UC celebrates outstanding 2017-18 season
CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Seniors Gary Clark and Kyle Washington were two of five Bearcats who won multiple awards Monday evening at the University of Cincinnati men’s basketball 2017-18 celebration at Memorial Hall in Over the Rhine.
Saluting a memorable season that saw the Bearcats tie the school record for wins (31), achieve back-to-back 30-win seasons for the first time in program history, win the American Athletic Conference regular-season and league tournament and advance to their eighth consecutive NCAA Tournament, the event featured remarks from head coach Mick Cronin and Clark, Washington and fellow Bearcat Jackson Bart, who is graduating this spring.
Clark was recognized with a team-high 10 awards, including five from The American. Clark earned the team’s top rebounder, top deflections winner and 1,000-point scorer while sharing the team’s defensive player of the year award with teammates Jacob Evans III and Justin Jenifer. He also shared the team’s most valuable player award with Evans and Washington.
Clark again was honored Monday for earning the AAC’s player of the year, defensive player of the year, first team all-conference, sportsmanship award, and tournament most valuable player awards earlier this season. He started a school-record 137 games while finishing second at Cincinnati in victories (139) and consecutive games started (137); third in rebounds (1,132); fifth in blocks (180) and 16th in points (1,462). An Associated Press Honorable Mention All-American in 2017-18, Clark was also tabbed a semifinalist for the Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year award earlier this season.
Clark led the Bearcats with 313 rebounds in 2017-18, the most in a season since 2006 when Erik Hicks pulled down 329. Clark led The American with 8.7 rebounds per games along with 14 double-doubles.
Evans and Washington each claimed five awards at Monday’s event.
Washington earned the team’s character and leadership award, shared the team’s MVP award with Clark and Evans and was recognized for achieving 1,000 points during his collegiate career (871 points at Cincinnati and 404 points at NC State). He received All-AAC honorable mention and AAC all-tournament team recognition earlier in the season.
Washington averaged 11.3 points, 5.5 rebound and 1.4 block during 2017-18 while earning All-AAC honorable mention and AAC all-tournament team recognition. He led the conference with 1.8 blocks per game during league action.
Along with sharing the team’s MVP award with Clark and Washington, Evans was saluted for surpassing 1,000 career points and being named All-AAC first team. He also was recognized with the team’s assist and shared the squad’s three-point shooting award with teammate Cane Broome.
Evans averaged 13.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.0 blocks during 2017-18, ranking among the AAC leaders in eight categories while being named a semifinalist for the Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year award earlier this season.
Evans finished 2017-18 ranked 10th in The American, shooting 37 percent from three-point range. His 60 three-pointers tied with teammate Jarron Cumberland for most on the squad. Evans completed the season ranked fifth in school history with a .377 three-point shooting percentage for his career.
Cumberland was named the team’s most improved player and shared the team’s defensive player of the year award with Clark and Jenifer. Cumberland started all 36 games for the Bearcats in 2017-18, averaging 11.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.0 steals. He ranked second on the team in scoring, averaging 14.0 points during five postseason games.
Jenifer also received the team’s free throw shooting award. He shot a team-best 77 percent from the foul line, making 44 of 57 free throw attempts. He made 18 consecutive free throws during one stretch in the season.
2017-18 CINCINNATI MEN’S BASKETBALL CELEBRATION AWARDS
- Assists Award – Jacob Evans III
- Three-Point Shooting Award – Jacob Evans III and Cane Broome
- Free Throw Shooting Award – Justin Jenifer
- Rebounding Award – Gary Clark
- Most Improved Player – Jarron Cumberland
- Character and Leadership Award – Kyle Washington
- Defensive Player of the Year Award – Gary Clark, Jarron Cumberland and Justin Jenifer
- High Deflections Award – Gary Clark
- 1,000-Point Scorers Award – Gary Clark, Jacob Evans III and Kyle Washington
- Most Valuable Players and Conference Honors Winners – Gary Clark, Jacob Evans III and Kyle Washington
- Teammates of the Year – Jacob Evans III, Keith Williams, Justin Jenifer, Trevor Moore, Gary Clark, Trevon Scott, Jackson Bart, Cane Broome, Mamoudou Diarra, Eliel Nsoseme, Kyle Washington, Sam Martin, John Koz, Nysier Brooks, Jarron Cumberland.
2017-18 SEASON ACCOMPLISHMENTS
- Tied the school record with 31 wins (went 31-4 in 2001-02).
- Won 30 or more games in back-to-back seasons for the first time in school history.
- Cincinnati’s 61 wins over the past two seasons ranks fourth most in the nation.
- Won the American Athletic Conference regular-season championship, marking Cincinnati’s first outright conference title since 2002.
- Won the AAC Tournament championship, marking Cincinnati’s first conference tournament title since 2004.
- Ranked in Associated Press Top 25 poll every week, climbing as high as No. 5 – highest of the Mick Cronin coaching era.
- Ranked sixth in the final AP poll of the season – highest end-of-season ranking of Cronin era.
- Made eighth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance – one of six schools along with Duke, Gonzaga, Kansas, Michigan State and North Carolina.
- Won 16 consecutive games – the nation’s longest win streak at the time it ended.
- Extended its home win streak to 39 games before suffering a loss – the program’s second-longest win streak since 1990.
- Recorded a 15-1 at BB&T Arena.
- Climbed to 14th in the nation with 1,788 all-time wins.
- Won the inaugural Cayman Islands Classic.
- Mick Cronin was named the Sporting News Coach of the Year.
- The Bearcats held opponents to 37.4 percent shooting from the field, the lowest percentage in the Mick Cronin coaching era and the lowest at Cincinnati since the 1961-62 campaign (.369).
- The Bearcats limited opponents to 57.5 points per game, the second fewest of the Cronin era (55.8 in 2014-15) and the second fewest since 1962-63 (52.9).
Information provided by UC Athletics.