ORLANDO, Fla. – When Gary Clark was named American Athletic Conference Player of the Year Wednesday, the UC senior forward became the first AAC player to win three awards in the same season.
Clark also won Defensive Player of the Year and the Sportsmanship Award this week. He also was the only unanimous selection to the all-conference first team.
The Clayton, North Carolina native became the first Bearcat to earn a conference player of the year award since Steve Logan received back-to-back honors in Conference USA in 2001 and 2002.
Clark helped the Bearcats (27-4, 16-2) win their first outright conference championship since 2002 by averaging 12.7 points and 8.2 rebounds while shooting 51.3 percent and 44.2 percent from three-point range.
Clark led the league in rebounds (first at 8.2) and double-doubles (first with nine) and ranked among the AAC leaders in seven other categories through the regular season: offensive rebounds (second at 3.0), defensive rebounds (fourth at 5.3), blocks (sixth at 1.3), steals (seventh at 1.5), field goal percentage (eighth at .513), free throw percentage (13th at .760) and points (18th at 12.7).
Clark joined Oscar Robertson and became just the fifth UC player to reach 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in his career. He has 1,391 career points, tied for 17th with Paul Hogue (1960-62) and 1,074 career rebounds, just 14 from passing Hogue into third place.
Clark enters the AAC Tournament ranked first at UC in career starts (132) and tied for second in all-time wins (102) with Troy Caupain.
Clark is UC's first unanimous first-team selection since Sean Kilpatrick in 2013-14.
Clark became the first player in the five-year history of The American to win the defensive player of year award twice, claiming the same honor in 2015-16. He is the first Bearcat to win a league's defensive player of the year award multiple times since Kenyon Martin (Conference USA in 1998 and 1999).
Houston’s Kelvin Sampson was voted the Coach of the Year, while ECU freshman Shawn Williams was selected the Rookie of the Year.