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Brandon Clarke named to Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Watch List

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Clarke is the only player from a mid major conference.

NCAA Basketball: Denver at Gonzaga James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Gonzaga Bulldogs junior forward Brandon Clarke is one of 15 players named to the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Watch List. The award, which as the title states, goes to the best defender in college hoops. It was created in 2018, with Jevon Carter of West Virginia winning the first award.

Clarke is one of the premier rim protectors in all of college basketball. He is third in total blocks (61), tied for fifth in blocks per game (3.1), and 10th in block percentage (11.2). He is fourth in the NCAA in defensive box plus/minus (9.6). He also leads the Zags in defensive rating at 79.9, and is second in the nation with that mark.

On a list full of fantastic defenders, Clarke stands out for his jaw-dropping highlights, which might help give him an edge in the final voting.

Here is the watch list for the Defensive Player of the Year:

  • Barry Brown, Jr. – Sr., G – Kansas State
  • Brandon Clarke – Jr., F – Gonzaga
  • Tacko Fall – Sr., C – UCF
  • Bruno Fernando – So., F – Maryland
  • Ashton Hagans – Fr., G – Kentucky
  • Ethan Happ – Sr., F – Wisconsin
  • De’Andre Hunter – So., G – Virginia
  • Kylor Kelley – Jr., F – Oregon State
  • Matt Mooney – Sr., G – Texas Tech
  • Jordan Murphy – Sr., F – Minnesota
  • Tariq Owens – Sr., F – Texas Tech
  • Zavier Simpson – Jr., G – Michigan
  • Matisse Thybulle – Sr., G – Washington
  • Grant Williams – Jr., F – Tennessee
  • Zion Williamson – Fr., F – Duke