UGA men’s basketball senior Yante Maten was voted co-SEC Preseason Player of the Year in voting of a select panel of SEC and national media members. Maten, Missouri’s Michael Porter, Jr., and Texas A&M’s Robert Williams shared the accolade, which was announced Wednesday in association with Tipoff 18, the SEC’s Basketball Media Days.
Maten was also voted first-team All-SEC, along with Porter, Williams, Florida’s KeVaughn Allen and Kentucky’s Hamidou Diallo.
Maten, a 6-8, 243-pound senior forward from Pontiac, Mich., ranked among the SEC statistical leaders in five categories last season – No. 4 in scoring (18.2 pig), No. 9 in rebounding (6.8 rpg), No. 2 in field goal percentage (.519), No. 9 in blocked shots (1.5 bpg) and No. 19 in minutes played (29.0 mpg). He is the leading returning scorer in the SEC and also is the league’s active career leader in points (1,250), rebounds (606) and blocked shots (149).
Wednesday’s honor adds to a growing list of preseason recognition for Maten. He was also named preseason SEC Player of the Year by the Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook. Maten has been tabbed preseason All-America by the Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook (third team), collegesportsmadness.com (fourth team) and NBCsports.com (honorable mention).
Georgia will open the 2017-18 season three weeks from this Friday when the Bulldogs host Bryant at the renewed Stegeman Coliseum at 7 p.m. Georgia returns four starting spots and nine of the top-10 scorers from last year’s team, which earned a postseason bid for the fourth-consecutive year.
When fans arrive at Stegeman Coliseum next month they will be walking in to the final product following more than $20-million in renovations over the past several years.
This summer, the arena received a massive center-hung scoreboard, new black seats, an improved LED lighting system, a state-of-the-art sound system and graphics above the horseshoe end celebrating past teams and retired jerseys. That followed last summer’s work which provided a dramatic mural covering the Coliseum’s distinctive end wall.
In 2010, Stegeman’s concourses received a similar makeover, upgrading the graphics, enhancing spectator access to concessions and restrooms and adding 5,000-square feet of concourse space on each side of the arena. Those efforts won awards from both the American Institute of Architects and the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America.