEC, Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb were tabbed second-team All-SEC , and Davis and Kidd-Gilchrist were selected for both the All-Freshman Team and the All-Defensive Team.

“It’s an honor for all of us,” Kidd-Gilchrist said. “It’s a dream come true for all of us.”

Davis, the nation’s leading shot blocker, owns the school and conference freshman records for most blocks in a season with 146. He notched 14 double-double efforts while averaging a team-high 14.4 points and 9.8 rebounds for the Wildcats.

The 6-foot-10 freshman is the first UK player to earn SEC Player of the Year honors since John Wall in 2010. He is just the third freshman to earn Player of the Year honors in league history, joining Wall (2010) and Chris Jackson (1989).

Anthony Davis is off to a good start to the awards season, as he's already won SEC Player of the Year and Sporting News National Player of the year. (photo by Britney McIntosh, UK Athletics)

Also, Davis is the fourth Wildcat to earn SEC Freshman of the Year honors and the third consecutive, joining current teammate Terrence Jones (2011) and former Wildcats DeMarcus Cousins (2010) and Patrick Patterson (2008). His honor as the top defensive player is the first for UK since Chuck Hayes in 2005.

Davis was not available during a media opportunity with some of the team Tuesday because a death in his family. He is expected to return to Lexington on Wednesday in time for the team’s departure to the SEC Tournament in New Orleans.

Calipari led the Wildcats to a perfect 16-0 record in league play, the third time a team has achieved SEC perfection since the 1956 Alabama team went 14-0. By defeating Florida on Sunday, the 2011-12 UK team became the first squad in school history to notch 30 wins before the postseason. It also marked Coach Cal’s eighth 30-win season.

The Cats held opponents to a nation-best 36.5 field-goal percentage and set a new single-season record for blocks with 278 rejections under Calipari’s watch.

“I feel like he’s done a great job,” Miller said. “I feel like all of us have gotten better. That’s compliments to him. I don’t think it would be easy to get a group of these guys, especially as talented as the young guys are, to get them to come together and all focus on winning. We all bought into the system, which is him and the rest of the coaching staff. I really think he deserves it.”

Miller captured SEC Sixth Man of the Year honors after becoming the 58th member of Kentucky’s 1,000-point club and averaging 10.0 points and 2.1 assists per outing in his final regular-season campaign. He is the first Wildcat player to earn the honor in school history.

“I’m just happy to be a part of something like that,” Miller said. “I’m grateful to be named Sixth Man of the Year in the SEC. I feel like there’s a lot of respectable coaches in this league, there’s a lot of respectable players, so for me to be named that, it means a lot to me.”

Kidd-Gilchrist joined Davis on the All-SEC first team, Freshman Team and Defensive Team. Kidd-Gilchrist averaged 11.9 points and 7.8 rebounds per game while also being matched up on the opponent’s top offensive threat.

Jones and Lamb were All-SEC second-team selections to cap off the awards for the Wildcats. Jones averaged 12.3 points and 6.8 rebounds as a sophomore. Lamb was responsible for 13.3 points and a team-high 84.0 free-throw percentage.

All-SEC First Team

Bradley Beal, Florida – G, 6-3, 207, Fr., St. Louis, Mo.
Kenny Boynton, Florida – G, 6-2, 189, Jr., Pompano Beach, Fla.
Anthony Davis, Kentucky – F, 6-10, 220, Fr., Chicago, Ill.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky – F, 6-7, 232, Fr., Somerdale, N.J.
Dee Bost, Mississippi State – G, 6-2, 176, Sr., Concord, N.C.
Arnett Moultrie, Mississippi State – F, 6-11, 249, Jr., Memphis, Tenn.
John Jenkins, Vanderbilt – G, 6-4, 215, Jr., Hendersonville, Tenn.
Jeffery Taylor, Vanderbilt – F, 6-7, 225, Sr., Norkopping, Sweden

All-SEC Second Team

JaMychal Green, Alabama – F, 6-8, 228, Sr., Montgomery, Ala.
^Trevor Releford, Alabama – G, 6-1, 180, So., Kansas City, Mo.
BJ Young, Arkansas – G, 6-3, 175, Fr., St. Louis, Mo.
Erving Walker, Florida – G, 5-8, 177, Sr., Brooklyn, N.Y.
Terrence Jones, Kentucky – F, 6-9, 252, So., Portland, Ore.
Doron Lamb, Kentucky – G, 6-4, 210, So., Queens, N.Y.
Justin Hamilton, LSU – C, 7-0, 260, Jr., Alpine, Utah
^Terrance Henry, Ole Miss – F, 6-9, 210, Sr., Monroe, La.
Jeronne Maymon, Tennessee – F, 6-7, 265, Jr., Madison, Wis.

SEC All-Freshman Team

BJ Young, Arkansas – G, 6-3, 175, Fr., St. Louis, Mo.
Bradley Beal, Florida – G, 6-3, 207, Fr., St. Louis, Mo.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia – G, 6-5, 200, Fr., Greenville, Ga.
Anthony Davis, Kentucky – F, 6-10, 220, Fr., Chicago, Ill.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky – F, 6-7, 232, Fr., Somerdale, N.J.
Anthony Hickey, LSU – G, 5-11, 182, Fr., Hopkinsville, Ky.
Rodney Hood, Mississippi State – G, 6-8, 204, Fr., Meridian, Miss.
Jarnell Stokes, Tennessee – F, 6-8, 250, Fr., Memphis, Tenn.

SEC All-Defensive Team

Anthony Davis, Kentucky – F, 6-10, 220, Fr., Chicago, Ill.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky – F, 6-7, 232, Fr., Somerdale, N.J.
Reginald Buckner, Ole Miss – F, 6-9, 225, Jr., Memphis, Tenn.
Damontre Harris, South Carolina – F, 6-9, 214, So., Fayetteville, N.C.
Jeffery Taylor, Vanderbilt – F, 6-7, Sr., 225, Norrkoping, Sweden

SEC Coach of the Year:?John Calipari, Kentucky
SEC Player of the Year:?Anthony Davis, Kentucky
SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year:?Patric Young, Florida
SEC Freshman of the Year:?Anthony Davis, Kentucky
SEC Sixth-Man of the Year: Darius Miller, Kentucky
SEC Defensive Player of the Year:?Anthony Davis, Kentucky

^-Ties are not broken