Tennessee's Dalton Knecht named AP's SEC player of year; South Carolina's Paris is coach of year

Tue, Mar 12, 2024

Tennessee's Dalton Knecht named AP's SEC player of year; South Carolina's Paris is coach of year

Tennessee forward Dalton Knecht, a transfer who helped lead the fifth-ranked Volunteers to a Southeastern Conference regular-season championship, is the league's Associated Press player of the year and newcomer of the year.

South Carolina's Lamont Paris was named coach of the year in voting by 14 reporters covering the SEC released on Tuesday. Knecht and Auburn forward Johni Broome were both unanimous first-team picks.

Knecht led the league in scoring at 21.4 points a game, shot 40.5% from 3-point range and averaged 4.8 rebounds. The fifth-year Northern Colorado transfer didn't miss a beat after leading the Big Sky Conference in scoring last season. In fact, he raised his average from 20.2 points and helped Tennessee emerge from a pack of contenders late in the season.

"It is crazy. I mean that is wild to think about that," Knecht said of actually scoring more upon entering the SEC. "You play with one of the best point guards in the nation and center in Jonas (Aidoo) and Z (Zakei Zeigler) so they make it a lot easier for me to just go out and just go hoop."

The Vols won their first outright SEC championship since 2008.

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The 6-foot-6 Knecht led the nation with five 35-points-plus performances. His 25.5-point scoring average in SEC games is the most since South Carolina's Devan Downey averaged 26.2 in 2009-10. He has five of the league's top nine scoring performances this season.

Paris led a remarkable turnaround in his second season with the 15th-ranked Gamecocks, who went 25-6 after an 11-win debut season. South Carolina was picked to finish last in the SEC but wound up as the No. 5 seed in this week's SEC Tournament.

The Vols' Rick Barnes also got a nod as coach of the year. Kentucky's Reed Sheppard, Mississippi State's Josh Hubbard and Florida's Tyrese Samuel each got votes as top newcomer, for either a freshman or transfer. Alabama guard Mark Sears, who battled Knecht for the league scoring title, received a vote as player of the year.


Guard - Antonio Reeves, Kentucky, 5th year, 6-6, 195, Chicago.

Guard - Mark Sears, Alabama, Sr., 6-1, 185, Muscle Shoals, Alabama.

u-Guard - Dalton Knecht, Tennessee, 5th year, 6-6, 213, Thornton, Colorado.

Forward - Johni Broome, Auburn, Jr., 6-10, 240, Plant City, Florida.

t-Forward - Tolu Smith, Mississippi State, grad, 6-11, 245, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.

t-Forward - Jonas Aidoo, Tennessee, Jr., 6-11, 240, Durham, North Carolina.

t-tied for first team.


Guard - Wade Taylor IV, Texas A&M, Jr. 6-0, 175, Dallas.

Guard - Reed Sheppard, Kentucky, Fr., 6-3, 187, London, Kentucky.

Guard - Zakai Ziegler, Tennessee, Jr., 5-9, 171, Long Island, New York.

Forward - Jaylin Williams, Auburn, grad, 6-8, 245, Nahunta, Georgia.

Forward - Tyrese Samuel, Florida, grad, 6-10, 239, Montreal.


Coach of the year - Lamont Paris, South Carolina.

u-Player of the year - Dalton Knecht, Tennessee.

Newcomer of the year - Dalton Knecht, Tennessee.

u-denotes unanimous pick.


AP All-SEC Voting Panel: Nick Alvarez, al.com; Rick Bozich, WDRB-TV; Kevin Brockway, Gainesville Sun; Travis Brown, Bryan-College Station Eagle; Adam Cole, Opelika-Auburn News; Madison Hricik, The State; Brian Holland, WVLA-TV, WGMB-TV; Bob Holt, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; Michael Katz, Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal; Blair Kerkhoff, Kansas City Star; Stefan Krajisnik, Clarion-Ledger; Lauren Walsh, WSMV-TV; Marc Weiszer, Athens Banner-Herald; Mike Wilson, Knoxville News Sentinel.

___ AP Sports Writer Teresa Walker contributed to this report.


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