BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The University of Kentucky men’s basketball team was tabbed by the media to win its 46th Southeastern Conference championship this season as announced by the league office on Wednesday. Furthermore, the media selected freshman Julius Randle as the favorite to win the league’s Player of the Year honor.
Voting was conducted by a select panel of both SEC and national media members. Each school selected media members that cover their team and additional media from across the nation were selected by the conference office to comprise the voting panel.
The Wildcats were the overall preseason favorite, marking the ninth time since 1998-99 that UK was the early-season pick. UK tallied 21 first-place votes, while Florida earned five first-place votes and Tennessee received one.
Randle garnered 11 votes as the media selected him as the favorite for the conference Player of the Year award. Tennessee’s Jordan McRae was second with five votes. Five other league players received at least one vote for Player of the Year recognition.
UK’s freshman from Dallas was also picked to the preseason All-SEC First Team, and is the only freshman to earn the honor. The other four members of the first team include three seniors and a junior.
Three Kentucky players were picked to earn second-team honors including sophomore Willie Cauley-Stein and freshmen Andrew Harrison and Dakari Johnson. Cauley-Stein was an All-SEC Freshman team selection in 2013.
The Cats will tipoff the 2013-14 season on Friday, Oct. 18 with Big Blue Madness at Rupp Arena. The annual event begins at 7:30 p.m. ET. ESPN will be on hand with Jimmy Dykes and Darrin Horn there to provide commentary on the action.