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April 5, 2010

Varnado named Defensive Player of the Year

STARKVILLE, Miss. - It's become pretty clear. Jarvis Varnado was the best defensive player in college basketball this past season.

Three weeks ago the Southeastern Conference coaches tabbed the Mississippi State standout the league's defensive player of the year for the third-straight season. Soon after, Sporting News and Rivals.com followed suit. Then on Friday, CollegeInsider.com named him the inaugural recipient of the Lefty Driesell Award, which honors the nation's top defender.

The trend continued Sunday night in Indianapolis when the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) named him their defensive player of the year.

Not bad for a kid out of Brownsville, Tenn., that didn't garner a lot of scholarship offers coming out of high school.

"I just want to thank everyone who gave me a chance," said the 6-foot-9 Varnado, who received the award at the Murat Centre in Indianapolis Sunday night. "It's something I'm very proud of, but a lot of credit goes to my coaches and teammates. I've been blessed"

This past year as a senior, Varnado became the 31st player in MSU history to score 1,000 points. He finished 13th all-time with 1,403 points, while his 1,096 rebounds are second best.

Yet, he'll be remembered most for his shot blocking ability.

Against Alabama on Feb. 24 at Humphrey Coliseum, he became the NCAA's career leader, breaking the mark of 535 set by former Louisiana-Monroe standout Wojciech Myrda. He finished with 564 after swatting 170 this past season, which tied the SEC single-season record he set as a junior.

He ended his illustrious career by becoming the first player in the history of college basketball to score 1,000 points, total 1,000 rebounds and block 500 shots for a career.

About the National Association of Basketball Coaches

Located in Kansas City, Missouri, the NABC was founded in 1927 by Forrest "Phog" Allen, the legendary basketball coach at the University of Kansas . Allen, a student of James Naismith, the inventor of basketball, organized coaches into this collective group to serve as Guardians of the Game. The NABC currently claims nearly 5,000 members consisting primarily of university and college men's basketball coaches. All members of the NABC are expected to uphold the core values of being a Guardian of the Game by bringing attention to the positive aspects of the sport of basketball and the role coaches play in the academic and athletic lives of today's student-athletes. The four core values of being a Guardian of the Game are advocacy, leadership, service and education.

Other NABC Award Winners:

Pete Newell Big Man of the Year, Presented by YRC Worldwide - Greg Monroe, Georgetown

Defensive Player of the Year - Jarvis Varnado, Mississippi State

Career Achievement Awards - Sherron Collins, Kansas; Scottie Reynolds, Villanova; Jon Schreyer, Duke; Greivis Vasquez , Maryland

Division I Player of the Year - Evan Turner, Ohio State

Division I Coach of the Year - Jim Boeheim, Syracuse


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