South Carolina guard Sindarius Thornwell earned a spot on the All-SEC Freshman Team, which was released Tuesday and voted on by league coaches.
Thornwell averaged 13.5 points, 4.2 rebounds and three assists per game while serving as one of the few bright spots during a bleak season for the Gamecocks. He ranked 16th in the SEC in scoring, topping 20 points six times during conference play.
Kentucky freshman Julius Randle beat out Thornwell for the SEC Freshman of the Year Award. Randle, regarded as one of the top freshmen in the country, was the only player in the SEC to average a double-double – with 15.4 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. He led the SEC in rebounds.
Florida dominated the SEC postseason awards, as expected from the nation’s top team.
Billy Donovan was voted SEC Coach of the Year after the Gators became the first team in SEC history to finish league play 18-0. His point guard, senior Scottie Wilbekin, was voted as SEC Player of the Year after averaging 12.9 points, 3.9 assists, 2.6 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game. Wilbekin was the steadying guide on the court, leading Florida to a 23-game win streak to close the season.
Fellow Florida senior Patric Young earned SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year honors. Florida sophomore Dorian Finney-Smith was voted SEC Sixth Man of the Year after averaging 9.4 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists off the bench.
Here’s a complete list of SEC postseason awards:
With a 15-0 start, including eight shutouts, South Carolina’s baseball team finds itself in a familiar position – atop the college baseball world.
For the first time this season, the Gamecocks were ranked No. 1 in Baseball America’s poll Monday. South Carolina rose from No. 3 in the poll, jumping Virginia and Florida State. Virginia (11-3) fell to No. 3 in this week’s poll, while Florida State (12-2) stayed at No. 2. Oregon State (14-3) and North Carolina State (13-2) round out the top five, while Clemson (9-5) rose one spot to No. 14.
Seven SEC teams were ranked in the top 25 this week, including No. 7 Vanderbilt (15-2) and No. 8 LSU (14-2). South Carolina opens SEC play this weekend with a three-game series against No. 21 Ole Miss, which begins 7 p.m. Friday at Carolina Stadium.
South Carolina is the only undefeated team remaining in college baseball. Only Vandy has as many wins.
The Gamecocks swept Brown last weekend, with all three games ending in shutouts. They outscored Brown 22-0 in the series.
Steve Spurrier spoke briefly with the Colonial Life Arena crowd to honor former South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw at halftime of the Gamecocks’ basketball game against No. 1 Florida on Tuesday.
Spurrier listed off Shaw’s accolades, including an undefeated home record and 27-5 record as a starter.
“So many people have contributed to our success,” Spurrier told the crowd. “Nobody has contributed more than this guy right here.”
With that, Shaw walked to midcourt under a standing, roaring ovation.
“It’s good to be back,” Shaw said. He also thanked the crowd for their support over the years.
Spurrier spoke for five minutes with the media underneath the tunnel at Colonial Life. Here are a few notes:
- Spurrier said he “left a voicemail” with someone on the NCAA rules committee regarding the proposed 10-second rule, which would forbid teams from snapping the football in the first 10 seconds of the play clock. Spurrier is against the rule. Where does it stand with the committee? “I don’t know. I’ve heard they’ve hopefully tabled it, but I’m not sure.”
- Spurrier watched as South Carolina’s baseball team swept Clemson last weekend. “By the way,” he told the crowd, “congratulations to the baseball team for another sweep!”
- Spurrier on Jadeveon Clowney’s performance on the NFL Combine: “We all knew he was fast, and he can jump. There’s no question about his talent and his ability.”
- Spurrier thinks Shaw has a future in the NFL, comparing him to Russell Wilson because of his pocket elusiveness.
- Spurrier spoke with Dawn Staley by phone after winning South Carolina’s women’s basketball team won its first SEC Championship. A conference title is something the HBC has long hoped to bring to Carolina. Spurrier offered his congratulations to Staley: “I told her, ‘You beat me to it.’ … She’s got the big championship now.”
Jadeveon Clowney ran an unofficial 4.47-second, 40-yard dash Monday morning at the NFL Combine.
That’s fast. Enough speed to forget about Clowney’s less-than-impressive 21 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press Sunday. The former South Carolina defensive end unofficially burned more speed than all but five running backs at the NFL Combine. His time is easily the best among defensive linemen.
NFL Network analyst Warren Sapp, a hall of fame defensive tackle with the Tampa Bay Bucs, couldn’t believe Clowney’s raw athleticism.
“It’s frightening to see a man that big, that fast, coming up and down this football field. He is a freak,” Sapp said on NFL Network immediately after Clowney ran his second of two 40-yard dashes, which was unofficially clocked at 4.48 seconds. “I don’t care what he runs either. The thing that I want to do is see him put his feet in the ground and come with a hunger and love for this game. Because that’s the one thing, when you turn his tape on, you don’t see that love for the game. That love of the hunt that you want to see from a defensive lineman, but the kid is a freak. And, oh, is he athletic.”
Sapp didn’t only have glowing things to say about Clowney. The former Gamecocks All-American wasn’t the only thing Sapp couldn’t believe.
Marcus Lattimore left the Palmetto State’s heated rivalry a year ago.
No longer immersed in Carolina vs. Clemson, the passion and bitterness was behind him. The newfound peace did not last long. You can take the player out of the rivalry, not the rivalry out of the player.
With the San Francisco 49ers, Lattimore is now entrenched in one of the NFL’s fiercest rivalries. As Lattimore explained today in The Post and Courier, the disdain San Francisco shares with the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks is similar to the mutual dislike between South Carolina and Clemson.
“They hate each other,” Lattimore said. “… Seattle hates San Francisco, and it definitely reminds me of Clemson-South Carolina a lot.”
Lattimore opened up to The Post and Courier this week about his early professional career, recovery from knee injury, life on the West Coast and why South Carolina will always feel like home.
Here are a few things that didn’t appear in today’s paper: