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FutureStarrCaitlin Clark - AP Player of the Year
Caitlin Clark, a junior guard for Iowa University in college basketball, is one of the most recognizable figures on the court. She earned the title as AP Player of the Year and has made an impact on her national stage.
Her performance in the final game of the NCAA Tournament was remarkable. She scored 41 points against South Carolina to lead Iowa to their first championship and secure a spot in history for her school.
Caitlin Clark has been one of the best players in the country and she's been on fire all season. Her team is in the championship game, and Caitlin is on a roll!
Clark has been named the Naismith Player of the Year for 2023, and she's already a household name. A two-time All-American and Big Ten Player of the Year finalist, she led her team to victory at last season's national championship.
She's not only one of college basketball's most recognizable players, but she also a great leader. At Big Ten Media Days this past weekend, she leapt off the panel and into a crowd of media members to ask her coach a question - an example of her unique personality that you don't often see on the court. It shows she has an infectious passion for the game.
Clark was a top-tier national player and finalist for the Naismith Women's Player of the Year during her sophomore year. Not only is she an outstanding 3-point shooter, but her ball handling abilities are equally impressive; she can distribute the ball to teammates when needed and find an open shot no matter what is thrown her way.
Clark has taken her game to a whole new level after an impressive junior season. She leads Iowa in points, assists and three-pointers made per game, plus she's a top-10 shot blocker and field goal percentage leader.
Her team is on a nine-game winning streak, and she's an integral factor. With 30-plus points in nine games and three triple-doubles this season - including 34 points against No. 2 Indiana Sunday - she is leading the charge.
She's currently the best player in the country, but she has some tough competition this weekend at the national championship. While she could easily be named player of the year, other first-team contenders on our list offer strong competition too.
If she can win the national title, it will mark the first time a female has won that award and cemented her place as one of basketball's all-time greats. That makes this weekend all the more reason to keep your eyes peeled for this historic event!
People who watch Clark play basketball cannot stop talking about her incredible skill level. Not only is she one of college basketball's top players, but she's also an inspiring leader.
Her father, Brent, told KCCI that Clark displayed her talent at a young age. When she joined a boy's league when in second grade, it soon became evident and soon enough, Clark started winning championships - earning praise from her coach at Dowling Catholic school. They were so impressed with her that they offered Clark a scholarship for high school study abroad.
At Iowa, she has been an integral part of their success this season, averaging 27.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and 8.6 assists per game. Additionally, she leads the team with 1.6 steals per game; further testament to her slashing prowess and strong defense which have enabled them to capture two consecutive conference titles.
She's an incredible teammate, always striving to give her teammates the best chance at victory - which makes her one of the most valuable players in America. This year, she upped the ante by playing a more assertive role on the court.
As a junior, she led the team in scoring at every point guard position and was instrumental in leading Iowa State to the Elite Eight. In their first round matchup against Georgia, she averaged 18.3 points, 8.9 rebounds and 5.8 assists; later that same night they defeated Evansville with 20 points.
This year she's averaging 27.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 8.6 assists as she leads Iowa to its first Final Four in 30 years. As the most popular player in women's college basketball, her success on the court is a testament to all her hard work.
It has all the makings of a classic: Clark is an up-and-coming local star who chooses her state school over more established powers, elevates their program and makes history along the way. Plus, her incredible shooting and confident stance suggest she could be an international star in either WNBA or Olympics; Clark appears poised for great things ahead.
In a postgame interview with Iowa coach Amy Alexander, Clark's success isn't just due to her natural talents but also her willingness to put in effort. She noted that their team works together in the weight room to hone their skills - something Alexander believes has benefitted Clark greatly during gameplay.
Clark was a kid who played multiple sports and often participated in the same games as other children of her age. But she eventually got bored playing softball, so instead she turned to basketball full-time. Clark loves being able to pursue what she loves doing most - playing for her team! Clark also enjoys spending time with family and friends while watching matches on television.
Clark has dedicated herself to her teammates throughout this year, propelling the Hawkeyes to their first Final Four since 1993 and their first championship game in women's basketball. But none of it would be possible without Clark's passion and drive.
Iowa's junior guard has been on a mission all season to elevate her teammates. After Sunday's 97-83 win against Louisville, she said that it is important for everyone to believe in each other and have confidence in one another - something which has really made a difference for us."
She has earned a reputation as a fearless player who pulls up from the logo with confidence and swagger, much like Steph Curry did. That spirit has helped her through some difficult moments.
Her stunning 40-point triple-double in the NCAA Tournament cemented Iowa's place as a national star and thrust them into the spotlight for an extraordinary moment. She did it against South Carolina Gamecocks team that had already won 42 games and was riding its perfect season.
When you consider her game, it's a showcase of elite scoring and playmaking abilities at every level of the court. She can score from inside the paint, from beyond the 3-point line or on the wing with ease; plus, her shooting range is unbeatable!
But she can also throw pinpoint passes to teammates for easy baskets or hit off-balance shots to secure a victory. She is an unstoppable player who doesn't take anything for granted.
Clark's willingness to put herself on the line for her teammates is one of the reasons she has become one of basketball's top players. She possesses a great leadership quality and an infectious passion for both basketball and her teammates. Clark truly lives by example.
Her parents, Anne and Brent Clark, had always recognized her exceptional talents. But they weren't sure if she could handle the scrutiny or pressure that comes with playing basketball professionally.
Caitlin was raised among boys, both on her mom's side and her dad's. She and her brother Blake lived in West Des Moines in a neighborhood filled with boys her age.
Caitlin's competitive spirit was finally quenched and her passion for basketball took hold. She started playing basketball in sixth grade, joining the All-Iowa Attack program in central Iowa. Her work ethic and skillset rapidly developed, leading her to compete against older girls at high school level.
Clark's coaches soon realized she was something special. Her ability to score from any spot on the floor and fierce defense were already impressive at a young age, earning her recognition as one of America's top recruits in her class when she graduated from Dowling Catholic High School in 2017.
During her freshman season with Iowa, she earned the title of Big Ten's top scorer and was named Freshman of the Year. She led the Hawkeyes in points per game, total assists, and 3-pointers made.
She was also a McDonald's All-American and the most improved player in the Big Ten Conference during her sophomore year; as such, she earned herself a place as one of the finalists for Naismith Women's Player of the Year.
Clark is an outstanding role model both on and off the court. She stays late after games to chat with kids and communicate effectively with the media, fulfilling her ambition to serve as a role model for young athletes.
Her teammates recognize her dedication and leadership qualities as well. She instills discipline into them so they can focus on the task at hand rather than worrying about individual results.
She learned this lesson early on, and it's one she strives to improve upon as a sophomore. Her coach Lisa Bluder has fostered an atmosphere of camaraderie among her players that makes them feel part of something bigger than themselves alone.