3 Vols earn SEC awards ahead of conference tournament

Orange and White Nation

Florida’s Tyree Appleby (22) goes to the basket against Tennessee’s Jaden Springer (11) and Yves Pons (35) during an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, March 7, 2021, in Knoxville, Tenn. (Randy Sartin/Pool Photo via AP)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Senior Yves Pons and freshmen Keon Johnson and Jaden Springer were honored Tuesday by Southeastern Conference coaches for their play this year.

Pons was named to the SEC All-Defensive Team for the second year in a row while Johnson and Springer were named to the SEC All-Freshman Team.

Pons averaged 1.6 blocks per game this season, fifth best average in the conference. His 126 career blocks ranks him No. 10 all-time in Tennessee history.

He also tallied 16 steals this season and was second on the team with nine charges drawn.

Pons is the second Tennessee player to be named to the SEC All-Defensive Team twice. The first to earn the honor twice was Josh Richardson, 2014-15. Richardson currently plays for the Dallas Mavericks.

Keon Johnson and Jaden Springer were the only two teammates to land on the All-Freshman Team. The two led the Vols in scoring during conference play with Springer averaging 12.7 points per game and Johnson close behind with 12.1 ppg.

Springer also led the Vols in assists per game, 3.3. He shot better than 46% from the field, 40% from 3-point range and 80% at the free-throw line. He had five 20-point games against SEC teams, including 30 against Georgia.  

Johnson’s 2.6 assists per game ranked second on the squad during SEC play. He added 15 steals and shot 45.3% from the field. Defensively, Johnson led the Vols in charges drawn, 11.

The Shelbyville, Tennessee, native had a pair of 20-point efforts during SEC play, including the 27-point performance against Kentucky in Rupp Arena.

The Volunteers are the No. 4 seed in the SEC Tournament beginning Wednesday in Nashville. The Vols earned a double-bye and their first game will be at 2:30 p.m. Friday, March 12 in the quarterfinals against Florida, Vanderbilt or Texas A&M. The game will be televised on ESPN.

2021 SEC men’s basketball postseason awards:

First Team All-SEC
Herbert Jones, Alabama
John Petty Jr., Alabama
Moses Moody, Arkansas
Tre Mann, Florida
Cameron Thomas, LSU
Devontae Shuler, Ole Miss
Dru Smith, Missouri
Scotty Pippen Jr., Vanderbilt

Second Team All-SEC
Jaden Shackelford, Alabama
Colin Castleton, Florida
Sahvir Wheeler, Georgia
Javonte Smart, LSU
Trendon Watford, LSU
D.J. Stewart Jr., Mississippi State
Jeremiah Tilmon, Missouri
AJ Lawson, South Carolina

All-Freshman Team
Joshua Primo, Alabama
Moses Moody, Arkansas
Sharife Cooper, Auburn
KD Johnson, Georgia
Isaiah Jackson, Kentucky
Cameron Thomas, LSU
Keon Johnson, Tennessee
Jaden Springer, Tennessee

All-Defensive Team
Herbert Jones, Alabama
Isaiah Jackson, Kentucky
Abdul Ado, Mississippi State
Dru Smith, Missouri
Yves Pons, Tennessee

Coach of the Year: Nate Oats, Alabama
Player of the Year: Herbert Jones, Alabama
Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Dylan Disu, Vanderbilt
Freshman of the Year: Moses Moody, Arkansas
Sixth-Man of the Year: JD Notae, Arkansas
Defensive Player of the Year: Herbert Jones, Alabama

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