Auburn basketball: Is Walker Kessler the SEC Defensive Player of the Year?
Auburn basketball has the best freshman in the nation and perhaps the best NBA prospect in the country in Jabari Smith.
Smith, of course, is covered extensively around these parts because of the #1 NBA Draft pick chatter from elsewhere on the FanSided network.
The other key figure in the Tigers frontcourt is shot-blocking extraordinaire/savant/virtuoso Walker Kessler.
Kessler has been historic in that regard in 2021-22:
Walker Kessler has the 40th most (tied) blocks in a single season in NCAA history and the 7th most (tied) blocks in a single season in SEC history.
— joshdub 🦚 (@joshdub_) March 7, 2022
So we’re talking about a shoe-in for the SEC Defensive Player of the Year then…right? Well, let’s not forget that the media votes for these things, and let’s remember what they feel about Bruce Pearl and Auburn in general during a season they should have spent more weeks at #1 but didn’t because of rogue reporters trying to self-aggrandize.
They likely aren’t robbing Smith of accolades due to how obnoxiously heroic he was in performances against Mississippi State and Vanderbilt in wins. #1 pick talk gets you awards typically.
It’d make a ton of sense for Kessler to get his shine taken away, though, since he left college basketball media darling UNC and may stay another year in college. Those things shouldn’t matter, but do to voters with agendas.
Smith himself may be robbed of SEC Player of the Year honors to Oscar Tshiebwe’s benefit. But Kessler could be left without proper recognition for one of the unsung dominant years any player had in the sport.
That’s just how the media does Auburn basketball folks.