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Gonzaga’s Brandon Clarke named semifinalist for Naismith defensive player of the year award

UPDATED: Thu., Feb. 21, 2019, 5:12 p.m.

Gonzaga forward Brandon Clarke  blocks a shot against Saint Mary’s on Feb. 9. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga forward Brandon Clarke blocks a shot against Saint Mary’s on Feb. 9. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

Gonzaga forward Brandon Clarke is among 10 semifinalists for the Naismith defensive player of the year award.

Clarke, a 6-foot-8 junior, shattered the program record for single-season blocks. His 82 blocks – the previous mark was 70 by Austin Daye – ranked 10th on GU’s career list entering Thursday night’s home game against Pepperdine. Clarke’s 3.04 blocks per game are third nationally.

Clarke is sixth on the West Coast Conference single-season blocks list, 10 away from cracking the top five. He’s three blocks away from 200 in his career. He has swatted six shots twice this season, including the victory over Duke in the Maui Invitational championship.

The San Jose State transfer also leads Gonzaga in rebounding at 8.2 per game, and has posted eight double-doubles.

The Zags have played against four of the other semifinalists: Washington’s Matisse Thybulle, Tennessee’s Grant Williams and Duke’s Tre Jones and Zion Williamson.

The other semifinalists are Kansas State’s Barry Brown Jr., Kentucky’s Ashton Hagans, Virginia’s De’Andre Hunter, Texas Tech’s Tariq Owens and Michigan’s Xavier Simpson.

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