SEC boasts 2 semifinalists for Naismith Defensive Player of the Year
Two of the premier defenders in SEC men’s basketball received some national attention on Thursday when they were named among 10 semifinalists for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year.
Alabama’s Herbert Jones and Tennessee’s Yves Pons were among the group of semifinalists announced. The semifinalists were was chosen by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s board of selectors.
Pons is the reigning SEC Defensive Player of the Year, and this season has blocked 34 shots, ranking seventh in the SEC with 1.6 per game and recorded a career-best 14 steals and eight charges drawn. Pons has recorded a career-high 14 steals this season, and also is second on the team with eight charges drawn. Pons earned last season’s SEC Defensive Player of the Year award after tying Tennessee’s single-season blocks record, with 73. He blocked at least one shot in all 31 of UT’s games last season (2.4 bpg). He became the first Vol to claim the award and just the third Tennessee player to earn a spot on the SEC All-Defensive Team.
Jones leads the team in rebounding (5.7 rpg), steals (1.7 spg), charges taken (12), deflections (80), floor dives (16) and blocked shots (25 total, 1.1 bpg). Jones also collected a team-leading 479 Blue Collar Points, a system that includes players receiving points each game for deflections, steals, blocks, rebounds, floor dives and charges, according to the team.
The Naismith Defensive Player of the Year candidate list will be trimmed to five finalists next month, and the winner of the award presented to the nation’s best defender will be announced in April.