Lift One to A Legend

#11 in your programs but #1 in your hearts, Gary Clark.

A Toast to Gary Clark


What we just witnessed was the last game of a legend. #11 in your programs but #1 in your hearts, Gary Clark. The 6′ 8″ senior out of Clayton, North Carolina has left a lasting impact on the program, one that without a doubt will not be forgotten anytime soon. Four years ago after seeing Gary play for the first time I told a group of friends that he’ll be the closest thing to Kenyon Martin we’ll see again. They shook that off like I was crazy. As the season of his senior year now over, Clark may not be as prolific but he embodies everything it means to be a Bearcat.

His hustle, grit, leadership, and all out effort has put him atop the list of favorites of fans young and old. Who can blame them? The guy is first class and someone we can all be proud to say was a Bearcat. I’m not sure there is anyone as high on Gary Clark as Coach Cronin is,

“One of the greatest kids that you’ll ever coach,” Cronin said. “Guys like Gary Clark, you can’t help but root for them.”

That’s just one of many times I’ve heard Cronin talk up what kind of person Gary Clark is off the court.

Gary Clark was considered a 4 Star recruit coming out of high school and had offers form Pitt, NC State, Maryland, and others. UC associate head coach Larry Davis is credited for finding him, although that fact is disputed, and has a pretty good story about his first encounter with Gary. In a super shortened nutshell Davis told Clark that he didn’t play hard enough to be a Bearcat and left without offering him.

Whatever happened it was for the best. Gary Clark has been a four year starter, he had no red shirt season. He showed up ready to play.

It can be said that since Clark got to Clifton the program has been on an upward trajectory but not without turbulence. Since he got here he’s experienced the loss of Coach Cronin for a season, a 1-3 record against X, early departures from the Tournament each of his first three years, and having to play his senior season at BB&T arena while The Shoemaker Center is being revamped. Clark certainly has made it is own though. Just look at what he’s accomplished at UC.

Accomplishments of Gary Clark

4 year starter

1000 point scorer

1000 rebounds

’17-’18 American Athletic Conference Tournament MVP

’17-’18 American Atheltic Conference Player of the Year

’17-’18 UNANIMOUS American Atheltic All First Team

’17-’18 American Atheltic Conference Defensive Player of the Year

’17-’18 American Atheltic Conference Sportsmanship Award winner

’15-’16 American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year

’15-’16 Second Team All Conference

’16-’17 American Championship All-Tournament Team

Most Double Doubles in the Cronin era

’17-’18 American Athletic Conference Player of the week x2

#3 on the UC Rebounding list (behind only the Big O and Jack Twyman)

One thing Bearcats fans certainly enjoyed was the devleopment of Clark over his 4 years in Clifton. The stats show that for sure but he did more than just what showed up in the stats sheet.

Stats

Senior Night

Gary Clark, along with Kyle Washington and Jackson Bart, were honored before the Tulsa game on Feb 25th. It was an emotional game for fans watching Gary Clark live at home for the last time in a Bearcats uniform. The fun was thought to be spoiled after Clark picked up two quick fouls early in the first half. He sat out the rest of the half after scoring just 2 points. After halftime and the Bearcats down by three Clark took over, scoring 15 points in the second half and securing an 8 point win on senior day. Fellow senior Kyle Washington chipped in 8 points as well.

I pretty much held it together during the pregame ceremony, the TV interview with the CBSSN correspondent, and the post game presser. However, it was this interview with the voice of the Bearcats Dan Hoard and his partner Terry Nelson that choked me up. Clark starts to talk about how much it meant to him that his Dad finally made it to a game to watch him in person and got emotional, then I did too. Thankfully Dan saved us from a tear fest. Here’s that interview:

Highlights

#11 has given us plenty to get excited over the past 4 years. Here are my top 5 favorite plays from Clark.

Easily my favorite.

Here’s a 2-fer

Not today sir.

Remember when he lost a tooth at UConn?

and of course Gary Clark the hero…

The AAC Tournament ’18

Gary Clark willed the Bearcats to the championship game. His first game against SMU Clarked anchored the Bearcats once again with a double double. The next day he kept the tradition of beating Memphis again. He posted a second double double with 17 and 12. When it came time to beat Houston a third time in the same season guess what. Gary Clark had his third double double in a row and sealed the game with a free throw with just seconds remaining. Imagine that.

Gary Clark is a guy that we won’t forget anytime soon. His resume as a bearcat parallels that of legends that came before him and while the debate over how to honor those players who have made a lasting impact drums on all I know is Gary Clark’s #11 is now in that conversation.

Here’s to you!

 

The Bearcats make it 36 with Win over ECU

Gary Clark is the AAC Player of the Year


The #12 Cincinnati Bearcats now 17-2 and 6-0 in the American have now won 36 straight home games. In a game where the ECU Pirates hung around a little too long because of hot shooting (55% in the first half) the ‘cats got an attitude adjustment at halftime and the defensive effort kicked it up a notch. Gary Clark went out and did Gary Clark things notching yet another double double (14 points and 14 rebounds). It was his third straight double double and seventh of the season. He probably should have had around 25 points but missed a handful of half contested shots around the rim. Jacob Evans III and Kyle Washington each chipped in 17 points apiece and was followed by 14 from Jarron Cumberland.

The second half was all Bearcats all the time. The Bearcats controlled the pace and the effort as they breezed past ECU 86-60. Offense rebounds were key and the Bearcats grabbed 22 of them. While Evans, Washington, Clark, and Cumberland were the A team last night the B team showed great potential as well. Brooks produced 8 points and 5 rebounds in 11 minutes, Tre Scott had 5 points and 7 rebounds in 14 minutes, and Cane Broome is starting to play better after his ankle sprain, last night he had 7 points and 6 assists with 0 turnovers, which is huge. The Bearcats only turned the ball over 7 times all game.

