ATLANTA – Kentucky freshman Malik Monk was picked as both player and newcomer of the year, while Florida's Mike White claimed the coaching award on the All-Southeastern Conference men's basketball team announced Tuesday by The Associated Press.
Monk, a 6-foot-3, guard, is leading the SEC in scoring at 21.2 points a game. The latest stellar freshman for the Wildcats, he burst to national prominence in his 11th college game when he scored 47 points to lead the Wildcats past North Carolina 103-100 in Las Vegas.
Monk edged South Carolina senior guard Sindarius Thornwell for player of the year and was an overwhelming choice as the top newcomer.
In his second year filling the big shoes of Billy Donovan, White beat out Kentucky's John Calipari for coach of the year after guiding the No. 12 Gators to a 24-7 mark, including 14-4 in the SEC.
Monk made eight 3-pointers in his breakout game against North Carolina, the last with 16.7 seconds remaining to put Kentucky up for good. He set a school record for scoring by a freshman with the Wildcats' best individual performance since Jodie Meeks scored 54 at Tennessee in 2009.
But Monk was far from a one-game wonder. He scored 37 points in an overtime victory over Georgia, put up 34 on Ole Miss and had 33 in a victory over Florida . In addition, he had at least 20 points in 13 other games, leading the No. 9 Wildcats (26-5, 16-2 SEC) to the league's regular-season title and top seed in the conference tournament, which begins Wednesday in Nashville.
Thornwell bounced back from a six-game suspension in December for what was termed a violation of athletic department policy. The school never specified the nature of his offense or whether it was related to an arrest last spring on charges of possession of marijuana and driving with a suspended license.
The Gamecocks went 3-3 during his absence, a slump that motivated Thornwell when he returned to the court for the start of SEC play. He has averaged a career-best 21.2 points a game, just a fraction behind Monk on the league scoring list , while topping the SEC in steals (2.2) and ranking sixth in rebounding (7.3).
Monk and Thornwell were unanimous choices to the first team, which also included another Kentucky freshman, guard De'Aaron Fox, along with a pair of seniors, Georgia guard J.J. Frazier and Mississippi forward Sebastian Saiz.
COACHES PICKS: Southeastern Conference coaches named South Carolina's Sindarius Thornwell the league's player of the year.
Coaches also picked Florida's Mike White as coach of the year in awards announced Tuesday by the SEC.
Vanderbilt's Luke Kornet is the SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Kentucky's Malik Monk is freshman of the year and Florida's Canyon Barry is the top sixth man. Texas A&M's Robert Williams is the league's defensive player of the year.
Thornwell, Kornet and Monk were joined as first-team All-SEC picks by Florida's KeVaughn Allen, Georgia's J.J. Frazier and Yante Maten, Kentucky's De'Aaron Fox and Mississippi's Sebastian Saiz.
Voting ties were not broken.
Thornwell and Monk tied for the league lead in scoring at 21.2 points per game. The Gamecocks star also leads the SEC in steals.