The Southeastern Conference is known for its athletic excellence at the collegiate level, but so many SEC student-athletes find success among the professional ranks as well. From the NFL to Major League Baseball and everything in between, the SEC sits at the pinnacle of developing professional stars. Here are a few SEC alumni in this week's headlines:
Stacy Lewis wins four-way playoff to secure first title since 2017
Former SEC and NCAA champion Stacy Lewis regained LPGA glory on Sunday, winning the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open after a four-way playoff. Lewis (-5) sank a 23-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole to claim her 13th career LPGA Tour title and first since 2017.
The four-time Arkansas All-American has inspired many with her incredible story, which was chronicled in the SEC Storied documentary, "Stacy's Gift." Lewis was diagnosed with scoliosis at age 11, but overcame all obstacles to have an exceptional college career and become the world's No. 1 ranked golfer as a professional.
After so much success on the links, Lewis wanted to give back to the Razorbacks program that helped shape her. The most decorated golfer in school history returned to Fayetteville as a volunteer assistant coach, a post that Lewis still holds today while continuing to collect LPGA accolades.
Devin Booker lights up the bubble as Suns stay unbeaten in Orlando
Devin Booker is known for his scoring prowess. Case in point - Booker's healthy career average of 22.5 points per game and his 70-point outburst against the Celtics in 2017.
But what Booker did in the NBA bubble elevated him to new heights.
The former All-SEC performer at Kentucky averaged 30.5 PPG and led Phoenix to a perfect 8-0 record. Booker scored at least 20 points in every game in Orlando and nearly carried the Suns to their first playoff appearance since 2010. Though the team fell a half-game shy and saw its postseason drought enter a new decade, there's no doubting what Booker has done.
He may have been SEC Sixth Man of the Year with the Wildcats, but don't expect to see Booker off the bench anytime soon.
Aaron Nola's strikeout numbers up, ERA down in August
Aaron Nola has proven nearly unhittable in the month of August. The former all-everything at LSU has caught fire for the Phillies, striking out 30 batters over his last three starts, including 12 in just six innings of work against the Yankees on Aug. 5. The 12 Ks tied Nola's career high and set the tone for what came next.
Nola won his ensuing two starts, striking out 10 Braves on Aug. 10 and sending eight Mets to the bench in seven scoreless innings on Saturday. In three August starts, Nola has allowed just two runs on eight hits in 21 innings pitched. His August ERA is a microscopic 0.86, bringing his season mark down to 2.05.
The only two-time SEC Pitcher of the Year is settling in nicely for his sixth season in Philly. A former first-round pick, Nola has surpassed 220 strikeouts in consecutive seasons and appears on track for another great year, despite the pandemic-shortened schedule.
Tyler Herro sets career high as Heat march into postseason
Tyler Herro's rookie season has been a resounding success. The No. 13 overall pick out of Kentucky has averaged 13.5 points in more than 27 minutes per game for Miami. None of those games saw Herro score more than his 30-point showing in the bubble last Wednesday.
The All-SEC Second Team selection scorched the Thunder for 30 points, setting the high-water mark of his budding career. Herro, 20, became the youngest player in Heat history to score 30 points, and did so while besting even his college career high of 29.
Herro was 9-16 from the floor against OKC, including a nifty transition bucket, and 9-9 from the free throw line. In eight games in Orlando, Herro did not miss a free throw, going 21-21 at the charity stripe.
As the Heat look ahead to the playoffs, Herro figures to be a major piece of Miami's championship hopes.