UCLA'S JAYLEN CLARK AMONG 10 SEMIFINALISTS FOR NAISMITH MEN'S DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD
Clark ranks No. 4 in the nation in steals per game (72 steals, 2.57 per game)
March 2, 2023
UCLA junior Jaylen Clark has been selected as one of 10 semifinalists for this season's Naismith Men's Defensive Player of the Year Award, as announced on Tuesday by the Atlanta Tipoff Club.
Clark, a 6-foot-5 guard from Riverside, Calif., is the only player from the Pac-12 Conference listed among the 10 semifinalist candidates for the defensive award.
Clark has been a vital part of the Bruins' Pac-12 Championship team this season, averaging 13.0 points, 6.1 rebounds and a Pac-12-leading 2.57 steals per game. He has played in 28 of the Bruins' 29 games, totaling at least three steals in 16 contests. He has been a major force on a Bruins' defensive unit that currently ranks No. 1 in the Pac-12 and No. 7 in the nation in scoring defense (59.7 points allowed per game).
With two regular-season games remaining – at home this week against Arizona State and Arizona – Clark continues to lead the Pac-12 in steals (72) and ranks No. 12 in rebounding (6.1 rpg).
The Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Award is annually presented to the nation's most outstanding defensive basketball player who achieves tremendous on-court success. The award has been presented since 1969. Last season, Auburn's Walker Kessler was honored with the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Award.
UCLA has had three former players win the national defensive award – Marques Johnson in 1977, Bill Walton in 1972, 1973 and 1974, and Lew Alcindor (now Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) in 1969. Alcindor was the first-ever recipient of the award during his senior year at UCLA (1968-69).
Last season, Clark was one of five Pac-12 players to secure all-conference All-Defensive Team honors (along with teammates Jaime Jaquez Jr. and then-senior Myles Johnson).
No. 4-ranked UCLA will host Arizona State on Thursday, March 2, in Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom. Game time is set for 6 p.m. (PT). UCLA's game versus the Sun Devils will be nationally televised on ESPN. The Bruins' radio broadcast will be available on AM 1150.