Clark named team MVP

The Sooners gave out their year-end awards, and it was senior Cam Clark earning the big honor of the day.

In addressing Oklahoma basketball supporters at the team banquet Sunday, OU coach Lon Kruger said one of the greatest joys he has as a coach is when a senior plays his best as a senior.

That has certainly been the case for OU senior forward Cameron Clark. Entering the season, it was clear Clark was going to have to provide more scoring, and even more importantly, more leadership.

Clark has been up to the task, averaging 15.2 points per game in helping the Sooners to their current 23-9 record heading into the NCAA Tournament. And Clark was named the team's Most Valuable Player, an award voted on by the OU players.

"That was great, and it really means a lot," Clark said. "Knowing that it's voted on by your teammates, it does make it extra special. They've pushed me to be a leader, and we've all invested the time and work to help develop each other as better players."

Clark is second on the team at 5.6 rebounds per game and is also shooting a team-best 44 percent on his 3-point field goal attempts, having converted 31 of his 71 shots.

Clark wasn't the only Sooner to get recognized at the banquet as sophomores Buddy Hield and Ryan Spangler were co-winners of the team's Most Inspirational Player award.

Spangler's toughness has come to embody this team's personality, while Hield is the floor leader for the Sooners. Hield leads the team at 16.8 points per game.

In a shock to nobody, sophomore guard Isaiah Cousins was named the team's Most Improved Player. The move from point guard to shooting guard has done wonders for Cousins, who has become the team's most consistent third option.

Cousins averages 11 points per game and is the team's best free throw shooter at 81 percent.

More than half the team was recognized for their academic standing of having a GPA of at least 3.0 or better. Leading the way there were OU's two all-Big 12 academic members senior Tyler Neal (first team) and junior D.J. Bennett (second team).

Neal capped off the banquet by surprising Kruger with a signed basketball, the team's way of congratulating Kruger for winning the AP's Big 12 Coach of the Year.

OU, the No. 5 seed in the West region, plays No. 12-seeded North Dakota State at 6:27 p.m. CST in Spokane, Wash., in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The game will be televised on truTV.

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