2008-09 SEC Hot Hands Award

Kurt WirthCorrespondent IJuly 7, 2009

Time to pick up the pace around here, people. This award is given to the player who puts up the most shots in the amount of time he is on the floor. The calculation is simple; field goals attempted per minute played. This category isn’t necessarily positive or negative – that would rely heavily on these players’ percentages and turnover rates. What it does show, however, is a surplus of confidence and eagerness to be in the limelight.

Now, for the standard explanation of this whole process – you can skip this if you’ve read it before…

  • These awards are meant to effectively and accurately pick the best (and worst) performers in each category. Thus, a line was drawn roughly around the area of 15 games played and/or 40 minutes – 1 full game – played as a minimum. This was done to limit the effect of outliers bringing to our attention surprising walk-ons that could be, according to the stats, future superstars.
  • Obviously, these awards are not all-encompassing. Players that transferred or any other players that didn’t play for any reason last season are not included.
  • Be sure to understand that each of these categories, alone, are misleading. For example, if a player won Least Minutes/Assist but also finished last in Least Minutes/Turnover, it is not as impressive. Combining these rankings and statistics will give a more clear and well-rounded picture, but these rankings are fun nonetheless.


The winner is…


DEVAN DOWNEY – Senior, South Carolina – 1.93 – Last Year: 2.32
Downey and Thornton finished 1 and 2 for the second-straight year, while Downey jumped a spot this year to claim first place. Downey is a dynamic pint-sized (5′9″) point guard who has blazing speed and the moves to drive to the basket while the lumbering bodies of those around him stumble  over themselves trying to stop the layup. Downey will be a favorite for SEC Player of the Year in 2009-10.

The others…

2. Marcus Thornton – Graduated, LSU – 2.06 – Last Year: 2.15
Thornton increased his already extreme output from a year ago, but was just surpassed by Downey. Thornton is quick and dynamic, but more of a pure shooter than Downey as he was one of the most dangerous outside threats in the conference. Thornton was everything for LSU a year ago, and he carried the load again this year despite a bit more help around him on and off the sidelines.

3. Jodie Meeks – NBA Draft, Kentucky – 2.18 – Last Year: 2.90
Meeks was the SEC’s superstar last year, taking his name from outsie any All-SEC lists to the NBA draft. He’s always liked to shoot, but he bursted onto the scene this season in a big way, leading the conference in scoring at 23.7 points per game. Meeks was Kentucky’s only true shooting threat, and thus the offense ran through him and big-man Patrick Patterson.

4. Chris Warren – Junior, Ole Miss – 2.21 – Last Year: 2.42
Warren is a potential superstar who had a phenomenal freshman year before suffering an injury 11 games into the 2008-09 season. If he can return to form, he’ll be one of the league’s scorers and one of the nation’s best ball-handlers. Warren is an excellent all-around player, as his percentages and efficiency numbers are through the roof. Warren will vie for SEC Player of the Year honors by his senior season if he can return to 100 percent.

5. Travis Leslie – Sophomore, Georgia – 2.33 – Last Year: N.A.
Leslie, while admirably brave for a freshman, was a bit of a ball-hog last season. His numbers can’t be overlooked, as he was pretty efficient at bringing home the points as well, but his 0.59 assist-to-turnover ratio and 57.5 percent mark from the charity stripe will have to improve for him to truly have a significant impact for the Bulldogs.

6. Trey Thompkins – Sophomore, Georgia – 2.36 – Last Year: N.A.
Thompkins was easily the most underrated freshman in the league last year, as he shot nearly 40 percent from three – and this is a 6′9″, 247 pound big-man. Thompkins is one of the most versatile players in the conference, and he will once again be relied upon heavily by a talent-starved Georgia team.

7. David Huertas – Overseas, Ole Miss – 2.39 – Last Year: 2.72
While Ole Miss fans will likely brush this loss off, losing Huertas to professional play overseas was a massive blow to the Rebels’ chances at a breakout season in 2009-10. Huertas led the team in scoring and was one of the team’s most prolific rebounders and ball-handlers. Huertas needed tp step up after three starters fell to season-ending injuries, and he did so with flair.

8. Zam Fredrick – Graduated, South Carolina – 2.39 – Last Year: 2.58
Fredrick was an under-the-radar type who was a reliable shooting presence to take some defensive heat off of Downey. Fredrick was Downey’s favorite target outside the arc, and he brought treys down at nearly a 38 percent clip.

9. Senario Hillman – Junior, Alabama – 2.40 – Last Year: 3.40
Hillman is a pure slasher, and not much else. He attempted over 100 threes a season ago and barely made over 27 percent of them, while he had a tendency to turn the ball over as well. Hillman was one of the Tide’s few options last year, but more of the offense should have been flowing through Gee and Green.

10. Wayne Chism – Senior, Tennessee – 2.47 – Last Year: 2.79
If a man named Tyler Smith didn’t play for the Vols, Chism would be a superstar. Chism is without a doubt better at his position than Smith, although not as versatile. Chism is one of the league’s best inside-men both offensively and defensively, and his efficiency numbers are outstanding. While he won’t get the publicity, Chism is the scariest player on Tennessee’s roster.

The opposite end of the spectrum…

1. Robert Wilder – Senior, South Carolina – 35.75 – Last Year: 4.67

2. Chris Bass – Sophomore, LSU – 10.62 – Last Year: N.A.

3. Kevin Cantinol – Sophomore, Ole Miss – 8.70 – Last Year: N.A.

4. Demetrius Jemison – Senior, Alabama – 7.42 – Last Year: 4.57

5. Quintin Thornton – Graduated, LSU – 7.37 – Last Year: 16.77

6. Steven Pearl – Junior, Tennessee – 7.30 – Last Year: 4.73

7. Branden Conrad – Graduated, South Carolina – 7.13 – Last Year: 15.33

8. Josh Tabb – Senior, Tennessee – 6.66 – Last Year: 7.91

 9. Marcus Britt – Junior, Arkansas – 6.66 – Last Year: 6.74

10. Darshawn McClellan – Junior, Vandebrilt – 6.62 – Last Year: 6.22


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