Tennessee’s Rick Barnes was named the SEC Coach of the Year on Tuesday and star forward Grant Williams earned player of the year honors.
Barnes led the Vols, who were picked thirteenth in the SEC in a preseason poll, to a #2 seed in the SEC tournament. The Vols are projected to be a #3 seed in the NCAA tournament.
Barnes’ SEC Coach of the Year award marks just the ninth time the honor has gone to Tennessee’s head coach. He has now received six career conference Coach of the Year honors, four Big 12 awards as Texas’ head coach and one Colonial Association award with George Mason.
Williams, a sophomore, led the Vols in scoring and has started each of the Vols last 58 games, the longest streak on the team. Williams also earned first-team All-SEC honors. Williams joins Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Bernard King as the only Vols to earn that distinction as underclassmen.
Tennessee’s Admiral Schofield was named to the second-team All-SEC. In conference play, Schofield led the Vols in minutes played (30.4 mpg) and rebounding (6.7 rpg) while ranking second on the squad in scoring (13.7 ppg). He scored in double figures in 15 of UT’s 18 SEC contests, including five 20-point performances.
Meanwhile, Lamonte Turner was named the co-Sixth Man of the Year, along with Jontay Porter of Missouri. Turner is the team’s third-leading scorer both overall (10.6 ppg) and in SEC play (11.4 ppg), and he has held or shared the team lead in scoring eight times this season. Turner had a pair of 25-point performances in SEC play (vs. Auburn and at South Carolina).
Barnes was also named District IV Coach of the Year by the United States Basketball Writers Association. Grant Williams was named as a member of the 10-man All-District IV team. District IV includes schools in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee.
The Vols travel to St. Louis, Missouri to take on the winner of LSU and Mississippi State in the quarterfinals of the SEC tournament on Friday. The game begins at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on the SEC Network.