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Thompkins earns AP All-SEC honors

ATLANTA -- Kentucky is back in a familiar place -- atop the Southeastern Conference and dominating the league awards.

Freshman sensation John Wall was named player of the year and newcomer of the year on The Associated Press All-Southeastern Conference team released Monday, and John Calipari made it a clean sweep for the Wildcats by taking the coaching honor.

After two tumultuous seasons under Billy Gillispie, Wall and Calipari led Kentucky to its 44th regular-season SEC championship, 26th conference tournament title and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

"I thought we'd have a successful team, but I thought we'd probably have a couple bumps in the road," said junior forward Patrick Patterson, who was there during the tough times. "Earlier in this season, I never would have imagined us at this point we are now."

Wall and another Wildcats freshman, forward DeMarcus Cousins, were both unanimous choices to the first team, as was South Carolina guard Devan Downey. The other first-teamers were Jarvis Varnado of Mississippi State and Georgia's Trey Thompkins.

Thompkins, a Wesleyan grad, was the clear-cut star on a rebuilding Georgia team that was much more competitive than anyone had expected. In addition to finishing second in scoring (17.7), he was fourth in rebounds (8.3).

Patterson led the second team, which also included Chris Warren of Ole Miss, Jermaine Beal of Vanderbilt, Tasmin Mitchell of LSU and Wayne Chism of Tennessee.

Kentucky (32-2) won the regular-season title with a 14-2 mark, then captured the SEC tournament with an overtime victory over Mississippi State in the championship game Sunday.

Wall and Cousins were at their best in that thriller, which locked up a No. 1 seed and set up the Wildcats to face East Tennessee State in the opening round of the NCAAs on Thursday.

Cousins sent the game to overtime with a putback off Wall's missed 3-pointer from the corner, just beating the buzzer to cap a comeback from five points down in the fina 21/2 minutes.

Then, in the extra period, Wall scored seven of his 15 points to lead Kentucky to a 75-74 win.

"They've been doing it all year," Calipari said. "They have an unbelievable will to win."