CHARLOTTE, N.C. — LSU forward Jordan Mickey was named a first-team preseason All-Southeastern Conference pick, and the Tigers were tabbed to finish fourth in the league race during SEC basketball media days Wednesday.
Mickey, a 6-foot-8 sophomore, was a second-team All-SEC pick and member of the All-Freshman team last year after he averaged 12.7 points, 7.9 rebounds and led the league with 3.1 blocked shots per game.
Mickey was joined on the first team Wednesday by Kentucky guard Aaron Harrison, Arkansas forward Bobby Portis, Ole Miss guard Jarvis Summers and Florida guard Michael Frazier II.
“It’s definitely exciting being considered one of the best players in the SEC with all the great players we have and the ones that go on to the NBA from this conference,” said Mickey, who represented LSU at media days with teammate Jarell Martin and coach Johnny Jones. “Just being in that company is great.”
Harrison was named player of the year by a select media panel from the SEC and nation. Mickey and Martin, also a sophomore, were among several others who received votes for player of the year.
Kentucky dominated the second team with four of the five picks: guard Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison’s twin, and forwards Willie Cauley-Stein, Karl-Anthony Towns and Alex Poythress. Georgia guard Charles Mann landed the other second-team spot.
Kentucky received all 20 first-place votes cast and tallied 280 points to easily finish ahead of Florida (258). Arkansas (226), LSU (223), Georgia (204), Ole Miss (168) and Missouri (123) rounded out the top half of the league.
The second half was made up of Auburn (113), Texas A&M (111), Alabama (109), Vanderbilt (89), South Carolina (86), Tennessee (75) and Mississippi State (35).
Tyndall settles in
New Tennessee coach Donnie Tyndall, an LSU assistant coach under John Brady from 1997 to 2001, attended SEC media days for the first time in what he said is his dream job.
Tyndall credited Brady for helping lay out a career path that took him to head coaching stops at Morehead State (2006-12) and Southern Miss (2012-14) before winding up at Tennessee this spring.
“The biggest thing is coach Brady has been my mentor my entire career; he gave me my first opportunity at the Division I level, and I learned a great deal from him in those four years,” the 44-year-old Tyndall said. “All those things I do today, I learned from coach Brady.
“At the time, I was the youngest assistant coach in the SEC, and my goal was to come back one day and be a head coach in this league. I have the opportunity to live out a dream, and it would have never happened if it wasn’t for coach Brady giving me that chance.”
Keeping up with Jones
Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings is expecting bigger and better things this season from center Damian Jones after the former Scotlandville Magnet standout earned SEC All-Freshman team honors a year ago.
“Damian was a guy that was under the radar in terms of a guy that we recruited and came in and made the all-freshman team and right now is probably the best player in our program,” Stallings said of the 6-10, 240-pound Jones, who averaged 11.3 points and 5.7 rebounds a year ago.
“He’s improved a lot from a year ago, but he’s got a long ways to go. There’s a lot more in reserve there that we’re trying to get out of him, but he’s done a great job in the classroom and a great job on the court.”
“I think it was a good start for my career … it was a big confidence builder,” Jones said. “Being out there and playing and knowing you’re doing well, it just does a lot for you. There’s a lot of improvement to be made, but it’s a good start.”
Follow Sheldon Mickles on Twitter @MicklesAdvocate.