BJ Boston, Olivier Sarr earn Preseason All-SEC honors from league coaches

Kentucky, along with, Alabama, Florida, LSU, South Carolina and Tennessee, all have multiple selections

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – A week after earning selection to the preseason All-Southeastern Conference Teams by the media, Kentucky men’s basketball newcomers Brandon Boston Jr. and Olivier Sarr were tabbed to the coaches’ ballots.

Boston, who earned first-team distinction by the media, is also a member of the eight-man first-team squad as picked by the league’s 14 head coaches. Sarr is a second-team representative and was also on the media’s second team as well.

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Kentucky, along with, Alabama, Florida, LSU, South Carolina and Tennessee, all have multiple selections. In all, 34 different players received votes for the coaches’ teams.

The coaches’ preseason All-SEC first and second teams consist of a minimum of eight players on each squad, voted on by the SEC basketball coaches. No ties were broken and no predicted order of finish was made.

Boston was joined on the All-SEC First Team by Alabama’s John Petty Jr., Florida’s Keyontae Johnson, LSU’s Javonte Smart and Trendon Watford, South Carolina’s AJ Lawson, and Tennessee’s John Fulkerson and Yves Pons.

Also listed on the second team alongside Sarr was Alabama’s Herbert Jones, Arkansas’ Desi Sills, Florida’s Scottie Lewis, Ole Miss’ Devontae Shuler, Missouri’s Dru Smith, South Carolina’s Jermaine Couisnard, Texas A&M’s Savion Flagg and Vanderbilt’s Scotty Pippen Jr.

Boston is a consensus five-star prospect and Kentucky’s top-ranked player in the 2020 class, he averaged 19.7 points and 7.0 rebounds per game at Sierra Canyon his senior season. He helped lead the team to a 30-4 mark and a No. 2 national ranking. Boston was named the California Male Athlete of the Year and the California Basketball Player of the Year by USA Today. He was also tabbed a First Team Naismith All-American, Second Team Sports Illustrated All-American, SLAM Magazine All-American, California Mr. Basketball and the Gold Coast League MVP.

Boston was selected to the McDonald’s All American Game, the Allen Iverson Roundball Classic and the Jordan Brand Classic. He averaged 22.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.9 steals per game in the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League circuit prior to his senior season. Boston earned 2018-19 MaxPreps Boys Basketball Junior All-American Team honorable mention distinction after averaging 18.4 points, 5.4 rebounds 1.9 steals while leading his previous high school in Norcross, Georgia to the state semifinals as a junior.

Earlier this month, Boston was named to the Julius Erving Award preseason watch list. The Erving Award goes to the nation’s top small forward, as chosen by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Sarr is on a similar Hall of Fame list as one of 20 players selected for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar watch list, awarded annually to the nation’s top center.

Sarr, who was granted immediately eligibility last month after transferring from Wake Forest, will provide the Wildcats a big boost upfront. The 7-footer enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2019-20 with the Demon Deacons, averaging 13.7 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game. He shot 52.7% from the floor, made the All-Atlantic Coast Conference Third Team and was the runner-up for the 2020 ACC Most Improved Player award.

Widely regarded as one of the nation’s top transfers, Sarr totaled 664 points, 496 rebounds and 81 blocks with 31 starts in three seasons at Wake Forest. In his third season with the Demon Deacons, he led the team with 11 double-doubles and 33 blocks, scored in double figures in 23 games, and was a two-time ACC Player of the Week. Sarr was particularly good late in conference play, finishing on a six-game double-figure scoring run with three double-doubles.

Included in that season-ending tear was a 20-point, 13-rebound game vs. Pitt in the 2019-20 finale, a career-high 30 points and 17 rebounds in a win vs. Notre Dame, and 25 points in a double-overtime victory over Duke. Sarr also enjoyed three straight double-doubles in January vs. Virginia, Clemson and Boston College and recorded 21 points and 13 rebounds vs. nationally ranked Arizona.

Prior to his career at Wake Forest, Sarr played for the French National Team at the U-17 and U-18 levels. He will be the 10th 7-footer in UK history and the first since Isaac Humphries in 2016-17.

Kentucky will begin its season Nov. 25 vs. Morehead State in the first of three games in the Bluegrass Showcase at Rupp Arena on Wednesday at 6 p.m. The game will air live on SEC Network.

UK’s 2020-21 revised schedule was released last week. It features 27 games before postseason play, nine against some of the best nonconference opponents in the country and 18 in the always difficult SEC.

UK Athletics also recently announced a reduced capacity/distanced seating plan to host fans at Rupp Arena in the healthiest manner possible for the 2020-21 season based on the recommendations from state health officials. Anticipated attendance for the season will be up to 15% of normal arena capacity. All plans are subject to change based on evolving information as well as local, state and national public health developments. Information available tickets and game-day changes can be found here.

For the latest on the Kentucky men’s basketball team, follow @KentuckyMBB on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and on the web at UKathletics.com.

All-SEC First Team
John Petty Jr. – Alabama
Keyontae Johnson – Florida
Brandon Boston Jr. – Kentucky
Javonte Smart – LSU
Trendon Watford – LSU
AJ Lawson – South Carolina
John Fulkerson – Tennessee
Yves Pons – Tennessee

All-SEC Second Team
Herbert Jones – Alabama
Desi Sills – Arkansas
Scottie Lewis – Florida
Olivier Sarr – Kentucky
Devontae Shuler – Ole Miss
Dru Smith – Missouri
Jermaine Couisnard – South Carolina
Savion Flagg – Texas A&M
Scottie Pippen, Jr. – Vanderbilt

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Bryan Kennedy hails from the Bluegrass State. He was born and raised in Owensboro, KY where he graduated from Apollo High School in 2006. Bryan graduated from the University of Kentucky with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Spanish in 2010. He also received his master's degree in Sports Media and Branding from Western Kentucky University. While at UK, Bryan was the general manager of the on-campus TV station. He also did sports reporting, anchoring, producing and even the weather for UK Student News Network. While working for UKSNN, he also had the pleasure of covering Coach John Calipari's first press conference when he was introduced as the new head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats; easily one of his favorite moments as a young sports reporter. Before coming to ABC 36, Bryan was a morning anchor and reporter at WXXV News 25, our sister station in Gulfport, MS. He anchored more than four hours of news every day, including morning shows on NBC and Fox. While down south, Bryan had the opportunity to cover the Sugar Bowl, New Orleans Saints and the New Orleans Pelicans. After spending a little more than two years at WXXV, Bryan is extremely excited to return home. In his spare time, Bryan enjoys playing sports, especially rugby. He also enjoys crossfitting and watching sports (obviously). He's extremely excited to cover Central Kentucky. Feel free to say hello and send story ideas toBKennedy@wtvq.com