Defense wins championships.
These seven players have the correct defensive skill set to win a college championship, but more realistically, they will follow their basketball dreams to the NBA.
While some of these seven are still in the hunt to claim a national championship, all of these athletes have the right to be named the best defensive players from the 2011 college basketball season.
Senior Rick Jackson can now add Big East Defensive Player of the Year to his list of growing accomplishments.
The big man led the Big East with 10.4 rebounds per game while also swatting away a league-high 86 blocks.
Syracuse will also be losing its best low-post scoring option, as Jackson averaged 13 points per game and was an intimidating force in the paint.
“With everything we asked of him this year, he did more,” Syracuse guard Scoop Jardine recently told Syracuse.com of Jackson.
Huggins adamantly believes his big man was snubbed in the Big East Defender of the Year award voting when Syracuse center Rick Jackson took home the award earlier this week.
Flowers was second in the Big East in blocked shots with 2.4 per game, 12th overall with a 6.6 rebound average and also added 23 steals.
Flowers has definitely been a nice surprise for WVU and as he put it himself, “I think I always had the potential to play defense, but I didn’t have the opportunity to show it like I do now [under Huggins].”
Named the best defensive player of the SEC, South Carolina’s Sam Muldrow is the first Gamecock to win that award.
Also claiming All-Defensive Team honors, Muldrow finished the ‘Cock’s regular season schedule averaging a league-leading 3.3 blocks per game to go along with 13 points and eight rebounds.
Muldrow was a very reliable athlete for coach Darrin Horn’s USC team, starting in all 29 regular season games as the Gamecocks went on to finish 15-15.
Dubbed by many as a true Turkish delight, Texas’ big man Dogus Balbay was an offensive standout in 2011, but more importantly his presence was felt on the defensive side of the ball.
Named the Big 12’s 2011 Defensive Player of the Year, Balbay was an on-court stud for the Longhorns and tremendously upped his draft stock for the coming NBA draft.
Born in Turkey and playing ball over 6,000 miles away from his family, Balbay started all 31 games for the Longhorns and also garnered a Big 12 All-Defensive Team nod.
Being named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year is a feat in itself, but also being the Big Ten Player of the Year is an accomplishment only few can pride themselves on.
JuJuan Johnson is the recent addition to this exclusive club as he joins Michigan’s Gary Grant from 1988 and Illinois Dee Brown from 2005 as the only three Big Ten players to receive both honors in the same year.
Leading the conference in scoring (20.7) and finishing third in rebounding (8.3), Johnson is the undisputed best defender in the Big Ten, mostly because he led the Big Ten by averaging 2.6 blocked shots per game.
Known as USC’s most prolific defensive stopper, Marcus Simmons was honored earlier this month as the Pac 10’s Defensive Player of the Year.
Simmons has been able to keep a clear head and continues to be modest about his on-court accomplishments, saying he only does what’s best for the team.
“I don’t really care anything about [the award],” Simmons told a USC blog. “ I just wanted to do my task the team gave me to stop the opposing team’s best player.”
He also added, “Being named the Defensive Player of the Year is a big accomplishment for the team. It’s not only me that got this award, it’s the team.”
One of the many shining spots on the defensive-minded Florida State basketball squad, Chris Singleton finished as the ACC Defensive Player of the Year runner-up this season after winning the award last season.
Ripping down close to seven rebounds per game and averaging 13 points, Singleton is a consistent threat on both sides of the court for FSU.
Expect Singleton to use this extra week of rest to prepare his healing foot for a strong showing in Friday's Sweet 16 matchup against VCU in hopes of carrying the Seminoles to the Elite Eight.