Both local college basketball squads took home conference honors today, which was to be expected from the No. 2 and No. 4 seeds in the upcoming Pac-10 Tournament. Senior guard Marcus Simmons of the USC Trojans was named the conference Defensive Player of the Year, while his teammate Nikola Vucevic was named to All Pac-10 First Team. Joining Vucevic on the First Team were Tyler Honeycutt, Reeves Nelson, and Malcolm Lee of the UCLA Bruins.
Simmons was the first Trojan to be named Defensive Player of the Year since Taj Gibson in 2009. USC head coach Kevin O'Neill today called Simmons "the best one-on-one defender in the whole country." Vucevic, the junior forward from Montenegro led the conference with 20 double-doubles this season, and also paced the Pac-10 averaging 10.3 boards per contest this season.
Nelson was the 10th-leading scorer in the Pac-10 at 14.2 points per game, and was third in rebounding at 8.9 per game. Honeycutt averaged 12.4 points and 7.8 rebounds for the Bruins, and led the conference with 2.0 blocks per contest. Nelson, Honeycutt, and Lee were the only three Bruins to average over 30 minutes per game this season. Lee joined Simmons on the Pac-10 All Defensive Team.