Kentucky coach John Calipari and the Wildcats were picked to finish second in the SEC behind Tennessee this season.

LEXINGTON — Kentucky was picked to finish second behind Tennessee in the Southeastern Conference media poll released Thursday.

The Wildcats were followed by LSU, Florida, Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, South Carolina, Ole Miss, Missouri, Texas A&M, Mississippi State, Georgia and Vanderbilt in the preseason poll.

Kentucky freshman BJ Boston was one of five players named to the first team, while Wake Forest transfer Olivier Sarr was named to the second team.

Florida freshman Keyontae Johnson was chosen as preseason player of the year.

For just the second time in the past 12 seasons, Kentucky wasn’t chosen to win the league title.

The Wildcats begin the season ranked No. 10 in the preseason Associated Press Top 25 poll.


Kentucky junior Rhyne Howard was named preseason Player of the Year by the Associated Press on Thursday.

Howard, the SEC Player of the Year last season, is the first Kentucky player to receive the preseason honor since it began during the 1994-95 season.

“Rhyne Howard was one of the best players in the nation last season and after seeing how hard she has worked this offseason and preseason, I have no doubt she’ll be in those same conversations this year,” Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell said. “What makes Rhyne so special is how she lifts everyone around her up.

“She is an exceptional person and player and very deserving to be Kentucky’s first AP Preseason All-American. I cannot wait to see what she has in store this season.”