Finalists Named for Top Miss. Hoops Athlete

The nation's leading shot blocker and a two-time all-Conference USA selection who averaged a double-double this season for Southern Miss are among the finalists for the top male basketball player awards in Mississippi, the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame & Museum announced today.

Mississippi State center Jarvis Varnado, who leads the nation with 170 blocked shots, is among three finalists for the Cellular South Howell Trophy as the top male player. The other finalists are from Ole Miss: Scoring leader David Huertas (18 ppg) and Terrico White, the Southeastern Conference freshman of the year after averaging nearly 14 points a game.

The women's finalists include forward Pauline Love, who averaged 16 points and 10.5 rebounds for USM; all-SEC guard Alexis Rack of Mississippi State; and all-SEC guard Bianca Thomas of Ole Miss. Rack averages 14.6 points for MSU, which is playing a second-round game of the NCAA women's tournament tonight against Ohio State. Thomas leads the Lady Rebels in scoring with a 16-point average. Ole Miss plays a third-round game of the women's NIT on Thursday at South Florida.

The finalists were chosen by a vote of media members from around the state. The winners will be announced on March 30 at a 6:30 p.m. ceremony at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum in Jackson. For ticket information, call the museum office at 800-280-3263.

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