Vols' McRae Makes Leap From Bench To Stardom - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Vols' McRae Makes Leap From Bench To Stardom

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Tennessee's Jordan McRae dunks against Oakland during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game last November in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP) Tennessee's Jordan McRae dunks against Oakland during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game last November in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Tennessee guard Jordan McRae's transformation into 1 of the Southeastern Conference's premier performers is as remarkable as his team's late-season emergence as an NCAA tournament contender.

McRae opened the season on the bench and started only 1 of Tennessee's first 12 games. Now he's 1 of the hottest players in the country.

The 6-foot-5 junior is averaging 25.8 points over his last six games for Tennessee, which won 8 of its last nine regular-season games to move into NCAA tournament consideration. Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin believes McRae should be the SEC player of the year.

The fifth-seeded Volunteers (19-11, 11-7 SEC) face either No. 12 seed South Carolina (14-17, 4-14) or No. 13 seed Mississippi State (9-21, 4-14) in their first SEC tournament game Thursday at Nashville, Tenn.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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