Gibson And Hackett Named Co-MVPs Of The 2008-09 Trojan Basketball Team
March 31, 2009
LOS ANGELES - Juniors Taj Gibson and Daniel Hackett were named co-MVPs of the 2008-09 USC men's basketball team at the Trojans' annual awards banquet held tonight (March 31) in the Founders Club at the Galen Center.
USC went 22-13 during the 2008-09 season, won the Pac-10 Tournament title and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, defeating Boston College 72-55 before falling 69-74 to No. 8 Michigan State. It was the first time in school history that USC had won 20 or more games in three successive years and had made the NCAA Tournament in three consecutive seasons. The Trojans have won 85 games in Tim Floyd's four years as the USC coach, the most wins in a four-year stretch in school history.
Gibson and Hackett were named co-MVPs as they provided the Trojans with steady leadership thoughout the season while the team battled through injuries, reaching its full potential late in the season when it went 9-1 games in which all players were available to play. Gibson averaged 14.3 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.9 blocks while starting all 35 games for the Trojans. He had 100 blocks in the 2008-09 season to break his school single-season record and finished the year with 253 career blocks, the most ever by a Trojan and third-most all-time by a Pac-10 player. He currently ranks 16th on USC's all-time scoring list with 1,307 points and second in career rebounds with 896. He also was given the Forrest Twogood Award as the top defensive player and earned the Top Rebounder Award.
Hackett led the Trojans and was tied for the Pac-10 lead in assists with 166. He averaged 12.3 points and 4.2 rebounds while starting all 35 games for USC. He logged 37.3 minutes per game, tops for USC and the second-highest among Pac-10 players. Hackett led USC in steals (48), was second in three-point baskets (41), second in free throws made (119) and third in rebounds (148). He also was given the Ernie Holbrook Award as the team's most inspirational player.
USC's leading scorer Dwight Lewis (14.4 ppg) had the team's top free throw percentage of .748 (92-for-123) for players with more than 10 attempts to earn the Joe Barbato Award. The junior led USC in the two NCAA Tournament games with a 19.5 average and became USC's 34th player to reach the 1,000 career points plateau (1,047), joining Gibson (1,307) who also eclipsed the mark during the 2008-09 season.
Fabulous freshman DeMar DeRozan was given the Coaches Award and was co-winner of The Harold Jones Award as most improved along with freshman Nikola Vucevic. DeRozan averaged 13.9 points and 5.7 rebounds while starting all 35 games for USC. DeRozan scored 485 points, the third-most ever by a Trojan freshman to trail only O.J. Mayo (684) and Harold Miner (578). He also grabbed 201 rebounds which are fourth all-time by a Trojan freshman behind Gibson (321), Cliff Robinson (231) and Ken Johnson (220).
Vucevic averaged 2.6 points and 2.7 rebounds in 23 games (three starts) for USC. The native of Bar, Montenegro missed eight games at the beginning of the season while he waited to be cleared by the NCAA and then missed two games in January with a sore back.
The following is a list of all of tonight's award winners:
Sam Barry Award MVP Taj Gibson and Daniel HackettJoe Barbato Award Top FT Percentage Dwight LewisDr. James Zumberge Award Top GPA Keith Wilkinson (Communications, Journalism & Related Studies)John Rudometkin Award 110% Effort Marcus SimmonsTom Kimmel Award Top 6th Man Leonard WashingtonErnie Holbrook Award Most Inspirational Daniel HackettForrest F. Twogood Award Best Defensive Player Taj GibsonThe Harold Jones Award Most Improved DeMar DeRozan and Nikola VucevicCoaches Award Most Coachable DeMar DeRozanTop Rebounder Award Taj Gibson