Billy Donovan (Coach), Scottie Wilbekin (Player) claim AP SEC awards for Florida Gators

By Adam Silverstein
March 17, 2014

No. 1 Florida Gators head coach Billy Donovan and senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin were named the 2014 Southeastern Conference Coach and Player of the Year, respectively, by the Associated Press on Monday, sweeping the awards after receiving the same honors from league coaches last Tuesday.

Donovan secured his third unanimous (coaches and AP voters) SEC Coach of the Year award, while Wilbekin cemented his place as just the second Florida player in the history of the award to win SEC Player of the Year.

It took Donovan 14 seasons to receive his first conference coaching honor despite winning two national championships (2006-07), coaching in three title games (2000, 2006-07) and leading his team to three-straight SEC Tournament victories (2005-07). Since winning his first SEC Coach of the Year award in 2011, he has dominated the voting with three in the last four seasons.

Donovan, who is one win away from matching Dale Brown (LSU) for all-time wins at an SEC school, had help leading the Gators to their 32-2 record while setting a number of school marks along the way.

Wilbekin, named Most Valuable Player of the 2014 SEC Tournament, has been a top-notch contributor for Florida since returning from his five-game suspension to start the season with the Gators only losing one game since he rejoined the team (a road loss to UConn in which he was injured and missed the final three minutes of the contest). His 13.0 points per game are a career-high and tied for second-most on UF’s squad, and he is widely considered the best on-ball defender in the league and one of the best in the nation.

He is the second Florida student-athlete to be named SEC Player of the Year with Chandler Parsons standing as the first after earning the honor in 2011.

Wilbekin and senior forward Casey Prather were named to the AP All-SEC First Team with Wilbekin being one of two unanimous selections (Kentucky’s Julius Randle). Senior center Patric Young earned second-team AP All-SEC honors.

All three received the same honors from the SEC’s coaches with Young also earning SEC Defensive Player of the Year and SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year nods.

Young is the second Gators player to win the former award (Corey Brewer) and the third to capture the latter (Lee Humphrey, Ray Shipman).

The coaches also recognized redshirt sophomore forward Dorian Finney-Smith as SEC Sixth Man of the Year for his contributions off the bench. He joined Chris Richard as the second UF player to be awarded the honor.

Photo Credit: Kim Klement/USA Today

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