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USC's Taj Gibson is named Pacific 10 Conference defensive player of the year

UCLA guard Darren Collison makes the All-Pac-10 team for the second time in his career.

March 10, 2009|Staff Reports

USC forward Taj Gibson was named Pacific 10 Conference defensive player of the year Monday, and UCLA guard Darren Collison made the All-Pac-10 team for the second time in his career.

Conference coaches voted Arizona State's James Harden player of the year and Washington guard Isaiah Thomas freshman of the year. Lorenzo Romar, who guided the Huskies to their first outright title since 1953, was named coach of the year.

Among local players, Gibson and Daniel Hackett of USC made the second team, as did UCLA swingman Josh Shipp. USC's DeMar DeRozan and UCLA's Jrue Holiday were on the freshman team. Gibson, Hackett, Collison and UCLA center Alfred Aboya were on the defensive team.

-- David Wharton

Akognon is honored

Cal State Fullerton guard Josh Akognon, who averaged 23.5 points a game and ranked in the top 10 nationally in scoring all season, was named the Big West Conference player of the year.

Fullerton Coach Bob Burton praised Akognon, a senior, for thriving despite the array of defenses designed to stymie him.

"I don't think I've ever seen a kid face more defenses in my life," Burton said. "Box and one, triangle and two, face-guarding. The bottom line is nobody ever leaves the kid."

Also on the first team were senior forward Tremaine Townsend of Cal State Northridge, senior guard Vince Oliver of UC Davis, senior forward Chris Devine of UC Santa Barbara, sophomore forward Kyle Austin of UC Riverside and freshman guard Larry Anderson of Long Beach State. Anderson also was named freshman of the year.

Bobby Braswell, coach of the Northridge team that won the regular-season title despite losing leading scorer Deon Tresvant and starting point guard Josh Jenkins, was selected coach of the year. Tresvant is being held out because he faces felony theft charges, and Jenkins suffered internal injuries in a Feb. 14 automobile accident in which the driver died.

-- Robyn Norwood

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