Ole Miss and Mississippi State reeled in two of the top individual honors in the Southeastern Conference Tuesday when the league coaches announced their All-SEC team.
Ole Miss guard Terrico White was named the SEC Freshman of the Year, and Mississippi State center Jarvis Varnado was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Year.
LSU coach Trent Johnson was named coach of the year, and Tigers guard Marcus Thornton was named player of the year.
The SEC Tournament begins Thursday in Tampa, Fla. Ole Miss faces Kentucky at noon in the tournament’s opening game. Mississippi State follows at 2:15 against Georgia.
In addition to individual awards, the coaches selected a first and second team, a defensive team and a freshman team.
Varnado was selected to the All-SEC first team, as well as the defensive team.
White and Rebels junior guard David Huertas were named to the All-SEC second team.
Mississippi State point guard Dee Bost was also a unanimous selection to the all-freshman team. He ranks fourth in the SEC in assists at 4.35 per game and 10th in steals at 1.45 per game.
White exploded onto the scene in conference play after the Rebels’ dependence on his scoring ability changed dramatically following a season-ending injury to sophomore point guard Chris Warren. White took over the point guard position and excelled, though he had no previous experience at the point.
Against SEC competition, White tied for the fourth spot in the scoring category with 18.4 points a game, easily the best figure among freshmen. He posted eight 20-point games in SEC play – including the last four – and was a three-time winner of the freshman of the week award.
Huertas ranked among the top five SEC scorers all season and heads to the tournament averaging 18.2 points a game.
Limited by a bruised foot, he played only a half in Saturday’s 82-80 loss to Mississippi State, and his status for the tournament is unclear.
White was a unanimous choice for the all-freshman team, though not a unanimous choice for the freshman of the year honor.
Varnado, a member of the all-defensive team, collected the top defensive player honor for a second straight season.
He leads the nation in blocked shots at 4.6 per game and is 15 blocks shy of breaking the single-season SEC record of 157. The record was set in 1992 by LSU’s Shaquille O’Neal, and Varnado tied it last year.
Parrish Alford/Daily Journal