March 7, 2006
As a sophomore he was named to the defensive All-America team. As a junior last season he earned mid-major defensive player of the year honors. This year San Diego's Corey Belser is CollegeInsider.com's national defensive player of the year.
"Coach Holland makes it fun to play defense," says Belser. "He always talks about how you can win games by making stops and it's something that I have worked hard at. It's a great honor to be recognized with this award and I have to thank coach Holland for instilling that defensive mindset."
The 6-foot-6 senior from Spanaway, Washington led the 18-12 Toreros in rebounding (6.9) and steals (44) this season, which both ranked among the top five in the West Coast Conference. Additionally, he chipped in with 11.5 points per game. But stat lines are not what separate Belser from the pack.
"He is the best on-the-ball defender in America," says collegeinsider.com senior writer Joe Dwyer. "Corey draws the assignment of guarding the opposition's top scorer and he shuts him down."
Belser's ability as a stopper was evident during his sophomore season in the 2003 West Coast tournament. Belser held San Francisco's prolific scorer John Cox to 14 points in the semi-finals. The next night he limited Gonzaga's Blake Stepp to ten points, which was his lowest output of the season.
Belser has since gained national attention for his defensive prowess against Gonzaga's All-America candidate, Adam Morrison who scored 16 and 11 points respectively against Belser and San Diego in two regular season meetings in 2006. Morrison was 5-for-16 against San Diego and scored 24 points (13 points from the field), in the WCC semi-finals won by Gonzaga, 96-92 in overtime.
"You cannot coach or teach what Corey brings to the court," says San Diego head coach Brad Holland. "It's not glorious. It takes a lot of character and determination and that is what Corey is all about. I am really happy for him. To be recognized as the national defensive player of the year is quite an honor. He truly deserves it."
Belser missed the 2003-04 season with a severe knee injury, which makes his accomplishments all the more impressive.
DEFENSIVE ALL-AMERICA TEAM
2006 National Defensive Player of the Year
Corey Belser, San Diego
Arron AfflaloG6-5SoUCLALaMarcus AldridgeF6-10SoTexasEngin AtsurG6-3JrNC StateCorey BelserF6-7SrSan DiegoJosh BooneF6-10JrConnecticutRonnie BrewerG/F6-7JrArkansasRodney CarneyF6-7SrMemphisMardy CollinsG6-6SrTempleChaz CrawfordF/C6-10JrDrexelRandy FoyeG6-3SrVillanovaJamon GordonG6-3JrVirginia TechVernon HamiltonG6-0JrClemsonErek HansenC6-11SrIowaEric HicksF6-6SrCincinnatiShawn JamesF/C6-9SoNortheasternSqueaky JohnsonG5-10SrUABRicky SoliverG6-3SrIonaObie TrotterG6-1SrAlabama A&MMarquis WebbG6-5JrRutgersShelden WilliamsF6-9SrDukeTony YoungG6-0JrSouthern Illinois
The collegeinsider.com Defensive All-America team is one twenty-one-man team, rather than compiling a first, second, third and honorable mention. Division I coaches are involved in the selection process, but final decision rests with the collegeinsider.com senior staff.