Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott announced Monday that USC’s Nikola Vucevic has been named the Pac-10 Conference Most Improved Player of the Year for basketball.
After a modest freshmen year where he averaged only 2.6 points and 2.7 rebounds a game, the sophomore forward started in all 30 games of his second year where he averaged 10.7 points and lead the Pac-10 with 9.4 rebounds a game.
Vucevic was a force on the defensive side of the floor as well where he recorded 1.3 blocks per game (6th in the Pac-10), which was enough to be given an honorable mention on the Pac-10 All-Defensive team.
In addition to these honors, the Serbian-Montenegro native was also named to the All-Pac-10 Second Team after shooting 50.4 percent from the field and recording 10 double-doubles during the season.
Vucevic was a bright spot for the Trojan basketball team in a season where USC implemented self-imposed sanctions on its own team for violating NCAA rules relating to former Trojan and current NBA player O.J. Mayo.
The team received a one-year ban from postseason competition, a loss of one scholarship, a reduction of one coach permitted to recruit during the summer of 2010, and a cut in the total number of recruiting days by 20 days for the 2010-2011 academic year.
Other Trojans honored in the Pac-10 awards were senior guard Dwight Lewis and senior forward Marcus Johnson.
Dwight Lewis earned All-Pac-10 honorable mention while Marcus Johnson made All-Defensive team honorable mention, respectively.