ATHENS — Two Georgia basketball players have made the coaches’ All-SEC team, which was predicted when this season began. It’s just not the two who were expected to make it.
Guard J.J. Frazier and forward Yante Maten were each named to the coaches’ All-SEC second team, it was announced Tuesday. The coaches’ teams each had eight players on first and second team. So essentially Frazier and Maten were named among the top 16 players in the SEC.
Frazier, a 5-foot-10 junior, leads Georgia in scoring (16.4 points per game) and assists (4.3 per game) and also ranks in the SEC’s top 10 in eight different categories, including steals, 3-pointers, assists and free throw percentage.
Maten, a 6-foot-8 sophomore, is averaging 15.9 points and 8.0 rebounds per game. He has been the team’s most consistent player, scoring in double figures 25 out of 29 games.
Both players have made big leaps from last year, especially Maten, who simply benefited from more playing time. But at the outset of this season it was senior guards Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann who were named to the coaches preseason All-SEC first team.
Gaines has had a mostly strong season, but a five-game dip late in the year left his scoring average at 13.5 points per game, third on the team. Mann (10.4 ppg, .2 rpg) has taken on more of a supporting role this year after being one of the team’s top options in previous ones.
Georgia (17-12 overall, 10-8 SEC) opens play in the SEC tournament on Thursday against Mississippi State. A victory would match Georgia with No. 3 seed South Carolina. The Bulldogs likely need to win three games to receive serious consideration for an NCAA berth, and perhaps they’ll need to win the tournament.
While this season may not end in the SEC tournament, it’s at least a good sign for next year that Frazier and Maten, both due back, will be coming off seasons in which they were honored.