Gerrity And Lewis Named 2009-10 USC Basketball MVPs

March 30, 2010

Seniors Mike Gerrity and Dwight Lewis were named co-MVPs of the 2009-10 USC men's basketball team at the Trojans' annual awards banquet held tonight (March 30) in the Founders Club at the Galen Center.

USC was 16-14 during the 2009-10 season and were in the thick of the conference race until the final two weeks, settling for a fifth-place tie. USC strung together an eight-game winning streak which included a 77-55 win vs. a Tennessee team that advanced to the Elite 8 and wins vs. NCAA Tournament teams St. Mary's and UNLV en route to capturing the inaugural Diamond Head Classic tournament in Hawaii. The Trojans were 6-3 vs. 2010 NCAA Tournament teams and those teams went 8-6 in the tournament. USC had the top scoring defense in the conference at 57.2 points per game and held the opposition to a conference-best 38.4 shooting percentage.

Gerrity and Lewis were named co-MVPs and recipients of the Sam Barry Award, providing USC with steady leadership throughout the season as the team battled through injuries, players having to sit out a semester and then the self-imposed postseason ban. Gerrity played only one semester for USC after transferring from Charlotte, but it was a special one. In his first game back, the senior led the Trojans to the upset over then-No. 9 Tennesse with 12 points and 10 assists while playing 37 minutes. He then captured MVP honors at the Diamond Head Classic with 47 points and seven assists in the three game title run. He averaged 9.3 points and 3.6 assists in 22 games and was the only Trojan with a positive assists to turnover ratio. Gerrity, a Sociology major, also was the winner of the Dr. James Zumberge Award for the highest GPA on the team.

Lewis led USC in scoring for the second consecutive season, finishing with an average of 13.8 points and 2.9 rebounds per game. He finished his USC career 10th all-time in scoring by a Trojan with 1,460 points and ninth in three-point baskets made with 149. Lewis is also USC's all-time leader in games played having appeared in 133, including 105 starts. Lewis also won the Joe Barbato Award for the highest free throw percentage on the team for the second consecutive year as he hit 76.9 percent of his shots from the charity stripe (80-for-104),

USC's second-leading scorer sophomore Nikola Vucevic picked up two awards, earning the Harold Jones Memorial Award for the most improved player and the Top Rebounder Award. Vucevic averaged 10.7 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. He led the Pac-10 in rebounding and his total of 283 rebounds rank third all-time for a Trojan sophomore. Vucevic improved 8.1 points per game in scoring and added 6.7 more rebounds per game from his freshman year. The sophomore also posted his first 10 career double-doubles which ranked second among Pac-10 players during the regular season.

Junior Marcus Simmons was also a two-time winner as he was given the Tom Kimmel 6th Man Award and joined Alex Stepheson as co-winners of the Forrest F. Twogood Memorial Award for best defensive player. Simmons played in 29 of USC's 30 games and made six starts, averaging 3.0 points and 2.0 rebounds per game. Simmons was often asked to cover the opponents top guard and contributed offensively the more minutes he played, scoring seven or more points in six of the nine games he played 20+ minutes. In his limited minutes he finished sixth on the team in assists (24), fifth in blocks (8) and seventh in steals (12).

Stepheson in his first season as a Trojan after transferring from North Carolina, scored 8.4 points and grabbed 7.2 rebounds per game. He led USC and was third among Pac-10 players with 44 blocks. The junior was also the Pac-10s top offensive rebounder, averaging 3.4 offensive rebounds per game.

Senior Marcus Johnson was honored with the John Rudometkin Award for 110 pecent effort. He was a key component to the Trojans top-notch defense, adding toughness to the unit and leading the team with 42 steals. Johnson averaged 9.6 points and 4.6 rebounds per game, both third-best on the Trojans.

The Ernie Holbrook Memorial Award for most inspirational was given to junior guard Donte Smith. Smith started USC's first eight games at point guard and finished second on the Trojans with 20 three-point baskets. In 29 games, Smith averaged 3.8 points, 1.1 rebounds and 1.0 assists. Smith matched a career high with 12 points in the 68-64 win vs. UCLA on Feb. 14 which completed the season sweep over the crosstown rival Bruins.

The following is a list of all of tonight's award winners:

Sam Barry Award MVP Mike Gerrity and Dwight LewisJoe Barbato Award Top FT Percentage Dwight LewisDr. James Zumberge Award Top GPA Mike Gerrity (Sociology)John Rudometkin Award 110% Effort Marcus JohnsonTom Kimmel Award Top 6th Man Marcus SimmonsErnie Holbrook Award Most Inspirational Donte SmithForrest F. Twogood Award Best Defensive Player Marcus Simmons and Alex StephesonThe Harold Jones Award Most Improved Nikola VucevicTop Rebounder Award Nikola Vucevic

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