Gibson Named 2008-09 Pac-10 Defensive Player Of The Year

March 9, 2009

USC forward Taj Gibson was named the 2008-09 Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year and he and fellow junior Daniel Hackett were named to the All-Pac-10 Second Team it was announced today by league commissioner Tom Hansen. In addition, DeMar DeRozan was named to the Pac-10 All-Freshman Team and Gibson and Hackett were named to the five-man conference All-Defensive Team.

Gibson has been a key three-year starter for the Trojans and currently leads the team in scoring (14.4 ppg), rebounding (9.3 rpg), field goal percentage (.588) and blocks (86). His presence in the paint has been a major reason why USC has been able to hold the opposition to 63.4 points per game and to a .407 shooting percentage. On March 7 vs. Oregon State, Gibson had five blocks to give him 86 this season, breaking his school record of 84 blocks in a season set last year. He already owns the school career blocked shots record and his total of 239 ranks third all-time among Pac-10 players. Gibson becomes the first Trojan to earn Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year honors. His selection to the All-Pac-10 Second Team follows last year's selection as a Third Team member.

Hackett joins Gibson on the All-Pac-10 Second Team and on the Pac-10 All-Defensive Team. Hackett has averaged 12.3 points and 4.0 rebounds, while leading USC with 143 assists and 41 steals. He ranks fourth among conference players in assists and assists per game (4.8) and ninth in steals. He has often been asked to guard the opposition's top scorer and ranks third in the conference with 36.9 minutes played per game. Hackett ranks sixth all-time among Trojan players with 340 career assists.

The freshman DeRozan has averaged 12.9 points and 5.3 rebounds in 30 games. He has scored in double figures in 23 of his 30 games with a season-best of 22 vs. Arizona State on Jan. 15. DeRozan currently ranks 6th all-time in scoring by a USC freshman with 386 points, 5th in scoring average (12.9), 5th in FT attempts (117), 6th in FT made (76), T-7th in rebounds (160), 9th in FG% (.518) and T-9th in rebound average (5.3).

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