Florida Gators senior point guard Chris Chiozza was named to the 2018 Coaches All-SEC First Team and All-Defensive team on Tuesday.
Going into the SEC Tournament, he leads the conference with 6.1 assists per game, 188 total assists and a +3.30 assist to turnover ratio. He ranks second in total steals (58) and steals per game (1.87).
He comes in fourth on the team, averaging 11.0 points per game and his 4.5 rebounds per game are the third highest for the Gators.
This is his very first time earning All-SEC honors.
“I really just found out before I walked in here,” Chiozza said. “I mean, it’s a great accomplishment, something I didn’t think I would do. My last three years, my goal was to be on the defensive team. I told coach that at the beginning of the year. That’s a great feeling to have to know that I set that goal and got it. I’m just going to try and come out there and play defense like that every night.”
Chiozza became Florida’s defensive leader in his senior season, and really a leader in every aspect of the game. Without him, this team wouldn’t have accomplished half of what it has this season.
He is the only guard to make this year’s All-Defensive Team, and the fourth Florida point guard to earn the honor in the last six seasons.
He explained why the honor meant so much to him.
“Just because I knew how good of a defender I was, and I showed it a little bit last year and it was just something I wanted to do,” Chiozza said. “I know that me playing defense would be a big boost to our team, especially since we didn’t always play defense this year. I think it’s important for somebody to be able to set that example every day and that’s just what I try to do.”
Chiozza was the only Florida player to earn honors, while leading scorer Jalen Hudson, leading rebounder Egor Koulechov and former first-teamer KeVaughn Allen were all snubbed.
“I’m a little surprised,” Chiozza said of the lack of recognition for his teammates. “We’ve definitely got some guys on here that deserve to get some awards at the end of the year. If I could choose, I would pick all our guys. That’s why they don’t let me choose the teams.”
Now that conference awards are out of the way, the Gators must refocus on what really matters—the SEC Tournament.
Florida comes in as the No. 3 seed and will play either South Carolina, Ole Miss or Arkansas in quarterfinals on Friday night.
The Gators have not made it past quarterfinals in Chiozza’s career, so he will have a chance for another first this weekend.
“We want to try to win the whole thing, but we are just going to take it one game at a time,” he said. “I didn’t know that Friday was as far as I’d made it. So, of course if we win Friday, it’s going to be something I’ve never done before, to get to Saturday. But we’re not going to just get too excited over that if we win. We’re just going to go out there and play hard every game and just leave it all on the court.”