Kentucky's Noel named SEC's top freshman, defensive player

March 12, 2013 

Even though his season ended prematurely because of a torn ACL, University of Kentucky big man Nerlens Noel was so productive in 2012-13 that Southeastern Conference coaches voted him the league's Freshman of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year on Tuesday.

Noel's teammate, sophomore Kyle Wiltjer, was voted the league's Sixth Man of the Year.

Noel was the only UK player named to the eight-man All-SEC first team. He also made the All-Defensive Team.

Noel and teammates Archie Goodwin, Alex Poythress and Willie Cauley-Stein made the All-Freshman Team.

Florida's Billy Donovan was voted Coach of the Year after leading the Gators to the regular-season SEC title. Georgia sophomore Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was named Player of the Year.

Noel averaged 10.5 points and 9.5 rebounds in 24 games before injuring his left knee in a game Feb. 12 at Florida. Noel was scheduled to have surgeryTuesday on the torn anterior cruciate ligament.

Noel had 106 blocked shots and 50 steals to become just the second player in UK history to amass 100 or more blocked shots in a season. His 50 steals were the fifth-most by a Kentucky freshman in a single season.

The Everett, Mass., native is the fifth Wildcat to earn SEC Freshman of the Year honors and the fourth consecutive honoree, joining Anthony Davis (2012), Terrence Jones (2011), DeMarcus Cousins (2010) and Patrick Patterson (2008). His honor as the Defensive Player of the Year is the third in school history. Davis (2012) and Chuck Hayes (2005) preceded him.

In winning the Sixth Man award, Wiltjer averaged 10.5 points and 4.3 rebounds. He's the second player in school history to win the award; Darius Miller did it last season.

LSU sophomore Anthony Hickey, Kentucky's 2011 Mr. Basketball from Christian County High School, was named to the SEC's All-Defensive Team.

ALL-SEC

FIRST TEAM

Trevor Releford Alabama G 6-1 Jr.

Erik Murphy Florida F/C 6-10 Sr.

K. Caldwell-Pope Georgia G 6-5 So.

Nerlens Noel Kentucky F 6-10 Fr.

Johnny O'Bryant III LSU F 6-9 So.

Phil Pressey Missouri G 5-11 Jr.

Jordan McRae Tennessee G 6-5 Jr.

Elston Turner Texas A&M G 6-5 Sr.

SECOND TEAM

Marshawn Powell Arkansas F 6-7 Jr.

BJ Young Arkansas G 6-3 So.

Kenny Boynton Florida G 6-2 Sr.

Mike Rosario Florida G 6-3 Sr.

Patric Young Florida C 6-9 Jr.

Marshall Henderson Mississippi G 6-2 Jr.

Murphy Holloway Mississippi F 6-7 Sr.

Laurence Bowers Missouri F 6-8 Sr.

Jarnell Stokes Tennessee F 6-8 So.

ALL-FRESHMAN TEAM

Michael Frazier II Florida G 6-4 Fr.

Charles Mann Georgia G 6-4 Fr.

Willie Cauley-Stein Kentucky F 7-0 Fr.

Archie Goodwin Kentucky G 6-4.5 Fr.

Nerlens Noel Kentucky F 6-10 Fr.

Alex Poythress Kentucky F 6-7 Fr.

Craig Sword Miss. State G 6-3 Fr.

Gavin Ware Miss. State F 6-9 Fr.

Michael Carrera So. Carolina F 6-5 Fr.

ALL-DEFENSIVE TEAM

Trevor Releford Alabama G 6-1 Jr.

Scottie Wilbekin Florida G 6-2 Jr.

Patric Young Florida C 6-9 Jr.

Nerlens Noel Kentucky F 6-10 Fr.

Anthony Hickey LSU G 5-11 So.

Reginald Buckner Mississippi F 6-9 Sr.

INDIVIDUAL AWARDS

Coach: Billy Donovan, Florida

Player: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia

Scholar-Athlete: Patric Young, Florida

Freshman: Nerlens Noel, Kentucky

Sixth Man: Kyle Wiltjer, Kentucky

Defensive player: Nerlens Noel, Kentucky

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