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January 5, 2010

Varnado named a finalist for Wooden Award

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State All-SEC senior forward Jarvis Varnado has been named one of the Top 30 candidates for the John R. Wooden Award, the nation's most coveted college basketball honor, the Los Angeles Athletics Club's John R. Wooden Award committee announced on Monday.

The list contains 31 players, not the traditional 30, because the playing status of Ohio State's Evan Turner is uncertain due to a back injury.

Varnado, who has guided the Bulldogs to a nine-game winning streak en route to a 12-2 ledger, is one of three SEC players to make the cut of 30, joining Kentucky's Patrick Patterson and John Wall. The Big East leads the Midseason Top 30 with 6 players selected, followed by the Big 12 and ACC with five. The Big Ten had four, while the Pac-10, Mountain West and West Coast had two, followed by the Horizon League and Ivy League with one selection each. Overall, more than 90 different players received votes.

"It's a great honor to make it this far and to be recognized like this," said Varnado, a native of Brownsville, Tenn. "You look at that list and you see a lot of great players. It's a tremendous honor to be mentioned with those guys."

The winner will be announced on April 9 in Los Angeles.

Through the first 14 games of the season, the 6-foot-9, 230-pound Varnado is averaging 14.1 points and is tops in the SEC in rebounding at 10.8. He also leads the nation with 71 blocked shots and is just 70 shy of tying the NCAA career record.



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