Tennessee senior forward Ron Slay was named the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year today by the Associated Press on Monday.
The AP tabbed Kentucky's Tubby Smith SEC Coach of the Year.
Slay, the SEC's leading scorer, enters this week's league tournament averaging 21.6 points per game.
The Nashville senior is UT's first wire service SEC Player of the Year since Tony White (UPI) won the award in 1987 in a vote by the league's coaches. Slay is the first Tennessee player to earn AP SEC Player of the Year honors since Dale Ellis in 1983.
"If you go back to last year, when (Slay) had the (ACL) injury, how he refocused everything and came back with a businesslike approach, what he's done the last several months is awesome," UT coach Buzz Peterson said.
"You look at how mature he was about everything and how he picked this team up another notch and led them to some postseason activity."
Earlier this week, Slay was named by ESPN basketball guru Dick Vitale and CollegeInsider.com as the SEC's top player this season.
Slay was also added to the John R. Wooden Award list of 22 finalists for this year's national collegiate player of the year.
Three Lady Vols invited to NCAA Indoors
Nicole Cook, Toyin Olupona and Dee Dee Trotter of the Lady Vol track and field team have been invited to compete in the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships.
The Lady Vol trio of sophomores will travel to Fayetteville, Ark., for the meet, which begins March 14 at the Randal Tyson Track Center on the University of Arkansas campus.
Cook and Trotter will be making their second-consecutive appearances at the national indoor gathering, earning spots in Friday's prelims of the 800-meter dash and 200m, respectively.
Olupona, meanwhile, gained her first NCAA berth, qualifying in the 60m.
Senior pole vaulter Christie Elwin, who posted a school-record clearance of 13-2.25/4.02m at the SEC Indoor Championships two weekends ago, wasn't as fortunate.
The Adelaide, Australia, native stood alone at 18th on the NCAA qualifying list, but the selection committee decided to accept only 17 vaulters into the meet. That limit left Elwin just short of her goal of returning to NCAAs for the first time since the 2000 indoor event.
"It's good to see that we have some individuals going to the NCAA Championships," UT coach J.J. Clark said. "It's the first time for Toyin and the second-straight year for Dee Dee and Nicole.
"We just want them to go and compete at their very best and see what happens."
Slay honored as SEC's best
Published: Wed Mar 12, 2003 | Modified: Sat Aug 06, 2005 04:56 p.m.