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SEC STARS OF THE WEEK– JANUARY 8

SEC Stars of the Week

A lot of the same people keep emerging as the foremost reasons their SEC teams are winning, but it's not as though there's a rule stating that names must rotate each week.

To the big board we go:

JARED HARPER AND BRYCE BROWN, AUBURN

Auburn keeps bringing multiple players to the table each week because the Tigers are winning on the basis of their balance and their blended contributions. In the road win at Tennessee during the middle of the past week, Harper earned 11 foul shots and made 10 -- doing that in a road game against a good team is eye-opening. Brown also did something essential for a road team in search of a big win: He popped in five three-pointers. Everybody does something to pick up the slack for teammates, those on the court and those unable to play. Auburn once again brought a daily double against the Vols.

P.J. WASHINGTON, KENTUCKY

18 points mattered, but so did rim protection and committed, rugged defense on the road against LSU. Kentucky backed down in the second half at Tennessee on Saturday, but not in Baton Rouge earlier in the week. Washington exemplified that resilience for Big Blue, which is far from the height of its powers but is getting decent play from its frontcourt. The backcourt needs to provide more help in the coming weeks, making life easier for Washington and the improving Nick Richards.

SABEN LEE, VANDERBILT

23 points represented an exceptionally substantial contribution for Lee, but the most important aspect of his performance against Alabama is that he provided the decisive points against the Tide. Vanderbilt's offense has been knocked around for much of this season. For one night, Lee rose to a level which made VU better than it had been the previous few weeks.

QUINNDARY WEATHERSPOON, MISSISSIPPI STATE

One of two Weatherspoons (Nick) on the MSU roster, Quinndary has to be the straw -- or rather, the spoon -- which stirs the drink. He was exactly that in a huge win over Arkansas, pouring in 22 points to lead Ben Howland's team to the most significant triumph of its season to date. If the Bulldogs can continue to pick off the high-end teams in the league, they will steadily compile an NCAA Tournament-worthy resume.

TREMONT WATERS, LSU

Tre Waters was trey-bien in the final 15 seconds against Texas A&M. Waters splashed two very long triples to steal a game from the Aggies in a way which would make Steph Curry sit up and take notice. Waters getting very hot -- and when double-teamed, creating lots of easy baskets with passes to open teammates -- clearly represents LSU's best path and most rosy scenario this season, the most immediate gateway to the fulfillment of this team's foremost aspirations.

CHRIS CHIOZZA, FLORIDA

Chiozza didn't lead Florida in the scoring column, but his steal, scoot and score in the final seconds at Missouri represented the kind of play which -- beyond winning one game -- can imbue a team with a transformed identity of itself. It was a daring and ambitious move, executed perfectly. We'll see just how much resonance this play carries over the course of the season.

JORDAN BARNETT, MISSOURI

The Tigers didn't win due to Chiozza's timely theft, but Barnett did everything in his power to give Mizzou a chance to prevail. He lit up the nets with a gob of three-pointers, mostly in transition. He spaced the floor and put enormous stress on the Gators' defense, which opened opportunities for his teammates. He had a significant domino effect on the game... for its first 39 minutes, before Florida stole the game in the 40th minute.

CHRIS SILVA, SOUTH CAROLINA

As a returning player from the Gamecocks' history-making Final Four team, Silva knows it's up to him to carry the workload with Sindarius Thornwell and other backcourt stars no longer able to put on a South Carolina uniform. A 27-point masterpiece in a win over Vanderbilt is something South Carolina will need a lot more of to make more noise in this year's very balanced SEC.

DEANDRE BURNETT, OLE MISS

The Rebels, down 33-20 to Mississippi State and flagging, needed players to step up. Burnett led the charge and delivered Ole Miss a vital victory plus in-state bragging rights. The Rebels face an uphill battle -- as much as any team in the league if not more -- but for one day, Burnett allowed his team's flaws to fade into the background.

GRANT WILLIAMS, TENNESSEE

Admiral Schofield scored 20 to lead the Vols against Kentucky, but Williams is the Vols' weather-vane player. As he goes, so go the Big Orange. When Williams fouled out against Arkansas, UT lost its rim protection and denial defense in the paint, losing in overtime after a late Razorback rally. On Saturday against Kentucky, Williams was driving to the basket and outworking his defenders for position, en route to a series of layups and dunks which gave the Vols instant and easy offense in the middle of their decisive surge against the Wildcats. Grant the Vols Williams? Grant the Vols a supremely helpful player.

YANTE MATEN, GEORGIA

When a big and agile player uses his defensive length to fluster the opposition and then throws down a bunch of threes at the other end of the floor, en route to a commanding 26-point masterclass, what else is there to say? Maten continues to give UGA the climb-on-my-back performances which allow his teammates to slide neatly into their role-player designations.

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