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SEC STARS OF THE WEEK: NOVEMBER 20 EDITION

SEC Stars of the Week

This past "week" in SEC basketball includes two weekends. There wasn't much of a point in reviewing one game and calling it a "week" last Monday, so these evaluations include games from opening day, November 10.


JEFF ROBERSON, VANDERBILT

Heading into Sunday night's game against Southern California, Roberson had been averaging just over 14 points and 11 boards. While Vanderbilt adjusts to life without Luke Kornet, Roberson is being asked to... well... "anchor down" in the paint, and he has done a great job for coach Bryce Drew. Roberson powered Vanderbilt to an important win over UNC-Asheville on Friday night. The Commodores needed that bounce-back after losing to a different but similarly formidable mid-major, the Belmont Bruins, on Nov. 13. While a lot of SEC teams are playing cupcakes, Vanderbilt -- which did play cupcake Austin Peay in its opener -- has continued its season with a comparatively ambitious schedule. Roberson is why VU got through its mid-major doubleheader without an 0-2 record.

KEVIN KNOX, KENTUCKY

This will be the first of many times that Knox will crack this list this season. Kentucky is just beginning to learn how to play. The newest batch of John Calipari-coached freshmen is putting on training wheels and confronting the challenges of high-level college ball. Among these players, Knox has looked the least out of place, carrying the scoring load while putting in the work on the defensive glass. Knox hit three 3-pointers against Kansas en route to 20 points, but he also contributed seven rebounds. Friday against East Tennessee State, Knox's offense didn't flow as freely, but he kept his head down, continued to work, and snapped down 10 boards to accompany 17 points.

Knox is a showcase scorer, but it is important for him to be a workhorse, not just a showhorse. Knox has been that for Kentucky, and that's why he deserves to be on this list, even though Kentucky didn't get the win over Kansas it was hoping for.

YANTE MATEN, GEORGIA

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, USC-Upstate, Bryant -- these are not high-end opponents. Nevertheless, Georgia's season depends primarily on Maten, its best player. Maten has carried the load, but more precisely, he has meaningfully taken on the burden of being the Dawgs' go-to guy. Two of Georgia's three wins have come by fewer than 10 points, so every bread crumb of production from Maten has mattered in a majority of Georgia's games. The supporting cast will need to be brought along by coach Mark Fox, but stars need to carry the freight in the early stages of a season. Maten's 21.5 points and 13 rebounds give him a deserved spot on this list.

JAYLEN BARFORD, ARKANSAS

The Razorbacks have started the season well, thrashing Bucknell and generally responding well to the kinds of tricky games which have tripped up Mike Anderson-coached teams in the recent past. The quality of Arkansas' initial surge makes it important to recognize Barford. Seniors need to lead teams in November while the underclassmen find their way and blossom as the season gets into December and January. Barford, in his senior year, has led by example, posting 20 points, five boards, four assists and one steal per game, being the helpful all-court player who will make Arkansas a difficult team to play throughout the season. Teammate Daniel Gafford scored 25 against Fresno State, but Barford has set the tone more than anyone else for the Hogs.

TIE -- ADMON GILDER AND TYLER DAVIS, TEXAS A&M

The biggest and best SEC win through the first 10 days of the season (this was written before Vanderbilt's game against Southern California on Sunday night) was Texas A&M's thrashing of West Virginia. The Aggies won by 23, a surprise in any circumstance, but especially since starting guard J.J. Caldwell and elite forward Robert Williams were not in the lineup. Gilder and Davis powered Billy Kennedy's team without Caldwell and Williams, showing not only the ceilings of their own capabilities, but that the Aggies have Final Four-level talent when Caldwell and Williams take the court.

Against West Virginia, Davis scored 23 points and collected 13 boards in 30 minutes. He hit 10 of 12 field goals -- 83 percent if you're keeping track.

Gilder was slightly better than his teammate, scoring 23 on 8-12 shooting but also adding nine boards, seven assists, and two steals with NO turnovers in 33 minutes at his guard spot.

That game was played on November 10, but Gilder and Davis definitely deserve to be two of the SEC players of the "week."

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