SEC Basketball: Predicting the 2012-13 SEC Stats Leaders
SEC basketball will once again be "must see" action in the 2012-13 season.
With the Kentucky Wildcats ready to defend their 2012 National Championship, league play will be ultra-competitive from start to finish.
Even though teams like Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State are reloading, the Southeastern Conference is still filled with tons of talent.
Here is a quick look at who could be the league leaders in eight different statistical categories.
FG Percentage: Patric Young (Florida)
Patric Young is ready for a breakout season.
The 6'9" 250-lb. post player has made progress in his first two seasons at UF.
He has demonstrated that he is an effective low-post defender and a handful on the boards.
He also has shown a level of basketball smarts when it comes to shot selection.
Rather than firing up FGs that he doesn't have much chance of hitting, Young plays within his skill set, and does most of his business right around the rim.
Last year, Young shot 61.8 percent from the field. During the Gators four-game run to the Elite Eight, he connected on a blistering 16-for-22 (72.7 percent).
I'm sure that Florida head coach Billy Donovan wouldn't mind seeing Young pick up in 2012-13 where he left off.
FT Percentage: Trae Golden (Tennessee)
Trae Golden may be one of the best under-the-radar PGs in the country.
Last year, he averaged 13.6 ppg, 3 rpg and 4.5 apg.
The 6'1 209-lb. floor general is a good shooter from all distances, but he is best at knocking down FTs.
In his two years in Knoxville, Golden has hit 163-out-of-197 freebies (82.7 percent).
There's no reason to think that he will do anything other than keep this up when the Vols take the court starting in November.
3-Point Shooting Percentage: Mardracus Wade (Arkansas)
Mardracus Wade might be the most under-the-radar shooter in the SEC.
Even though he was the conference's top three-point shooter (47.6 percent; No. 13 in the nation), very few people know much about the 6'2" guard from Memphis.
Wade and B.J. Young may be one of the most lethal beyond-the-arc, back-court combos in the league.
Last year, the two shot a combined 44.7 percent.
Razorbacks' head coach Mike Anderson will be ready to cut the two loose again as Arkansas will be ready to jump up into the upper-half of the league standings in 2012-13.
Steals: Trevor Releford (Alabama)
Trevor Releford is ready for a breakout season in 2012-13.
The 6'0" rising junior was No. 2 in the SEC in steals (63) last year. He had five or more steals three times (Vandy, Ole Miss and Auburn).
Releford thrives in head coach Anthony Grant's system that emphasizes tough defense before everything else.
Blocked Shots: Nerlens Noel (Kentucky)
Nerlens Noel is the kind of player that may not fill up the box score every night in terms of scoring, but he will have a huge impact on the Wildcats' outcomes this coming year based on what he does at the other end of the court.
Noel is a combination of great athleticism and great anticipation. Though he and Anthony Davis are different kinds of players, one thing that they share in common is the ability to block a bunch of shots.
John Calipari will cut the 6'10" incoming freshman loose this season. He has the ability to block four shots per game
Assists: Ryan Harrow (Kentucky)
Ryan Harrow has one thing going for him that none of John Calipari's Kentucky PGs have had the last three seasons.
Because he transferred from NC State and sat out last season, he'll have been in the program for a full season before taking over the reins.
As a Wolfpack freshman, Harrow averaged 3.3 assists per game.
The 6'2" guard is quick with the ball and causes havoc by breaking down his opponents by getting into the lane.
Rebounds: Jeronne Maymon (Tennessee)
Jerrone Maymon is a big man who does big work on the glass.
The 6'7" 260-lb. forward uses his size well in order to get position underneath the basket.
He averaged 8.1 rpg last year, registering double-figure rebounds 10 times.
Watch for Maymon, who ESPN's Jason King called "the most under-rated player in the SEC, to have a double-double season in 2012-13.
Points: B.J. Young (Arkansas)
B.J. Young made a lot of Razorback fans happy when he decided to return for his sophomore season in Fayetteville.
Last year, as a true freshman, Young led the team in scoring, averaging 15.3 ppg.
Young was selected as second-team All-SEC and SEC All-Freshman team.
The St. Louis native shot a blistering 50.4 percent from the field, scoring in double figures in all but one conference game last year.
Young (and the entire Razorbacks' team) will greatly benefit from the return of Marshawn Powell, who will provide more interior scoring.