Rising Stars and Hopes on the Court

Sara Conroy, Sports Editor

While most Clark students were enjoying some time away from the action at Clark this past winter break, the members of the men’s basketball were hard at work. With an 8 and 9 overall record and a 3 and 3 conference record, the men’s basketball team is now amidst the toughest of their NEWMAC competitions of the season. The team remains just under a .500 season win percentage for all games. Most teams consider a “500 season”, when a team ends with a paired number of wins and losses, a decent outcome. The men’s basketball team is certainly in a building year with a lot of young talent and both co-captains in only their junior season. In the NEWMAC, Clark ranks 5th in the men’s basketball standings.


Overall the team is showing many strengths on the court, but two individuals in particular have stood this season. Junior Tyler Davern was named Co-Defensive Athlete of the week earlier this week by NEWMAC officials. He was joined by junior Andrew Jaworski of Babson College and senior Heath Post of Springfield College. Davern earned this honor for his role in aiding the Cougars to victory over the Babson Beavers and his impressive showing against the nationally ranked Springfield College Pride. When the Cougars took down the Babson Beavers, Davern had 3 steals and totaled 23 points. Against Springfield, Davern led the team in defensive playmaking with 10 rebounds in the game.


It would be hard to get through a conversation on the Clark men’s basketball team without mentioning junior Biko Gayman. Gayman put his name in the Clark Athletics history books after scoring his 1,000th point of his college career in a game against NEWMAC opponent the Coast Guard Academy. Gayman joins just 27 other men’s basketball players in program history who’ve achieved this honor and he is the 3rd to have also reached 300 assists at the time of earning this achievement. Throughout this season Gayman has averaged 19.8 points per game and has already earned a NEWMAC honor earlier this season. The NEWMAC named Gayman the Offensive Athlete of the Week at the very start of spring session classes after taking the game high’s in two big matches against NEWMAC opponents Wheaton and Emerson, the latter of which is the defending NEWMAC championship team.


Head Coach Tyler Simms, in his first season at Clark, has lead the team to its strongest conference play since the 2012-2013 season. The Scarlet had the chance to speak with Coach Simms who had the following to say about the performances by Davern and Gayman, “Their talent on the court speaks for itself in terms of the responsibility they have put on their shoulders. It’s good to see them getting the honors they deserve, but something we’ve been focusing on is that individual success comes from team success. When the team wins, everyone wins”. 


Coach Simms also stressed that both players are leaders on and off the court in their own ways. Davern is a Co-Captain leading the team in that capacity with “a real passion for getting better and for the team,” according to Coach Simms. He also drew attention to Gayman’s involvement in groups across campus where he uses the same energy he has on the court to create positive change in the Clark community. Gayman is one of five Co-Founders of Clark Athletics Inclusion Coalition (CAIC), a group emphasizing the importance of diversity and inclusion through education and action. 


As for the rest of the season, Coach Simms is confident that the team’s attitude and effort will guide them through the next eight games and hopefully carry them through post-season play. If you’d like to catch Davern, Gayman, and the rest of the team against NEWMAC opponents, you can catch them this Saturday at 1 PM versus Springfield College at the Kneller Athletic Center. To keep up with all the latest Clark Athletics news on-the-go, follow Clark Athletics on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.