Chandler Parsons kind of hemmed and hawed, laughed at the continued questions and gave the PC answer most would expect.
With one game to go, the Gators senior is focused on trying to win the SEC title outright and not if he’ll be named SEC Player of the Year next week.
Even as he refrains from the discussion, the Casselberry native is in contention for the conference’s top honor.
“I certainly think he should be definitely considered. He’s had a terrific year,” said Florida coach Billy Donovan. “That’s not to take anything away from any of the players in our league that have had a great year. I’m biased because I’ve had a chance to coach him four years and I’ve seen where he’s started and where he’s come to.”
Statistically, Parsons will not overwhelm the others likely in the running.
Vanderbilt’s John Jenkins leads the conference in scoring in SEC play (20.7 ppg), and Kentucky super freshmen Brandon Knight (five-time player of the week) and Terrence Jones (SEC-best 9.0 rpg) are likely the leaders. Tennessee’s Scotty Hopson is likely in the discussion with preseason POY pick Trey Thompkins from Georgia.
In conference play, Parsons ranks in the top five in five categories – minutes played (third – 35.7), rebounds per game (second – 8.9), defensive rebounds per game (first – 6.4), assists per game (fifth – 3.9) and assist-to-turnover ratio (third – 2.3).
He’s averaging 12.3 points in SEC games, which ranks 23rd, but shooting .485 from the floor (14th) and .426 from 3-point range (T-sixth).
“He is really multidimensional. He does a lot for our team. He rebounds, he passes it, he’s shot the ball better, he takes it to the basket, you can put the ball in his hands to make plays,” Donovan said. “I would say that there’s no question as far as versatility’s concerned. He is definitely the most versatile small forward in the league.”
But will that be enough for Parsons to be the first Florida player in the program’s 92-year history to take the award?
If Donovan’s last criterion is included, it just might be. He said it should be given to a guy who has helped his team contend for a championship, whether its the divisional title or the league overall.
Of all the players likely in the running, that leaves just one. Parsons.
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