For the third consecutive year, the Mississippi State center was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Year by the league's coaches on Tuesday. The vote was unanimous, and it made Varnado the first three-time winner of the award.
OK, so the award has only been in existence since 2004. But it's hard to argue against the NCAA's all-time leading shot blocker. Varnado, a 6-foot-9 senior, broke Wojciech Mydra's record earlier this season and currently has 542 career swats.
"To be able to do something that's never been done before is special," MSU coach Rick Stansbury said. "That's something that can't ever be taken away from you."
But that wasn't the only award Varnado received Tuesday. Of course, he made the all-defensive team again, but he was also selected to the eight-man All-SEC first team. That's a testament to the strides he's made offensively.
Varnado's 13.5 points per game leads the Bulldogs, and his 57.6 field-goal percentage ranks second in the SEC. He also averages a league-leading 10.6 rebounds per game.
His teammate, sophomore point guard Dee Bost, earned second-team honors. Also on second team was Ole Miss junior point guard Chris Warren.
Reginald Buckner of Ole Miss was named all-freshman.
Wall, Stallings honored
Freshman phenom John Wall of Kentucky was named SEC Player of the Year, joining LSU's Chris Jackson (1989) as the only freshmen to earn the honor. Curiously, the Freshman of the Year honor went to his teammate, DeMarcus Cousins.
Coach of the Year was a bit of a curiosity, too, according to some pundits. Vanderbilt's Kevin Stallings, whose Commodores are the Eastern Division No. 2 seed for this week's SEC Tournament, beat out Kentucky's John Calipari and Tennessee's Bruce Pearl.
Calipari led the No. 2-ranked Wildcats to the regular season league title and likely a No. 1 NCAA tourney seed, and he's done it with three freshmen in his starting lineup.
Pearl has guided No. 15 Tennessee to a 23-7 record despite a major midseason distraction in the form of four Volunteers getting arrested. All-SEC forward Tyler Smith was dismissed from the team.
Gary Parrish, a college basketball writer for CBSSports.com, wrote on his Twitter page that the reason Stallings won is because "other SEC coaches don't like Pearl or Calipari."