VIDEO: Charles Clark Interview
VIDEO: Sawyer Williams Interview
Clark also was named to the All-SAC first team, while senior forward Sawyer Williams (Owenton, Ky.) earned a spot on the second team.
Clarks is the third Eagle to earn player of the year honors from the league, joining Antoine Davis (2012-13) and Kyle Gribble (2002-03). The junior has turned in one of the more memorable seasons in Carson-Newman basketball history.
Clark is a three-time SAC Player of the Week, three-time Tennessee Sports Writer's Association State Player of the Week and the only player in the country to be named US Basketball Writer's Association Player of the Week twice this season.
"He's very deserving of this honor," head coach Chuck Benson said. "And it's based on his performance. I would go as far to say that he performed as well as anyone in the nation, and did so consistently. I know he'll be hungry to continue to grow and improve upon the successes of this season."
The junior is averaging 22.1 points per game and has scored 642 points this season. It's the 10th best scoring season in the history of the South Atlantic Conference and the best individual scoring effort for an Eagle since Carson-Newman moved to Division II. He is the league's scoring champ for 2016-17
The high water mark for Clark came in the final week of the regular season. The Murfreesboro, Tenn.-native tallied up the highest scoring triple-double in the history of basketball (NCAA or NBA) while resetting both the Carson-Newman and South Atlantic Conference single-game scoring records against Coker on Feb. 25.
"This is the by product of a lot of hardwork," Clark said. "It shows that I've garnered respect in a very talented league. This is as much of a team award as it is an individual award. I wouldn't be here without them."
Clark poured in 54 points to bypass Ish Sanders (51 points versus Mars Hill in 2011) for the Carson-Newman record and RJ McLure (52 points versus Anderson in 2014) for the South Atlantic Conference mark. He also turned in 11 points and 12 assists for his third triple-double in as many home games.
Clark is the seventh player in NCAA history and the first at the Division II level with back-to-back triple-doubles.
The junior guard was 16-for-27 from the field and 7-for-14 from three-point range. He canned 15 of his 16 free throw attempts on the day – all career highs
Clark's 54-points may be the most points that have ever been scored in a triple-double in the history of basketball. All other games that the Carson-Newman Sports Information Department are aware of happened in the NBA. James Harden has produced a pair of 50-point triple-doubles this season for the Houston Rockets this year, topping out at 53 points on New Year's Eve against the Knicks.
Oscar Robertson had 39 points for Cincinnati as a part of a triple-double in a 98-85 win over Louisville in the 1959 NCAA tournament.
Clark also breaks Chris Jones' 56-year-old Carson-Newman record for points in a half. Clark had 36 in the second, besting Jones' 33 from a 1961 game against Emory & Henry.
His other two triple doubles came against Brevard and Lenoir-Rhyne. He had 33 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists against the Tornados, a touch better than his 24-point, 10-rebound, 10-assist effort against L-R.
The junior saw a 52-game streak scoring double-figures come to an end earlier this season. However, since then, Clark has posted nine straight double-digit scoring efforts. He's topped 20 seven times since then and 30 on three occasions. Clark has 17 20-point games this season and has handed out five assists on eight occasions. The Eagles are unbeaten when he does that.
Clark ranks in the top 10 in the SAC in every statistical category except offensive rebounds, person fouls, and blocks.
This is the second season Clark has earned first team honors from the league.
Williams turned in his best season as a Carson-Newman basketball player, averaging 18.2 points per game and 6.8 rebounds. The senior bypassed the 1,500-point plateau in the Eagles' SAC quarterfinal win over Newberry, becoming the 13th Eagle all-time past that post. With 11 more points, he'll match Antoine Davis as the third best scorer for the Eagles in the Division II era.
Williams has scored double digits in 36 straight games, the second longest streak in Carson-Newman basketball history.
"It's an honor to be on this with a lot of great players," Williams said. "I'm not really that big into awards, but I'm glad to be on this list, especially with Charles Clark getting player of the year."
The senior will finish among the top two in SAC history for field goal percentage. Williams has hit 61.4 percent of his shots all-time, and needs to raise his percentage to 61.9 to catch Wingate's Bryan Grier for the SAC record. He ranks eighth all-time in league history with 575 career shots made.
"This was Sawyer's best season as an Eagle," Benson said. "He worked out his free throws, and that made him a much better player. I'm not surprised at all that he's garnered the attention that he has this season."
Williams turned in his best performance this season against Newberry on the road. The senior powered in 33 points on 14-of-18 shooting. He handed out a career high five assists against the Wolves in the Eagles SAC quarterfinal win.
The CoSIDA Academic All-District selection has earned All-SAC honors for a second straight season. Williams has scored 20 or more points 12 times this season. He has seven double-doubles, which are the second most for a single season in school history.
Williams, Clark and the rest of the Eagles will be on display Saturday at 5:30 p.m. in the SAC tournament semifinals against top-seeded LMU. Pregame coverage on the Eagle Sports Network starts at 5:15 with the AEC Countdown To Tipoff on Mountain Country 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and online at cneagles.com/live.