Alabama senior Herbert Jones named AP’s SEC player of year

{child_byline}By JOHN ZENOR

Associated Press{/child_byline}

Alabama senior Herbert Jones is The Associated Press player of the year in the Southeastern Conference, while the Crimson Tide’s Nate Oats is its coach of the year and Arkansas guard Moses Moody is the top newcomer.

Jones, who plays both guard and forward, earned five of the 14 votes for the league’s top individual honor to edge out Moody, who received four votes. Both were first-team All-SEC picks in teams announced Tuesday and voted on by journalists who cover the league.

Jones was a first-team pick on all but one ballot after dramatically improving his offense while remaining one of the league’s top defenders. He averages 10.9 points per game but is also ranked in the league’s top 10 in four categories.

Jones is fifth in assists (3.1 per game) and rebounding (6.1) while leading the league with 1.7 steals per game. His 27 blocked shots ranks 10th.

Jones also improved his 3-point shot significantly, making 20 of 44 (45.5%) so far this season. He was just 14 of 61 (23%) collectively in his first three years.

Oats led Alabama to its first SEC title in 19 years in just his second season. Alabama enters the league tournament with a 21-6 record and a 16-2 league mark.

Arkansas coach Eric Musselman got two votes.

Moody, a highly touted freshman, ranked third in the league in scoring at 17.5 points per game while also collecting an average of 5.7 rebounds. He’s also one of the SEC’s top 3-point shooters, making 51 of 132 (38.6%).

Moody and Jones are joined on the first team by LSU freshman guard Cameron Thomas, the league’s leading scorer, Vanderbilt guard Scotty Pippen Jr. and Tigers’ forward Trendon Watford. Thomas is averaging 23.1 points per game, followed by Pippen’s 20.6-point average. Watford is scoring 16.2 points per game while also averaging 7.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists.

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FIRST TEAM

Herb Jones, Alabama, 6-8, 210, Sr., Greensboro, Alabama; Moses Moody, Arkansas, 6-6, 205, Fr., Little Rock, Arkansas; Scotty Pippen Jr., Vanderbilt, 6-3, 170, So., Los Angeles; Cameron Thomas, LSU, 6-4, 210, Fr., Chesapeake, Va.; Trendon Watford, LSU, 6-9, 240, So., Birmingham, Alabama.

SECOND TEAM

Tre Mann, Florida, 6-5, 190, So., Gainesville, Florida; Sahvir Wheeler, Georgia, So., 5-10, 180, Houston; John Petty, Alabama, 6-5, 184, Sr., Huntsville, Alabama; Jeremiah Tilmon, Missouri, 6-10, 260, Sr., East St. Louis, Illinois; Dru Smith, Missouri, 6-3, 203, Sr., Evansville, Indiana.

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