Earl Clark Named 2023 Defensive Player Of The Year
By BIG3 September 13, 2023
For the second consecutive year, the BIG3’s Defensive Player of the Year is Trilogy’s Earl Clark. What did Clark do to retain his crown? Just about everything a player can do on the defensive end of the ball.
Clark isn’t the archetypical rim-protecting big who lurks in the restricted area, or an on-ball pest that relentlessly harasses his man in search of a steal. He’s a shapeshifter, capable of matching up with absolutely any player on earth and taking away what they like to do. His combination of length and lateral quickness allows him to bottle up smaller defenders and force them to pick up their dribble. Against bigger players, his length and strength allow him to “play big” and contest just about any shot.
Clark is the best shot-blocker in the league – he led the BIG3 in blocks with 13. He’s capable of meeting his man at the top, but his phenomenal timing and smarts allow him to get many of his blocks from odd angles, jumping from where his defender wouldn’t expect him to be and using those long arms of his to sneakily parry their shot away. He even gets some of his blocks on-ball, and one of the most memorable defensive plays of the year came when he blocked the ultra-quick Elijah Stewart’s attempt at a pull-up 3. Those are the plays that pretty much only Clark can make, the ones that really demonstrate why Clark is such a force on defense.
Even with Isaiah Briscoe missing most of the season, Trilogy were able to make yet another championship run, and they ended their season with a semifinals appearance. Some of that credit has to go to the phenomenal scoring streak Ryan “Hezi God” Carter went on, but the team hung their hat on their defense all season, and their defense was built on Clark. Congrats to Earl Clark, who once again proved he’s one of the best defenders on the planet.