DERRICK BYARS NAMED SEC PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Southeastern Conference coaches named Vanderbilt senior swingman Derrick Byars the 2007 SEC Player of the Year, announced league officials on Wednesday.
Byars ranked as the league's second leading scorer during SEC play, averaging 19.1 points per game and was listed among the league leaders in seven other statistical categories. He helped lead Vanderbilt's (20-10, 10-6 SEC) run to second place in the SEC Eastern Division with several key performances throughout the conference season and posted several clutch performances against ranked opponents.
"It means a great deal to me that the coaching staffs at other schools in the league took notice of my performance," Byars said. "I owe a great deal of thanks to my teammates and coaches at Vanderbilt who have had confidence in me and have always been there to push me to be become a better player."
A two-time SEC Player of the Week award winner this season, Byars recorded his best week in a Vanderbilt uniform in mid-February when he netted a career-high 32 points on 11-of-15 shooting in the Commodores' 78-68 win over South Carolina on Feb. 14. Three days later he tied Foster for team-high honors with 24 points in Vanderbilt's 83-70 victory over then-No. 1 Florida on Feb. 17. Byars made 11-of-19 field goal attempts against the Gators while tying his career-high with eight assists and establishing a new personal best with five steals.
Byars, who is averaging 16.9 points and 5.1 rebounds this season, becomes the third Commodore chosen as the SEC Player of the Year by the league's coaches, joining forward Dan Langhi in 2000 and center Will Perdue in 1988.
"I think he is the most deserving player in the league to win this award," Stallings said. "He has been remarkably consistent, played great in big games and really lifted our team to a different level. Those are the things that league players of the year do."
COLLEGE BASKETBALL EXPERTS TAB BYARS AS CANDIDATE FOR SEC PLAYER OF THE YEAR
A pair of college basketball experts has placed Vanderbilt's Derrick Byars on the radar for consideration for the SEC's Player of the Year award. CBS Sports broadcaster Clark Kellogg and ESPN.com senior college basketball writer Andy Katz both have said recently that Byars' strong play warrants his inclusion among the league's most elite players.
SECOND IN SCORING SINCE START OF LEAGUE PLAY
Byars enters play Saturday second in the SEC in scoring since the start of league action with 19.1 points per contest. He is second only to South Carolina guard Tre Kelley's 21.5 average.
The Memphis native, who transferred from the University of Virginia after two seasons, enters Saturday ranked among the SEC leaders in seven other statistical categories: 3-pointers per game (tied for fifth at 2.53), field goal shooting (seventh at 48.8 percent), 3-point shooting (eighth at 39.2 percent), assists (11th at 3.53), steals (tied for 13th at 1.47), assist-to-turnover ratio (14th at 1.13-to-1) and rebounding (tied for 18th at 5.3).
Continuing to make his case for SEC Player of the Year, Byars put together his best week in a Vanderbilt uniform two weeks ago. The University of Virginia transfer scored a career-high 32 points on 11-of-15 shooting to go along with seven rebounds in the Commodores' 78-68 win over South Carolina on Feb. 14. Three days later he tied Shan Foster for team-high honors with 24 points in Vanderbilt's 83-70 victory over No. 1 Florida on Jan. 17. Byars made 11-of-19 field goals against the Gators while tying his career high with eight assists and establishing a new personal best with five steals.
Byars has keyed several other recent wins including Sunday against Kentucky when he scored 21 of his game-high 26 points in the second half, helping lead Vanderbilt back from a 10-point second-half deficit. Byars rebounded his own missed free throw attempted and hit a floater with 26 seconds remaining to give the Commodores their first lead of the contest. Wednesday at South Carolina he scored eight of his 18 points in overtime as Vanderbilt pulled out a 99-90 victory.
Byars has played a vital role in Vanderbilt's recent success, leading the Commodores in scoring in 10 of their last 14 games -- scoring 20 or more points eight times. His scoring streak started with a 25-point performance at home against then-No. 16 Tennessee on Jan. 10.
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCES VS. RANKED FOES
Byars has performed well against nationally ranked opponents, averaging team highs for points (19.8), rebounds (4.9) and and steals (1.8). He is shooting 53.6 percent from the field (60-of-112) and 37.5 percent from 3-point range (18-of-48) in Vanderbilt's eight games against ranked teams this season.
Byars has led the Commodores in scoring in five of their last six games against ranked teams. He averages 19.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists and shooting 53.6 percent from the field in eight games against ranked opponents.
-- Posted 24 points on 11-of-19 shooting against then-No. 1 Florida on Jan. 17.
ACCOLADES FOR BYARS
Tabbed the midseason SEC Player of the Year by Athlon Sports.
Named National Player of the Week by ESPN's Dick Vitale and CollegeInsider.com after his performances against South Carolina and top-ranked Florida last week.
Earned the SEC Player of the Week (Week 14) after shooting an amazing 64.7 percent from the field (22-of-34), 46.1 percent from 3-point range(6-of-13) and averaging 5.0 assists, 4.0 rebounds, and 3.5 steals in wins over South Carolina and top-ranked Florida. He netted a career-high 32 points against the Gamecocks and posted 24 points with a career highs in assists (eight) and steals (five) against the Gators.
Earned the SEC Player of the Week (Week 11) after he averaged 19.0 points and 6.0 rebounds while shooting 56.5 percent (13-of-23) from the field and 53.8 percent (7-of-13) from 3-point range while helping lead Vanderbilt to wins over nationally ranked Alabama and Kentucky. He registered 15 points and a trio of 3-pointers in Vanderbilt's 94-73 home victory over then-No. 10 Alabama on Jan. 17.He posted a game-high 23 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the field with four 3-pointers and a game-high eight rebounds in the Commodores' 72-67 win at then-No. 25 Kentucky on Jan. 20.
2003-04 (Sophomore at Virginia):
2002-03 (Freshman at Virginia):
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