SEC Hoops 2013 Media Days: Day 1
By Baker Leyman
Welcome to the 2013 SEC Basketball Media Days! College basketball season is now less than a month away and the teams of the Southeastern Conference are gearing up for another competitive season. The series of press conferences known as “Media Days” is held at the Westin Hotel in downtown Birmingham. Media days will span over two days, October 16 and 17, and will cover every school in the conference and reporters will grill each coach, and the player they selected to bring, with questions about the upcoming season. So let’s dive right into it and get a quick review of all the teams that will be in Birmingham on day 1 of SEC Media Days
The Missouri Tigers had a successful first season in the SEC. Finishing 11-7 in the conference and 23-11 overall. They also were second in the nation in rebounding and 20th in scoring. Despite the successful season the Tigers were bounced from the NCAA tournament in the first round by the Colorado State Rams. Head coach Frank Haith will be accompanied by Senior Guard, Earnest Ross who averaged 10.3 points last season.
The Commodores of Vanderbilt had a down year after a great run over the past 5 years. They posted an 8-10 record in the SEC and were 16-17 on the season. The Dores have lost their top scorer from last season, Kedron Johnson, but Senior Forward Rod Odom will certainly have to answer questions this week on whether he can pick up the slack or not as he accompanies Coach Kevin Stallings.
Auburn continued to struggle on the basketball court in 2012 posting a 3-15 record in the SEC and 9-23 overall. The Tigers only shot 40% from the field and only averaged 64 points a game, which was good enough for 240th in the country. AU head coach Tony Barbee will bring Junior Forward Allen Payne with him to Media Days.
Ole Miss is coming off a surprising season and are the reigning SEC Tournament champions. The Rebels also made it into the second round of the NCAA Tournament before losing the La Salle. All last season, the story of the team was hot shooting and hot tempered Junior Guard Marshall Henderson who became notorious around the SEC for making 3’s and acting out. Henderson was suspended in July and will miss games but is practicing with the team. Without Henderson the Rebs will have to rely on Junior Guards Jarvis Summers and LaDarious White to score after losing most of the core of last years team. Coach Andy Kennedy is bringing Summers here to Media Days this year.
The Georgia Bulldogs got all they could get out of Freshman Kentavious-Caldwell-Pope. The first round draft pick led the Dogs in scoring, rebounding and steals in his lone season in Athens. UGA will now have to rely on more of a team effort to win games in 2013 since even with Caldwell-Pope they only managed a record of 15-17 and 9-9 in the SEC. Georgia Coach Mark Fox will bring Forward Nemanja Djuristic, the team’s second leading scorer last season, to Media Days. Djuristic commented today on how his good ball skills come from being a soccer goalie back in Montenegro and how its going to be tough but he believes he can help shoulder more of the scoring load this season
LSU turned in a fine season in 2012, posting a mark of 19-12 and 9-9 in the SEC. The Tigers have done an excellent job on the recruiting front this season signing 3 ESPN100 players including number 3 Power Forward Jarrell Martin. Head Coach Johnny Jones will bring star Forward Johnny O’Bryant to Media days after O’Bryant averaged 13 points and 8 rebounds for the Bayou Bengals.
Texas A&M had trouble finding its groove in the Aggies first season in the SEC. Gig’Em Nation went 7-11 in conference and 18-15 overall. They will have to replace leading scorer Elston Turner and Senior Point Guard Fabyon Harris will have to distribute and carry more of the scoring load. Head Coach Billy Kennedy will bring along Junior Forward Kourtney Roberson to Birmingham. Coach Kennedy described how he has a very young team, 6 new players, and how “some days they look better other days they look like High School players still.”
For the first time in John Calapari’s career as the University of Kentucky’s Head Coach, the Wildcats missed the NCAA Tournament. After losing star center Nerlens Noel to a torn ACL, the Wildcats stumbled into a first round NIT loss, but reloaded in the off season. Pulling in 6 McDonalds All-Americans and 3 players who were the top rated recruit at their position, Kentucky looks to be back to their winning ways. Kentucky Returns two of its star recruits from last year as well; Center Willie Cauley-Stein and Forward Alex Poythress, and they will try and add leadership to the young group of superstars. Coach Calapari will bring Poythress to Media days.
That’s all for day 1 of Media Days look for more tomorrow as Alabama, Florida, Arkansas, Mississippi State, South Carolina and Tennessee come to Birmingham to hype up their seasons.