NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) The Latest from SEC men's basketball media day on Wednesday (all times local):
In the first injury news of the SEC basketball season, Tennessee coach Rick Barnes arrived for his news conference Wednesday at SEC media day wearing a sling after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery.
Barnes said at the start of preseason practice that he's been wearing the sling since late September and was told at the time that he would need it for six weeks. That should enable him to have the sling removed in plenty of time for Tennessee's Nov. 11 season opener with Chattanooga.
South Carolina coach Frank Martin says he has dropped 35 pounds during the offseason to make up for the weight gain that had occurred in the early years of his tenure.
Martin said he weighs somewhere between 259-263 pounds now and wants to get to 250. He said he was ''touching 296'' in April.
''I cut out the two things I love the most in life outside of my wife – bread and rice,'' Martin quipped. ''I started working out pretty hard again. … I don't do sodas. I don't drink alcohol, but I like me a piece of dessert, so we had to cut that out.''
Martin offered a simple reason for changing his diet and workout habits.
''I want to be a father to my children,'' Martin said. ''That's the most important thing to me in my life. I want to see them grow and I don't want to deprive myself of that because I don't take care of myself.''
Martin said he had gotten out of shape from all the hours spent trying to build South Carolina into a winning program.
''There were a lot of nights shaking hands, doing dinners, having late-night conversations, eating junk food at midnight trying to turn every stone, watch every minute of tape, make every phone call to bring fans back into the building, to recruit a better player, to be better as a coach to help your present players,'' Martin said. ''That beats you up a little bit. I stopped working out and my eating habits kind of soured.''
LSU coach Johnny Jones says it is fair to criticize him for the Tigers' inability to earn an NCAA Tournament bid last season with the No. 1 overall NBA draft pick Ben Simmons on the roster.
''I'll be that guy who will stand up and say anything that was lacking in last year's team, you can certainly point it at me,'' Jones said Thursday. ''I'm the head basketball coach. At the end of the day, all that falls on my shoulder and we continue to get better. But at the end of the day, if you're in the top three in a conference of this magnitude, you'd think you'd get in the NCAA Tournament, but you just didn't have any control over that.''
Jones stopped short of saying the entire season was a disappointment, pointing to LSU's accomplishments. The Tigers went 19-14 overall and 11-7 in conference play to finish in a three-way tie for third place in the league.
''I think at the end of the day, not making the tournament was a disappointment, but we did not declare that as a disappointing year for us,'' Jones said. ''We were 8-1 at home (in conference play). We had a tremendous fan base. We averaged over 11,000 fans a game, the third-largest increase in the country last year. So a lot of positive things happened for our team last year.''
Kentucky is the media favorite yet again to win the Southeastern Conference basketball title.
A media panel made the Wildcats as the overall preseason pick for the 12th time since the 1998-99 season in voting announced Wednesday.
Florida was picked to finish second, followed by Texas A&M, Georgia, Arkansas, Vanderbilt, Alabama, South Carolina, Mississippi and Mississippi State rounding out the top 10. Rounding out the preseason picks is Auburn at 11, followed by LSU, Tennessee and Missouri.
Arkansas senior forward Moses Kingsley is the preseason player of the year.
Georgia's J.J. Frazier, Tyler Davis of Texas A&M and Kentucky teammates Edrice ''Bam'' Adebayo and De'Aaron Fox join Kingsley on the preseason All-SEC team with another pair of Wildcats on the second-team in Isaiah Briscoe and Malik Monk.