UCF'S Clanton Named C-USA Men's Basketball Preseason Player of the Year
Oct. 4, 2012
IRVING, Texas - UCF senior forward Keith Clanton was selected as the 2012-13 Conference USA Men's Basketball Preseason Player of the Year.
For the second straight year Clanton is a preseason first-team selection, as voted by the conference's 12 head coaches. He is joined by Tulane's Ricky Tarrant - the unanimous 2012 C-USA Freshman of the Year - East Carolina senior point guard Miguel Paul, Marshall junior guard DeAndre Kane and Memphis junior forward Tarik Black.
Clanton, an Orlando native, has been one of the premier players at UCF and in C-USA. Last season, he averaged 14.5 points and 8.1 rebounds per game and earned a spot on the C-USA first-team as well as the All-Defensive Team. Clanton already holds the UCF record with 164 career blocks (14th in C-USA) and also ranks third in school history with 737 career rebounds and 11th with 1,260 career points. He was named the C-USA Player of the Week twice last season, first following a 20-point performance to rally UCF to a 68-63 victory over defending national champion Connecticut at the inaugural Battle 4 Atlantis.
Black joined Clanton on the All-Defensive Team and garnered second-team all-conference honors following a season in which he started all 35 games for Memphis. The Tigers won the C-USA Championship, with Black receiving all-tournament team recognition, and earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament. The 6-9 junior from Memphis has added nearly 20 pounds to his frame during the offseason and is on track to hit the 1,000-point milestone for his career.
Kane is a two-time all-conference selection, leading the Thundering Herd in scoring both seasons, and enters his junior year ranked second in the nation for career points by a junior (1,073). The native of Pittsburgh, Pa., earned a spot on the 2012 C-USA All-Tournament Team and set a championship record for scoring in a single game with 40 points in a triple overtime thriller against Tulsa.
Paul made an immediate impact in the conference in just his first season with the Pirates. As a junior, the point guard from Winter Haven, Fla., led the league in assists with 5.9 per game. The team's top returning scorer (15.2 ppg), Paul tossed in a career-high 28 points against NCAA Tournament participant Southern Miss in the quarterfinals of the C-USA Championship. He also dished out a career-best 12 assists to set the tournament's single-game record.
Rounding out the preseason team is Tarrant, who was a seven-time C-USA Freshman of the Week selection in 2011-12. He was also the only freshman to receive All-Conference honors, earning a spot on the first team. He posted the top two offensive performances of the season, scoring a freshman school record with 33 points against UAB and SMU. A native of Pleasant, Grove, Ala., he scored 29 of those 33 points against UAB in the second half as he returned to his home state.
The preseason all-conference second team features 2011-12 all-conference second-team selection Neil Watson of Southern Miss. Watson was the 2012 C-USA Newcomer of the Year and was also named C-USA Sixth Man of the Year. He is joined by three Memphis Tigers, juniors Chris Crawford and Joe Jackson sophomore Adonis Thomas, as well as Marshall senior forward Dennis Tinnon.
Tulsa will serve as host city for the 2012 Conference USA Basketball Championship, March 13-16 at BOK Center. The championship game is slated for Saturday, March 16 at 11:30 a.m. EST/10:30 a.m. CST on CBS.
2012-13 PRESEASON PLAYER OF THE YEAR
2012-13 PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE FIRST TEAM
2012-13 PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE SECOND TEAM