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March 10, 2010

Varnado receives national honor

STARKVILLE, Miss. - One day after being tabbed the SEC's defensive player of the year for the third-consecutive season, Mississippi State senior forward Jarvis Varnado received the same accolade from Sporting News.

"I think it's very obvious people throughout the country recognize what he's been able to achieve," 12th-year MSU coach Rick Stansbury said. "As I've said many times, he's achieved something no one in the history of college basketball has every done."

Of course, Stansbury is referring to Varnado's shot blocking abilities.

He currently has 148 on the year, the fifth-highest total in a single-season in SEC history. But on Feb. 24 against Alabama at Humphrey Coliseum, he became the NCAA career leader, breaking the mark of 535 set by former Louisiana-Monroe standout Wojciech Myrda from 1999-2002.

For his career, he has 542. Last year, he set the SEC single-season mark with 170.

"It's a great honor," the All-SEC and 6-foot-9, 230-pound Brownsville, Tenn., native said. "I've worked very hard and it's nice to be recognized. Hopefully, I've got a few more blocks to get."

To date, Varnado ranks third in school history with 1,056 rebounds and 11th with 1,324 points. He's also the only player in NCAA history to have 1,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 500 blocked shots for a career.

"Jarvis is a magnificent defender and plays the game with an uncommon degree of humility for someone so accomplished," Sporting News columnist Mike DeCourcy said. "I don't think there have been many shot blockers who would best be described as 'graceful,' but that's exactly the word that comes to mind with Jarvis. He was an easy choice for our staff as Defensive Player of the Year."

Varnado and the rest of his teammates continue their season at 6:30 p.m. on Friday in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville against Thursday's Florida-Auburn winner.

Following is the complete list of winners:

Player of the year: Evan Turner, Ohio State

Coach of the year: Jim Boeheim, Syracuse

Freshman of the year: John Wall, Kentucky

Sixth man of the year: Scoop Jardine, Syracuse

Defensive player of the year: Jarvis Varnado, Mississippi State

Most improved player: John Shurna, Northwestern

Comeback player of the year: Jerome Dyson, Connecticut



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