Tennessee basketball's Dalton Knecht and Zakai Zeigler headline SEC awards

Tennessee basketball star Dalton Knecht named SEC Player of the Year and Zakai Zeigler named SEC Defensive Player of the Year.

Tennessee v Missouri
Tennessee v Missouri / Ed Zurga/GettyImages
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The regular season has come to an end, and your SEC Champions have headlined the Southeastern Conference's conference awards list. The SEC has announced its men's basketball awards, and Tennessee basketball has two stars headlining the conference awards.

Tennessee’s Dalton Knecht has, unsurprisingly, been named the SEC Player of the Year. The Vols senior has averaged 27.5 points per game in conference play, the best ppg average among all players across the Power 5 conferences.

Knecht all but won the conference Player of the Year award after he took over the Auburn game and outscored the Tigers to lead the Vols to victory. He also capped off his breakout season with a 40-point game in the season finale against Kentucky.

Zakai Zeigler, on the other hand, has been recognized for his defensive efforts this season. Zeigler has been named the SEC Defensive Player of the Year. He finally won the award he deserved last season before his season-ending injury.

He's not the biggest or strongest player in the league, but his ability to affect the opponent's offensive rhythm throughout the game has been a game-changer for the Vols again this year.

Zeigler's DPotY award and selection to the All-SEC First Team and All-SEC Defensive Team tied him for the most honors of any SEC player. Kentucky's Reed Sheppard and Rob Dillingham are the other players with three awards.

Knecht and Zeigler both made the All-SEC First Team, while Jonas Aidoo along with Zeigler, earned spots on the All-SEC Second Team and All-SEC Defensive Team.

South Carolina's Lamont Paris earned SEC Coach of the Year honors, which Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes mentioned Paris deserved after SC's turnaround this year. Kentucky's Reed Sheppard earned Freshman of the Year after a dominant first year in the league, and Rob Dillingham earned Sixth-Man of the Year for the Wildcats.

Here’s the full All-Conference teams:

First Team
Mark Sears, Alabama
Johni Broome, Auburn
Zyon Pullin, Florida
Antonio Reeves, Kentucky
Tolu Smith III, Mississippi State
Dalton Knecht, Tennessee
Zakai Zeigler, Tennessee
Wade Taylor IV, Texas A&M

Second Team
Jaylin Williams, Auburn
Walter Clayton Jr., Florida
Rob Dillingham, Kentucky
Reed Sheppard, Kentucky
Matthew Murrell, Ole Miss
Josh Hubbard, Mississippi State
Ta’Lon Cooper, South Carolina
Meechie Johnson, South Carolina
Jonas Aidoo, Tennessee

All-Defensive Team
Johni Broome, Auburn
Cameron Matthews, Mississippi State
Jonas Aidoo, Tennessee
Zakai Zeigler, Tennessee
Andersson Garcia, Texas A&M

All-Freshman Team
Aden Holloway, Auburn
Alex Condon, Florida
Silas Demary Jr., Georgia
Rob Dillingham, Kentucky
Reed Sheppard, Kentucky
D.J. Wagner, Kentucky
Josh Hubbard, Mississippi State
Collin Murray-Boyles, South Carolina

Coach of the Year: Lamont Paris, South Carolina
Player of the Year: Dalton Knecht, Tennessee
Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Sean East II, Missouri
Freshman of the Year: Reed Sheppard, Kentucky
Sixth-Man of the Year: Rob Dillingham, Kentucky
Defensive Player of the Year: Zakai Zeigler, Tennessee

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