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White wins SEC Coach of Year, three players earn all-SEC honors

GATORS BASKETBALL

After missing the NCAA tournament in back-to-back campaigns, Florida looks like a likely four-seed this year. So, it's no surprise that when the SEC awards were handed out Tuesday, the Gators scooped up a handful of them.

Mike White needed just two seasons to win an award that eluded his legendary predecessor Billy Donovan for 15 seasons. White was named the 2017 SEC Coach of the Year after a breakthrough season filled with much adversity.

"Awards follow good teams," White said. "I have good players, I have a good team ... when your staff is a really good team themselves and they're hitting on all cylinders and all pulling in the same direction -- when you've got good talent, you've got great kids, you win games."

Graduate transfer Canyon Barry received the sixth man of the year award after scoring 12.5 points per game as the Gators' second-leading scorer. He was also the team's top free throw shooter, making a school-record 32 consecutive baskets from the charity stripe and finishing with an .878 percentage.

"When I came to Florida, I didn't envision being a sixth man, but basketball is a team game and the team is always more important than the individual," Barry said. "So I just accepted the role that Coach White gave me. To be acknowledged for my sacrifice is an honor and one I'll cherish for sure."

After leading UF with 13.9 points per game and shooting at 40.1 percent, sophomore KeVaughn Allen was named to the All-SEC first team.

Senior point guard Kasey Hill was named to the All-SEC second team All-SEC and to the All-Defensive team. Though he leads Florida in turnovers, he ranks second in the league in assists (4.6) and fourth in the league in steals (1.7).

Tournament play begins Friday for the Gators, and they might face Vanderbilt for the third time this season. Florida is 0-4 against the Commodores during White's tenure, but Hill said he wants to play them one more time to get that win before he graduates. Texas A&M is the other possible opponent for UF. Tipoff is 7 p.m. in Nashville, TN.

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