Iowa star Caitlin Clark was named the 2023 Naismith Player of the Year on Wednesday, recognizing her as the most outstanding player in women's basketball. The award comes after a dominant 2022-23 season in which Clark earned her second straight Big Ten Player of the Year award, among other accolades.
Clark was one of four finalists for the Player of the Year award, a list including 2022 winner Aliyah Boston of South Carolina, Elizabeth Kitley of Virginia Tech and Maddy Siegrist of Villanova. Boston would be named Naismith Defensive Player of the Year, while South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley was named Naismith Coach of the Year.
On Friday, Clark and the Hawkeyes will play Boston, Staley and the Gamecocks in the Final Four of the NCAA Women's Tournament.
"Winning the Naismith Trophy is such a huge honor for my family and our program," Clark said. "None of this would be possible without my tremendous support system. I want to also thank Lisa Bluder for giving me the opportunity to play at Iowa and really thrive during my time here."
Clark has been far and away the most statistically dominant player in women's college basketball this season, as she is the only player averaging more than 20 points (27.3), five assists (8.6) and five rebounds (7.3) per game. After earning MVP honors in the Big Ten Championship tournament, Clark would make her mark on the NCAA Tournament with a 40-point triple double in the Elite Eight against Louisville. In that game, Clark became the first athlete in Division I NCAA basketball history (men's or women's) to record over 900 points and 300 assists in a single season.
Clark becomes the third member of the Hawkeyes to win the Naismith Player of the Year award since 2019, joining Megan Gustafson (2019) and male counterpart Luka Garza (2021). Presently, Clark's 984 points are the second most in a single season in Big Ten history behind Gustafson's 1,001 points in 2019.