By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky faces a SEC showdown with Tennessee Saturday night in Rupp Arena. The Volunteers have been terrific all season and many believe that junior Grant Williams is the top contender for SEC Player of the Year and senior Admiral Schofield is the other Tennessee player that gets the most national attention.
But don’t overlook guard Jordan Bone. Tennessee coach Rick Barnes says the junior has “improved as much as anyone I’ve coached” and some even are making a case that Bone might be Tennessee’s most important player.
He’s got an explosive first step that will certainly challenge UK freshman Ashton Hagans’ defensive ability — especially after Hagans was ineffective against LSU’s Tremont Waters Tuesday — and he has been terrific in transition. He’s also become a more consistent 3-point shooter in conference play.
He’s averaging 13.5 points, 6.8 assists and 3.2 rebounds per game and could be the key to Saturday’s showdown.
“He’s really an integral part of this. I don’t think there is any question I have coached him as hard as any player I have ever coached,” Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said. “We know point guard is the most important position and he is 2 1/2 years in the making. He is starting to connect the dots and get more consistent. I really believe his best basketball is ahead of him.”
South Carolina coach Frank Bone thought Bone was already plenty good enough after his team lost to the Vols Wednesday night.
“We can’t ever keep Bone in front of us. He’s got us on our heels the whole time,” Martin said. “Jordan Bone presents a problem for everyone in the country, not just us.”