STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State All-SEC senior forward Jarvis Varnado has been named one of 50 candidates for the 2009-10 John R. Wooden Award, organizers announced on Wednesday.
This prestigious honor, named after the legendary UCLA coach, is presented each year to the top basketball player in the country who has proven he is making progress toward graduation and maintaining a cumulative 2.0 GPA. Previous winners include such notables as Larry Bird ('79), Michael Jordan ('84), Tim Duncan ('97) and Blake Griffin ('09).
"It's an honor just to be included in this list," said the 6-foot-9, 230-pound Varnado, who averaged a team-high 12.9 points last year for the Bulldogs. "It's the award players dream of winning."
Varnado enters his senior season wearing the Maroon & White just 93 points shy of becoming the 31st player in school history to score 1,000 for a career.
Last year's SEC Tournament MVP also has 340 career blocked shots and needs just 18 more to tie Shaquille O'Neal's league mark of 412 and 141 more to tie the NCAA record of 535 set by Wojciech Mydra of Louisiana-Monroe.
As a junior, he set both a school and SEC single-season record with 170 blocks.
"To be considered as one of the best players in country is a privilege and something I don't take lightly," Varnado said.
Since its inception, the John R. Wooden Award has contributed close to a million dollars to universities' general scholarship fund.
For a complete list of the candidates, log on to www.WoodenAward.com.