STARKVILLE, Miss. - Last year, Mississippi State's Jarvis Varnado was named the recipient of the Cellular South Howell Trophy, awarded to the state's top male basketball player.
On Monday, the senior All-SEC forward from Brownsville, Tenn., moved one step closer to being a two-time winner as he was named one of three finalists, joining Ole Miss' Chris Warren and Jackson State's Garrison Johnson.
The winner will be announced on Monday, March 29 in Jackson at the Mississippi Hall of Fame and Museum.
"It was a great honor to receive the award last year," said Varnado, who guided the Bulldogs to a 24-12 ledger and into the second round of the NIT. "To be a finalist again is really special."
And special has been one word that's described Varnado's play.
Earlier this year, he became the NCAA's all-time leading shot blocker and concluded his collegiate career with 564. He also leaves ranked as the school's 13th all-time scorer (1,403) and having started more games (119) than anyone in school history, while he and fellow senior Barry Stewart played in a record 141 games.
As a senior, he led MSU in scoring at 13.8 points, while his 10.3 rebounds was tops in the SEC. He also totaled 18 double-doubles, the second most in the SEC.
In addition, he wrapped up his illustrious career with 1,096 rebounds, second only to the 1,277 hauled in by the legendary Bailey Howell, ironically the namesake of the award.
Two years ago, former Bulldog Jamont Gordon won the award. In 2005, MSU All-American Lawrence Roberts was the winner.