HOOVER, Ala. – You might be surprised to hear who Florida coach Billy Donovan thinks can be the best basketball team in the SEC this season.
“The one team that I think clearly may be better than everyone — and I think all the teams are good -– is Georgia,” Donovan said today at the SEC Basketball Media Day event here. “Any time you’ve got two players on the first-team [preseason] all-SEC and you probably have in my opinion the best player in the league in Trey Thompkins. . . . ”
In a media vote earlier this week, Thompkins and teammate Travis Leslie were named to the preseason All-SEC first team, making Georgia the only school with two representatives. However, Donovan’s team was picked by the same media panel to win the SEC title. Georgia was picked to finish third in the East, which would be a marked improvement after finishing last in the division for three consecutive seasons.
Donovan sees Georgia making huge strides in its second season under Mark Fox, who Donovan called “a terrific coach.”
“People forget that although their record did not reflect it, their season last year could have been totally different because of a lot of close losses that could have gone either way,” Donovan said. “I think when you’ve got a new coach and a new style of play, what happens a lot of times is there’s a learning curve that goes on of how you try to win games inside your system and your style. I think the kids at Georgia probably were going through that, but they are clearly a team to me that I think is going to be terrific.”
More later from SEC Media Day. Appearances by Fox and Thompkins are on this afternoon’s schedule.