Varnado Three-Peats As SEC's Top Defender

The SEC's Defensive Player of the Year award has only been given out since 2004. But the league might reasonably think about renaming the recognition as the Jarvis Varnado Award, seeing as how the Mississippi State center just won it for the third and final time.

Senior Varnado was the unanimous pick for the league's top defensive player for this third-straight March, meaning he has won the honor nearly half the seven times it has been awarded. This was not a surprise of course seeing how the 6-9 postman from Brownsville, Tenn., will lead the SEC in blocked shots for his third-straight year; and that he two weeks ago became the all-time NCAA leader in swats.

Tuesday not only saw Varnado add one more Defensive POTY honor to his Mississippi State resume. He was voted first-team All-SEC by league coaches, the second time he's made the Coaches first-unit. The first team had eight players on it with five unanimous picks, though Varnado was not one of these. Going into this week's conference tournament Varnado is averaging a double-double at 13.6 points and 10.6 rebounds, the latter topping the league for the regular season. His 17 double-double games this winter are second-most in the SEC.

As of this week he is second in the NCAA in blocks per-game and 13th in rebounding, and has the 11th-most double-doubles. Meanwhile Varnado is making his case for the biggest national honors as one of 30 finalists for both the Wooden and Naismith awards given the land's top overall collegian. This week he has been named to the All-District IV team by the US Basketball Writers Association.

The MSU roster got another recognition from SEC coaches as sophomore point guard Dee Bost was named second-team All-SEC. He was a member of the Freshman All-SEC team last March. None of the eight second-team selections were unanimous picks.

Mississippi State (21-10, 9-7 SEC) tied with Ole Miss for the 2010 Western Division Championship and will be seeded #1 out of the West in this week's SEC Tournament. The Bulldogs will play the winner of Thursday's Auburn-Florida game at 6:00 Friday.

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