Alligator Awards: Who was Florida’s best male athlete of 2016-17?

KeVaughn Allen shoots a free throw during Florida’s 84-83 win over Wisconsin in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament on March 24, 2017, at Madison Square Garden. In this edition of the Alligator Awards, we debate which UF male athlete was the best of the 2016-17 season. Sports writers Mari Faiello, Andrew Huang and Morgan McMullen join alligatorSports editors Dylan Dixon and Jake Dreilinger in a roundtable discussion to debate the five nominees. Debates will go in alphabetical order by the writer’s last name.

Dixon: Allen led the Gators to new heights

After back-to-back seasons of lackluster play from the Florida men’s basketball team, UF regained national prominence this year with its trip to the Elite Eight.

While the group’s success can’t be attributed to one single player, I’d be pretty remiss if I didn’t give KeVaughn Allen a good amount of the credit.

Allen was lights out for the Gators during 2016-17, leading them in both points per game (14.0) and free-throw shooting percentage (.883), as well as finishing in the top three in minutes per game (28.6), three-point shooting percentage (.370), assists (53) and steals (45).

The Little Rock, Arkansas, native scored in double digits 24 times this season as well, becoming the first player since Kenny Boynton to eclipse 900 points over his first two years at Florida.

Although their Sweet 16 victory over Wisconsin will always be remembered by Chris Chiozza’s dramatic buzzer beater, the Gators couldn’t have won the game without Allen scoring a career-high 35 points to keep them within reach of the Badgers.

My colleagues might try and convince you otherwise, but in my opinion there’s no way this award could go to anyone other than Allen. The sophomore more than backed it up with his play this season.

Dreilinger: Faedo’s dominance has helped Gators continue legacy

There is only one word needed to describe junior starting pitcher Alex Faedo this season: dominant.

He is Florida baseball’s Friday night starter, the first pitcher the other team sees entering a weekend series. And in most cases this year, he left the opening contest with a win.

The Tampa native went 9-2 in 19 starts this year, and the Gators went 11-3 in the regular season in games that he started. He has also allowed one earned run or less in 13 of his 19 starts this season.

On top of that, he’s leading the team in strikeouts (157) and innings pitched (123.2) and has the lowest ERA (2.26), hits-allowed total (95) and runs-allowed total (39) among UF’s starting pitchers.But what separates him from the rest is his play in the postseason, which allowed the Gators to reach the College World Series for the third straight year.Against Wake Forest in Game 1 of the NCAA Super Regional, Faedo provided four scoreless innings before he was pulled due to a rain delay. He pitched again in Game 3, this time as coming from the bullpen as Florida’s closer to send the Gators to Omaha.In the College World Series, he provided back-to-back […]