Sharp Named C-USA Defensive Player of the Year; McKnight Selected to All-C-USA First Team

DALLAS — WKU Hilltopper Basketball junior center Jamarion Sharp has been named the 2022 Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year, the league announced Monday.

Additionally, sophomore guard Dayvion McKnight was named to the All-Conference USA First Team, while Sharp also naturally earned a spot on C-USA’s All-Defensive squad.

Sharp, fifth-year senior guard Josh Anderson and graduate senior guard Camron Justice were all named All-Conference Honorable Mention.

This is the third time in the last four seasons that WKU has claimed the Defensive Player of the Year, with Charles Bassey winning the award in 2019 and 2021.

The 7-foot-5 Sharp currently leads the nation in both total blocks (142) – the most in a season in WKU history – and blocks per game (4.6), and ranks second in blocks percentage (17.4%). He has more blocks himself this season than 315 Division I programs have as a team, which is 90% of all D-I teams.

In addition to his nation-leading 4.6 blocks per outing, Sharp is also averaging 8.3 points and 7.5 rebounds per game while shooting 72.7% from the floor. He leads the country with 85 total dunks and is the tallest player in Division I basketball.

Sharp is also a semifinalist for the 2022 Naismith Men’s National Defensive Player of the Year. WKU is the only school to have two different players on the semifinalist list between 2021 and 2022.

Sharp’s spot on the C-USA All-Defensive Team gives the Hilltoppers five selections for that honor in the last four seasons.

McKnight’s First-Team selection is the first such honor for the guard, who was a member of C-USA’s All-Freshman team last season.

This is the fifth straight year that WKU has had a First Team selection.

McKnight is averaging 16.1 points, 5.7 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game this season while averaging 36.1 minutes per contest. He’s one of three players in the nation averaging at least 16 points, five rebounds, five assists and one steal.

The 6-1 guard is also shooting 47% overall from the field, 36% from 3-point range and 79% from the free-throw line on a team-best 140 attempts. He ranks eighth in the country in total assists and 15th in assists per game.

In league play, McKnight is averaging 17.9 points per game with eight games of 20 points or more.

The Hilltoppers (19-12) begin play this week in the Conference USA Basketball Championship at 6 p.m. CT Thursday in the quarterfinals in Frisco, Texas.