Let’s revisit the keys to the game from the game preview:

– Make the open shot – The Bearcats struggled in the first half but picked it up in the second

– Don’t commit stupid turnovers, less than 10 for the game. Check! The ‘Cats had 7 for the game

– Gary Clark – Yeah, he showed up.

My prediction was 83-59. Final score 86-60. Pretty damn close.

If you were paying attention yesterday the Wichita State Shockers lost again. That’s two in a row for the Shockers. They lost at home against SMU and at Houston yesterday. I’m not really sure what that means for the strength of the AAC. Where does a Wichita State team with losses to SMU, Houston, and Cincinnati land in the big dance? Also, I’m not sure where I’ve been but as I watched the Houston-Wichita St game yesterday I finally noticed Houston’s Rob Gray and his man bun. We have to beat Houston every chance we get. We can not lose to a guy with a man bun like Wichita St did.

Andy Katz also had some remarks about the AAC and the Bearcats

So it seems the AAC is soley in the hands of our Cincinnati Bearcats. I don’t see us losing a home game. The streak will live to see the New Shoe but the rest of the season, will hinge on playing better in the first half and the Bearcats showing up on the road. Next up for Cronin and the Bearcats is another home game, Wednesday at 9pm on the CBSSN against the Temple Owls.

We can’t forget the Beer of the Game

Bike Path Pilsner from Little Miami Brewing Company in Milford. (@littlemiamibrew)

Bearcats at UCF

Here we go Bearcats, let’s make it 9 in a row!

Grab a beer and strap in for the Bearcats (15-2, 4-0) and the Knights (15-5, 3-2) Tuesday night at 7pm on the CBS Sports Network or in my case tuning into Dan and Terry on 700 WLW because I don’t have that stupid channel. Either way it should be a pretty good game and if the UCF basketball twitter is any indication, they’ll be ready for us, again.

Last year the Bearcats and the Knights split their series, each winning at home. The game in Orlando was a classic rock and broken glass fight with the Knights winning 53-49, not ideal. This year UCF has some familiar faces, they’re still lead by Coach Dawkins, anchored by the BFG Tacko Fall, and if he’s healthy enough (which he probably will be because that’s how it goes) BJ Taylor. Fall leads the team in scoring with almost 12/game followed by AJ Davis at almost 11/game. Davis and Fall also lead the team in rebounding.

The thing about this year’s Knight is they wouldn’t fall under my Typical AAC team criteria. They don’t have an awful loss. Their worst two losses are Missouri and UCONN. Yes, at this point I’d consider UCONN a bad loss, they’re terrible. That UCONN loss was just last 5 days ago and the last game they’ve played. They’ll be hungry to bounce back after that.  Also, they did get DOMINATED by West Virginia, 83-45.

The Knights only allow about 55 points per game, which is pretty damn good but the Bearcats are scoring 79 per game something will have to give.

If the Bearcats want to head out of Florida with 2 wins, here are the          Keys to the Game:

  • Knock down the 3. Tacko Fall will be guarding the paint like no other. He’s huge and points in the paint will be at a premium
  • 10 or less turnovers, the Bearcats committed only 8 on Saturday against USF which was vital in an almost stagnant first half
  • Teddy needs to carry over his stroke. He had 18 on Saturday and finally found his stroke. If he’s on like that, March will be really fun
  • Get Tacko into foul trouble and off the court
  • Gary has to be aggressive not subtle, catch the ball and make a move, don’t wait for the double team
  • We still need JEIII to catch that killer instinct he’s become the Alpha in recent games now its time to take it one step further, remember he’s a man and believes in himself
  • More production from the PG position, Jenifer and/or Broome, we need more than we got on Saturday

In addition to the keys of the game I think we’ll see more of Brooks, who was effective off of the bench on Saturday with 6pts, 2 rebs, 2 blks, in 9 minutes. We should see Nas squaring up with Tacko more than once.

I like the Bearcats in this one 69-57

Bearcats Catch Fire in Win Over Bulls

The Bearcats got the W, Jacob Evans III reached 1000 points, and Jarron “Teddy” Cumberland found his stroke. In a game of two very different halves the Bearcats had the firepower to go the distance. The first half was less than ideal with the Bearcats falling behind by 10 at one point. Luckily for us we had solid senior leadership that kept us afloat. Kyle Washington was the anchor in the first half. He had 12 in the first half which included going 8-8 from the free throw line. He kept the team in the game while everyone else was struggling to hit shots and to give USF some credit their D was tenacious in the first half.

Some things we saw last night:

  • USF is attacking the basket and we couldn’t have gotten out to a slower start
  • Teddy has improved on defense or at least at getting deflections
  • Free throws are much improved (Finally!)
  • The Bio’s for the players and coaches are WILD.
  • We fed the post, a lot. Had to in the first half because Kyle was the only one who could make a shot.
  • Cronin’s halftime head explosion worked because they’re much more aggressive
  • Broome and Jenifer were both relatively quite
  • Gary Clack finished with a double double
  • The first half belonged to Kyle, the second half to Teddy
    • He’s Back.
  • Jacob Evans III gets to the 1000 points mark on a 3 late in the second half!
  • Also, there was some criminal lurking in the back halls offering money and free adidas merchandise to players. Security really needs beefed up in Florida.

How do I know Teddy is back? Just look here: (I know the picture quality sucks)

Cumberland is in the top left of both of those just holding his pose knowing he’s stroking it. Watch out and Welcome to Cumberland ladies and gentlemen.

We can’t forget the #Beerofthegame

Next up for the Bearcats is 100′ giant Tako Fall and the UCF Knights on Tuesday.