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Marcus Simmons Named Defensive Player of the Year

Shotgun Spratling |
March 8, 2011 | 1:25 p.m. PST

Associate Sports Editor

Marcus Simmons is known as USC's defensive stopper.

Every night, the 6-foot-6 senior is tasked with shutting down the opposing team's best wing player. And once he locks in on an offensive player, he's like a carnivore clamping his jaws on the jugular of a helpless prey.

On Monday, Simmons was honored by the Pac-10 as the conference Defensive Player of the Year. He was also named to FoxSports.com's national All-Defensive team.

"I don't really care anything about [the award]," Simmons said. "I just wanted to do my task the team gave me to stop the opposing team's best player."

Simmons has locked down everyone from some of the country's most dangerous scorers in Texas' 6-foot-7 swingman Jordan Hamilton and Tennessee's 6-foot-7 leaper Scotty Hopson to Pac-10 leading scorer Klay Thompson to 6-foot Arizona point guard Lamont Jones (pictured above being guarded by Simmons).

"[Being named Defensive Player of the Year] is a big accomplishment for the team," Simmons said. "As a team one of our goals was to be the top defensive team [in the conference]. It's not only me that got this award, it's the team.

USC coach Kevin O'Neill has said he believes Simmons isn't the best defender in the Pac-10, but rather the best defender in the country.

Simmons will once again be asked to try to slow down an opponent's best player on Thursday at noon when the Trojans take on Cal in each team's first game of the Pac-10 tournament.

Junior forward Nikola Vucevic and freshman guard Maurice Jones were also honored by the conference. Vucevic was named First Team All-Pac-10. Jones was listed on the conference's freshman All-Pac-10 team.

FoxSports.com also named Vucevic to its All-American fourth team. 



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