SEC Tournament 2013: Predictions for Tourney's MVP Award

Maxwell OgdenCorrespondent IIIMarch 13, 2013

SEC Tournament 2013: Predictions for Tourney's MVP Award

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    From March 13 to March 17, the SEC's elite will go to battle in order to crown a champion. In that time, stars will rise and an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament will be earned.

    The question is, which player will rise up, lead his team to the title and go down as tournament MVP?

    Every year, we witness the same events transpire. Teams will come together and battle until they reach their ultimate goal of being crowned conference champions.

    With every passing season, however, comes a new star to be born in the tournament.

    This year will be no different, as an individual will lead his team to the SEC tournament title. Whether he's scoring or contributing in another manner, his efforts will not go without recognition.

    So who is this year's tournament star?

Candidate No. 1: Laurence Bowers, Missouri Tigers

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    Position: Combo Forward

    Class: Senior

    2012-13 Season Averages

    27.29 PER, 14.8 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 1.0 APG, 1.2 BPG, 39.6% 3PT

     

    The Missouri Tigers are one of the most intriguing teams in the SEC. Led by point guard Phil Pressey, they have a legitimate chance at competing for the SEC tournament title.

    When it comes down to who will garner tournament MVP recognition, however, look no further than combo forward Laurence Bowers.

    Bowers has been sensational this season, averaging 14.8 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. He's also shooting a 39.6 percent from beyond the arc on a career-high average of 1.8 three-point field-goal attempts per game.

    In other words Bowers has become a versatile scoring threat after three years of one-dimensional play.

    Already a second team All-SEC selection, Bowers will lead the Tigers through the tournament. Unfortunately, the Tigers will not secure the championship.

    In turn, Bowers will fall short of the tournament MVP award.

Candidate No. 2: Archie Goodwin, Kentucky Wildcats

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    Position: Shooting Guard

    Class: Freshman

    2012-13 Season Averages

    16.32 PER, 14.1 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 2.8 APG, 1.1 SPG

     

    Alex Poythress is the best active player on the Kentucky Wildcats. If John Calipari's embattled crew is to make a run, however, they will need another freshman to step up.

    Archie Goodwin.

    Goodwin is a big-time scorer with the killer instinct that Poythress has lacked. His aggressive nature on offense will lead to high quantities of points and the opportunity to develop a national fanbase.

    With Kentucky seeded No. 2 and in need of quality victories to make it to the NCAA tournament, the pressure will bring the best out of Goodwin.

    For those unfamiliar, the best of Goodwin is pretty darn good. The question is, will it be enough to lead Kentucky to a second consecutive SEC conference tournament title?

    Not quite.

Candidate No. 3: Marshall Henderson, Ole Miss Rebels

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    Position: Shooting Guard

    Class: Junior

    2012-13 Season Averages

    23.92 PER, 19.7 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 1.8 APG, 1.4 SPG

     

    Marshall Henderson was made for stages like this.

    The 22-year-old junior is currently averaging 19.7 points per contest. He topped 20 points in 15 games this season and is averaging 21.6 points per contest over the past five contests.

    For that reason, we're inclined to believe Henderson will step up when it counts come the SEC tournament.

    If anyone knows how to perform in a hostile territory, it has proven to be Henderson. He proved that much against the Auburn Tigers.

    So what is holding Henderson back from becoming tournament MVP?

    To put it simply, the Rebels will have a tough time winning the crown. They could face both Missouri and Kentucky en route to the SEC championship, which presents a road worth fearing.

    Henderson and the Rebels are capable—they simply will not succeed in winning it all. That will force Henderson to fall short.

Candidate No. 4: Trevor Releford, Alabama Crimson Tide

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    Position: Point Guard

    Class: Junior

    2012-13 Season Averages

    24.90 PER, 15.6 PPG, 2.7 APG, 2.5 RPG, 2.1 SPG

     

    Trevor Releford is quietly developing into one of the best point guards in the nation. He was honored as such when the coaches named him to the 2013 All-SEC first team.

    Releford will prove worthy of that label by continuing with his efficiently elite scoring prowess.

    Releford is currently averaging 15.6 points on a slash line of .490/.436/.820. He's fifth in the SEC in scoring, fourth in three-point field-goal percentage and first amongst qualified guards in points per shot.

    Those numbers will be brought to light as Releford works Alabama to a run through the SEC tournament.

    Releford's contributions should seal an NCAA tournament berth for the Crimson Tide. Unfortunately, they will not be enough to win the SEC title.

    Even still, Releford deserves praise for a sensational season and potential tournament MVP performance.

Candidate No. 5: Jarnell Stokes, Tennessee Volunteers

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    Position: Power Forward

    Class: Sophomore

    2012-13 Season Averages

    25.43 PER, 12.4 PPG, 9.4 RPG, 1.2 APG, 1.2 BPG

     

    For the season, Jarnell Stokes has 14 double-doubles. He has 12 double-doubles during his past 18 games and 10 in his past 13.

    The three games he's failed to have seen Stokes average 8.3 points and 11.0 rebounds.

    This is the type of production that will elevate Stokes into the realm of tournament MVP candidacy. His ability to dominate the glass, paired with an uncanny ability to come up with crucial buckets, will lead Stokes to the spotlight.

    Much like the other players on this list, Stokes' team will not win the conference crown. Unfortunately for this deserving candidate, that is a prerequisite.

    So who will take home the glory?

Tournament MVP: Kenny Boynton Jr., Florida Gators

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    Position: Shooting Guard

    Class: Senior

    2012-13 Season Averages

    18.43 PER, 12.5 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 2.9 APG, 1.0 SPG


    Inconsistent or not, Kenny Boynton Jr. is an SEC star. That's why he was named first team All-SEC during the preseason and second team All-SEC during the postseason award distribution.

    It's also why he'll take home the SEC tournament MVP award as he leads the Gators to a tournament title.

    As a senior, Boynton has one last chance to win his first career SEC tournament championship. Despite playing a role in two regular-season titles, he's never achieved this honor.

    As a four-year starter, that's something Boynton will look to change.

    Erik Murphy will be phenomenal, as always, and Mike Rosario will make his name known in the national spectrum. When it comes to hitting the big shots, however, coach Billy Donovan still trusts his senior.

    Boynton will rise up, lead Florida to the championship and win the SEC tournament MVP award.