Georgia’s Yante Maten has been selected as the preseason SEC Player of the Year and named third-team All-America by Chris Dortch’s Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook. He also was on the publication’s first-team All-SEC squad.
Maten, a 6-8, 243-pound senior forward from Pontiac, Mich., is the SEC’s leading returning scorer after averaging 18.2 points per game last season. He also is the league’s active career leader in points (1,250), rebounds (606) and blocked shots (149).
Maten was a consensus All-SEC honoree following both his sophomore and junior seasons. He was tabbed first-team All-SEC by league coaches and second-team by the Associated Press in 2016-17. Maten also was named to the five-player All-District teams by the National Association of Basketball Coaches and the U.S. Basketball Writers’ Association.
Last season, Maten scored in double figures in 26 of 29 games played. One of the three games when he did not do so was when he suffered a sprained knee 95 seconds into the first half of the Bulldogs’ outing with Kentucky. Maten’s scoring average was deflated somewhat by that contest. Without his abbreviated, scoreless outing against the Wildcats, Maten’s average jumps to 18.9 points per game.
Prior to his injury, Maten was named to the 10-player final Watch List for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award as the nation’s top center. Prior to the 2016-17 season, he was on the 20-player preseason Watch List for the Karl Malone Award for the top power forward in the country. Maten was the only player in the nation who moved from one watchlist to another among the five position player of the year honors administered by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
The Bulldogs return nine of their top-10 scorers and nine players with starting experience during last season. Georgia opens the season in the newly renovated Stegeman Coliseum against Bryant on Friday, Nov. 10. That’s the first of 15 home dates – six non-conference and nine SEC dates – this season.