THREE COMMAND PERFORMANCES
By BLAIR KERKHOFF
The Kansas City Star
1. Elston Turner, Texas A&M at Kentucky
Turner said he felt good during warm-ups, but this good? On Jan. 12, he torched the Wildcats for 40 points in the Aggies 83-71 victory in the first home conference loss for John Calipari in his 25th game. Turner went 14 of 19 from the floor and six of 10 from beyond the three-point arc.
2. Jordan McRae, Tennessee vs. LSU
McRae made six three pointers and finished 13 for 18 from the floor on all shots for 34 points in leading the Vols to an 82-72 victory over LSU on Feb. 19. McRae was even better two weeks later with 35 points at Georgia. But the Vols fell in Athens.
3. Marshall Henderson, Mississippi at Tennessee
In his first year in the SEC, the well-traveled Henderson loved life on the road. He sent a game at Vanderbilt into overtime with a 35-footer at the buzzer and taunted fans at Auburn after hitting a couple of big free throws. In the Rebels SEC opener on Jan. 9, the brash and talkative Henderson made his first statement with 32 points.
THREE KC CONNECTIONS
(besides Missouris players and coaches)
Trevor Releford, Alabama
Did you catch Relefords last field-goal attempt? It went more than 50 feet and swished to give the Crimson Tide a three-point victory over Georgia in the regular-season finale and kept Alabama alive in the NCAA Tournament at-large conversation. Releford, a former Bishop Miege star and younger brother of Kansas Travis Releford, is the Tides top scorer at 15.6 points per game and is averaging 20 points over his last six games.
Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky
When Nerlens Noel went down with a knee injury, all eyes turned to Cauley-Stein, a 7-foot freshman who played for two seasons at Olathe Northwest. He averages 8.4 points and 6.1 rebounds and has blocked at least two shots in each of Kentuckys last seven games. Hes recorded four double-doubles this season, including two in the last three games.
Rick Ray, Mississippi State
Rays family moved from Compton, Calif., to Kansas City, Kan., when he was 6 and he attended Sumner Academy. He played in the Jayhawk League at Labette County Community College in Parsons, Kan., and graduated from Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa. Mississippi State is Rays first head coaching job after stops at Nebraska-Omaha, Indiana State, Northern Illinois, Purdue and Clemson.
LEGENDS OF THE SEC
Former Missouri coach Norm Stewart will be honored by the Southeastern Conference during halftime of the Tigers opening game on Thursday as an SEC Basketball Legend. All 14 SEC mens basketball teams will have a former coach or player honored. Of course, Missouri was a member of the Big Seven when Stewart played guard for the Tigers in the 1950s and the Big Eight and Big 12 when he coached Mizzou during 1967-99.
The other SEC legends:
Alabama: Wimp Sanderson
Arkansas: Jerry Carlton
Auburn: Ronnie Battle
Florida: Bill Koss
Georgia: Tim Bassett
Kentucky: Jamal Mashburn
LSU: Geert Hammink
Mississippi: Rahim Lockhart
Mississippi State: Horatio Webster
South Carolina: Eddie Fogler
Tennessee: Len Kosmalski
Texas A&M: John Beasley
Vanderbilt: Mike Rhodes
ALL-TIME SEC TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONS
3 Florida, Mississippi State
2 Georgia, Vanderbilt
1 Arkansas, LSU, Auburn, Mississippi, Georgia Tech (former member)
RECENT SEC CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES
• 2012: Vanderbilt 71, Kentucky 64 at New Orleans Arena
• 2011: Kentucky 70, Florida 54 at Georgia Dome, Atlanta
• 2010: Kentucky 75, Mississippi State 74, OT at Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tenn.
• 2009: Mississippi State 64, Tennessee 61 at St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa, Fla.
• 2008: Georgia 66, Arkansas 57 at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, Atlanta*
*Championship game moved from Georgia Dome because of storm damage
FUTURE SEC TOURNAMENT SITES
• 2014: Georgia Dome, Atlanta
• 2015: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tenn.
• 2016: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tenn.