After finishing with a 23-7 record and winning their first regular season SEC Championship in a decade, the Volunteers received more good news on Tuesday. Head coach Rick Barnes received SEC Coach of the Year, while forward Grant Williams (SEC Player of the Year) and guard Lamonte Turner (Co-SEC Sixth Man of the Year) also brought in hardware.
Media picked Barnes and Tennessee to finish 13th in the SEC in the preseason. The Vols finished the year with a 13-5 conference record and a co-conference Championship. Under Barnes, the Vols picked up seven more wins in 2018 than they had last season with an even 16-16 record.
Tennessee managed to go a perfect 5-0 against their conference rivals in Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Florida. The Vols also went 8-4 on the road this season. Barnes racked up his fourth conference championship as a head coach with a win over Georgia last Saturday. This conference title marks his first as head coach of the Volunteers.
Only eight other coaches for the orange-and-white received the honor of SEC Coach of the Year. This award marks Barnes’ sixth Coach of the Year honor.
Sophomore forward Grant Williams brought in the first award of his career, as his 16 points per game led Tennessee to its first 20-win season since 2014. Williams became just the 12th Tennessee player to bring in an SEC Player of the Year award. He is the first underclassman to do so since the legendary Bernard King.
Not surprisingly, sophomore guard Lamonte Turner also brought in an award for Tennessee. His clutch 3-point shooting powered his team to an SEC Championship.
Turner won Co-Sixth Man of the Year by averaging just over 10 points per game and being the Volunteers third leading scorer on the season. He shared the award with 6-foot-11 Missouri freshman Jontay Porter who averaged nearly 10 points and seven rebounds per game.
Last but not least, junior forward Admiral Schofield earned a spot as a second-team All-SEC player. He scored over 10 points in 15-of-18 conference games this season. Schofield led the team in minutes played and had the second most points averaged on the team with nearly 14 points per game.
The No. 2 seed and 13th-ranked Volunteers get back into action Friday in the SEC Tournament in St. Louis. Tennessee will face the winner of Mississippi State and LSU at 7 p.m. ET on the SEC Network.
Edited by Ben McKee
Featured image courtesy of Tennessee Athletics