Last season, Tennessee forward Grant Williams was voted as the SEC Player of the Year by SEC coaches. This year, the AP voted him as the Player of the Year in the conference, and he’ll likely be voted as the coaches’ SEC Player of the Year later on today.
The AP released their SEC honors very early Tuesday morning (before 5:00 AM Eastern), and Williams was selected as the AP SEC Player of the Year. The Vols’ junior became the first Vol to be voted as the conference player of the year since Chris Lofton earned the honor in 2008, and he’s just the sixth Vol ever to be voted the SEC Player of the Year by the AP.
The coaches’ SEC Player of the Year will be announced during the day sometime on Tuesday.
Williams was also a unanimous First-Team All-SEC selection, earning that distinction for the second-straight season from the AP. He joined Arkansas’ Daniel Gafford, Kentucky’s P.J. Washington, LSU’s Tremont Waters, and Mississippi State’s Quinndary Weatherspoon on the first team.
In his third season with Tennessee, Williams has been a force on offense and has improved his game defensively as well. He finished the regular season leading the conference in scoring, averaging 19.3 points per game. He’s also averaging a team-high 7.7 rebounds a game and is averaging 3.3 assists per game. Williams is shooting a career-high 56.9 percent from the field and a career-high 83.3 percent from the free throw line.
Williams’ 234 free throws attempted this season are the fourth-most in a single season in UT history, and his 195 made free throws are the second-most in a single season in school history. Earlier this season, Williams became only the 17th player in school history to eclipse the 1,500-point mark in a career.
This season, Williams has totaled seven double-doubles and has scored over 20 points in 14 of his 31 games. He set multiple school records in a 43-point performance in an overtime win for the then-No. 1 Vols against Vanderbilt where he was a perfect 23-of-23 from the free throw line. Williams has scored at least 16 points in all but seven games this season.
But it’s not just on offense where Williams has excelled, though.
The 6-foot-7, 236-pound junior forward is averaging 1.5 blocks per game and leads the Vols with 1.2 steals per game as well.
Williams was named a First-Team All-American by Sporting News on Monday, becoming the first Vol since Chris Lofton to earn that distinction. He’s the 16th Vol all-time to earn a first-team All-American honor in men’s basketball.