Grant Williams is now only the third Vol all-time to earn the SEC Player of the Year award in back-to-back seasons by the same outlet.
The junior forward was voted as the SEC Player of the Year by SEC coaches on Tuesday, marking the second-straight year he earned that honor. He’s the first Vol since Dale Ellis in 1982 and 1983 to earn SEC Player of the Year in back-to-back years by the same outlet and is only the third Vol to ever do so. Bernard King won the SEC Player of the Year from the AP in two-straight seasons from 1976 and 1977 (he shared it with teammate Ernie Grunfeld in 1977) and won it from United Press International (UPI) in back-to-back years in 1975-76. Overall, King won the award three-straight years by at least one outlet.
Williams was also named a First-Team All-SEC performer by SEC coaches, marking the second-straight year he’s earned that distinction. He’s the first Vol since Jordan McRae to earn back-to-back First-Team All-SEC honors. McRae was voted a first team all-conference selection by SEC coaches in 2013 and 2014.
Earlier today, Williams was named the SEC Player of the Year by the AP and was a unanimous selection to their First-Team All-SEC team as well. Williams is the first Vol to earn SEC Player of the Year from multiple outlets since Ernie Grunfeld was named the conference’s player of the year by both the AP and UPI in 1977.
On Monday, Williams was selected as a First-Team All-American by Sporting News, becoming the first Vol since Chris Lofton in 2008 to earn a place on a first team of an All-American listing. Williams is the 16th different Vol to earn a First-Team All-American honor.
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 and the Vols will get back on the court on Friday in the SEC Tournament. Tennessee will find out their opponent on Thursday when Mississippi State takes on the winner of the Texas A&M-Vanderbilt game on Wednesday.