ATHENS — On the eve of the start of the college basketball season, there was another sign of increased respect, and notice, for the Georgia Bulldogs.
Georgia had not one but two players on the coaches preseason All-SEC first team. Senior guards Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann were both on the nine-man team. (The coaches’ preseason and postseason teams doesn’t break ties so it usually includes well more than five players.)
The only other SEC team to place two players on the first team was Kentucky.
Kentucky also had two players selected to the eight-man second team, while Georgia had none. Kentucky was the only team with more than two players among the 17 on the first and second teams; Georgia, LSU, Mississippi State, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt each had two.
Gaines averaged 11.7 points per game last season, which started with him slowed by the effects of mononucleosis and finished with Gaines dealing with a foot injury. He led the Bulldogs with 56 made 3-pointers, and also had 35 steals.
Mann averaged 11.2 points, 3.2 assists and 4.9 rebounds per game last season. He also led the SEC in free throws attempted (220) and made (147).