Tennessee Vols morning report: Grant Williams AP SEC player of the year

KNOXVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 09: Tennessee Volunteers fans cheer during the first half of the game against the Indiana State Sycamores at Neyland Stadium on September 9, 2017 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
KNOXVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 09: Tennessee Volunteers fans cheer during the first half of the game against the Indiana State Sycamores at Neyland Stadium on September 9, 2017 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Tennessee Vols junior forward Grant Williams being named AP SEC Player of the Year leads our Volunteers news for Tuesday, March 12, 2019.

A bittersweet weekend that saw the Tennessee women’s basketball team eliminated from the SEC Tournament and the Tennessee Vols men’s basketball team lose the regular season title leaves lots of questions for this week. But it didn’t stop a ton of good news for the program happening on Monday.

Our morning update on Rocky Top leads with national recognition in multiple ways for one men’s basketball player and one coach. It’ll be no surprise who they are. We also deal with another preview of this week’s men’s SEC Tournament.

Simply put, men’s basketball dominates the day. But there is also some football news to bring you after another spring practice, and we’ll break that down along with a baseball preview and a swimming and diving recap. Let’s begin with all the men’s basketball news.

Grant Williams named AP SEC Player of the YearSteve Megargee, APNews.com

Tennessee Vols basketball forward Grant Williams has been named the Associated Press Southeastern Conference Player of the Year. He was a unanimous first-team All-SEC player, joining PJ Washington, Daniel Gafford, Tremont Waters and Quinndary Weatherspoon.

"Williams is the first Volunteer selected as AP player of the year since Chris Lofton in 2007. The only other Vols selected as AP players of the year since the award started in 1965 are Ron Widby (1967), Bernard King (1976 and 1977), Ernie Grunfeld (1977), Dale Ellis (1982 and 1983) and Ron Slay (2003.) King and Grunfeld were named co-players of the year in 1977."

Sporting News names Grant Williams All-AmericanMike Decourcy, Sporting News

In addition to his SEC recognition, Tennessee basketball junior Grant Williams also earned All-American honors from one service. Sporting News named him a first-team All-American alongside Zion Williamson, Cassius Winston, Rui Hachimura and RJ Barrett.

"The SEC Player of the Year as a sophomore, Williams returned for his third season as a far more complete player. His scoring average is up more than 25 percent, his rebounding is up 27 percent and his field goal accuracy is up 96 percentage points."

SEC names Grant Williams to community service team – SECSports

Not only did Grant Williams gain major recognition for his play on the court, but he also achieved recognition for his community service efforts. The junior forward was the Vols’ representative on the SEC Men’s Basketball Community Service Team.

"Since his freshman year, Williams has served as one of the men’s basketball program’s representatives on Tennessee’s Student‐Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC), helping to coordinate and conduct several events throughout the year, most of which are service and community-outreach based. This year, he has shouldered additional responsibilities by also serving on the Southeastern Conference’s Student Leadership Council."

Rick Barnes a coach of the year semifinalist – NaismithTrophy.com

While Grant Williams wins all the awards as a player, Rick Barnes is getting recognition once again as a coach. He is now one of 11 semifinalists for the Werner Ladder Naismith Coach of the Year.

"The four finalists will be chosen by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s national voting academy, comprised of leading journalists from around the country, current and former head coaches, former award winners and conference commissioners, all of whom base their selections on outstanding coaching performances during the 2018-19 college basketball season. The vote will be tabulated and certified by Aprio, a premier, CPA-led business advisory firm."

Ahead of SEC Tournament, Rick Barnes addresses media – Grant Ramey, GoVols247

Ahead of the SEC Tournament, Tennessee basketball head coach Rick Barnes addressed the media on Monday. His 27-4 team, which is 15-3 in the SEC, dropped to its lowest ranking all year, No. 8 in both polls, and they will be the No. 3 seed in the tournament, set to play either the Mississippi State Bulldogs, Texas A&M Aggies or Vanderbilt Commodores on Friday night in their first outing. Here’s a bit of what Barnes said.

"“I don’t even know who we’ll end up playing obviously. Whether it’s someone you’ve already played twice or getting ready to play for a second time, the familiarity is so much, you know each other so well. It’s hard.”"

Jeremy Pruitt speaks on spring practice – Dan Harralson, VolsWire.com

The Tennessee Vols football team held its third spring practice on Monday. Jeremy Pruitt basically said the offense dominated the defense. Here’s a bit of what else he brought up.

"“It felt like we cut down some on our offensive penalties today, which I’m sure helps. Defensively, I didn’t feel like I saw enough guys straining out there. To me, we need to get more people to the ball and have to control the line of scrimmage.”"

Tennessee baseball to host UNC Asheville – Ryan Schumpert, UT Daily Beacon

Following its first loss of the season Sunday to fall to 15-1, the No. 23 ranked Tennessee Vols baseball team will begin a two-game home midweek series against UNC Asheville ahead of their SEC opening series against the No. 18 ranked Auburn Tigers this weekend. The first pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 6 p.m.

"RHP Sean Hunley is likely to start for the Vols Tuesday, while freshman Camden Sewell will likely get the start Wednesday. Hunley, the Vols’ normal midweek starter, is currently 3-0 on the year with a 1.12 ERA."

Two Vols qualify on first day of NCAA Zone Diving – UTSports

Tennessee Vols divers Zhipeng (Colin) Zeng and Will Hallam managed to qualify for NCAA National Championships for their performances on Monday at the NCAA Zone B Diving Championships at Auburn’s Martin Aquatic Center. For Tuesday, the women’s 1-meter prelims, women’s 1-meter finals, men’s 3-meter prelims and men’s 3-meter finals are all scheduled.

"Zeng and Hallam earned their spots in the 1-meter springboard, completing 12 dives each for combined scores of 795.10 and 677.80, respectively. With both divers qualifying, they only need to finish in the top 12 on the other boards to compete in those events at NCAAs as well."