Clint Allard of the UC San Diego men’s basketball team was named as an Outstanding Senior Student-Athlete at the UCSD Athletics Recognition Dinner on May 29, capping off a storied four-year career as a Triton. Allard stands atop the program’s leaderboards at the Division II level in points (1,150), field goals made (370), free throws made (299), rebounding (387), assists (414), steals (130), and minutes played (3,378). During his senior campaign, Allard was named to the All-California Collegiate Athletic Association Second Team as he helped the Tritons capture the CCAA Tournament title and earn their first appearance in the D-II postseason. "Clint's growth is in line with the growth of this program," Tritons' head coach Chris Carlson said. "His abilities and leadership this past season helped take us to a new level." The UCSD squad finished 18-12 overall, the program’s best finish in nine years. With his graduation set for June 19, the six-foot-one guard from San Jose, Calif., took a moment to discuss his recent honor, the four years he spent on the La Jolla campus and what lies ahead as he transitions from student-athlete to alumnus.
Q At the Athletics Recognition Night late last month, you were named an Outstanding Senior Student-Athlete along with Meaghan Noud of the women’s basketball team. Were you surprised when you heard your name called? What does the award mean to you?
Allard I was very shocked when I won the award, mainly because there are just so many amazing senior student-athletes, both in the classroom and in the athletic realm. Every year I have sat in awe of the people receiving awards on that night, and every year it reminded me of how impressive our athletic program has been, and so to be a part of that night was pretty surreal. The award is special to me, especially winning it with Meaghan, because I think neither of our journeys has been traditional in the sense that neither of us was highly recruited, but we made the most of our opportunities and it made the whole experience more meaningful looking back.
Q Looking back at your four years at UCSD, how do you reflect on your basketball career as a Triton?
Allard I just feel really lucky. I got to see our program consistently take steps forward. I got to see the players around me improve. I got to see other programs give us more respect every year. Coach Carlson told me that “it feels better to do something that has never been done before than to do something that is expected” and I agree, which is why our conference championship and NCAA Tournament appearance felt so good.
Q If you had to pick the most memorable game you played while at UCSD, what would that be? Why?
Allard The games at San Diego State and Gonzaga will be memorable in the sense that the atmosphere surrounding those games was amazing, but my most memorable game has to be my last win, when we beat Cal Poly Pomona for the conference championship. It was a full team victory which was emblematic of my entire career at UCSD, and the sense of accomplishment we felt, and the pride on our parents and fans faces will stay with me forever.
Q You have worked with quite a few different coaches during your time here. As a senior, what impressed you most with Carlson and his assistants during their first year at the helm?
Allard What impressed me the most was that it never seemed to me that Coach Carlson was new to this at all. We had assistant coaches that could help him out with some of the nuances of the league and how things might be different at UCSD, but he came in confident and ready to get to work which rubbed off on the team, and put the veterans at ease because we knew there would be no backtracking for the program.
Q Currently you are UCSD’s all-time leader at the Division II level in 10 different major statistical categories, including field goals made, free throws made, assists, steals and games played. Is there one particular area of your basketball skills in which the success is more gratifying because of the improvement you saw over the four years?
Allard I guess the games played record kind of reflects my whole career path to me, so it means a lot when I think about my progression as a player. After redshirting a year in which I knew I had to get stronger and more physical to compete, my freshman year I played the last minute of our first game and zero minutes my second game. All I could do was go back to the practice floor and work hard and get my chance, and luckily that chance came and I was able to start playing a little, but I still had to improve my defense to be a starter for Coach Carr. Eventually I guess I showed enough defense and toughness in practice to get my shot, and I’ve had to compete for it ever since with the improvement of everyone else throughout my years here. So to have played the most games when I felt lucky to play even one means a lot.
Q If you could have dinner with three sports legends, who would you choose?
Allard One would be Bill Russell. I read his book my senior year of high school and would advise any basketball player to try to do the same. He was just so committed to the team, in a way that is very rarely seen anymore, and I’d just like to pick his brain on how he always found a way to win, even if he was outmatched. I’d want Tiger Woods there, because he’s another guy that competes every day, and you can see him grind out every hole, whether he has his “A” game or not, and I know that a lot of golf is more mental then physical. And then maybe Hubie Brown, a favorite of both me and my roommate Jon, so I could ask him how playing with peach baskets for hoops worked out for him.
Q If you have a chance to sit down and talk with the captains of next year’s team, what advice would you leave them with?
Allard I would say the most important thing is to do what the situation calls for, like making a joke in a tense situation to remind everyone that this game is fun. It is mostly the coach’s job to light into a player, but sometimes players respond better hearing it from a teammate, so you have to know that your friendship will be there when you step off the court, but on the court you may have to demand more out of some players. In most cases though, just be reassuring to the players that they’re doing well, because positive reinforcement may sound childish, but I think that it goes a long way for a player’s confidence.
Q With graduation right around the corner, what career plans do you plan to pursue? Will basketball be a regular part of your life and how has your time at UCSD, on and off the court, helped you to prepare for the future?
Allard Basketball will always be a part of my life. I will always try to stay around the game in some capacity because I have such a passion for it. And no matter what I end up doing, my on the court experience at UCSD will give me tools that few other people have, and my off the court experience at UCSD has also prepared me to go on with the rest of my life as a well-rounded person. I am not entirely sure what my career plans are, but I can already tell that the people I’ve met as a student-athlete here gives me some great connections to whatever I want to do.
Previous Q&A ArticlesJen Myers (Women's Crew) May 27, 2008
Casey Ryan (Men's Track and Field and Men's Basketball) May 21, 2008
Keith Noe (Baseball) May 13, 2008
Liz LaPlante (Women's Tennis Head Coach) April 30, 2008
Sydney Gstettenbauer (Women's Water Polo) April 22, 2008
Sarah Hendy (Women's Track and Field) April 17, 2008
Eric Leserman (Men's Volleyball) April 9, 2008
Danielle Lukk (Softball) April 4, 2008
Chris Franco (Baseball) March 24, 2008
Dan Perdew (Swimming) March 18, 2008
Evan Hsiao (Swimming) March 9, 2008
Eric Rubens (Men's Tennis) February 27, 2008
Melissa Ward (Softball) February 20, 2008
Cameron Sprowles (Fencing) February 13, 2008
Kim Hockett (Women's Water Polo) February 6, 2008
Trevor Decker (Baseball) January 31, 2008
Jordan Lawley (Men's Basketball) January 23, 2008
Jason Spangler (Men's Volleyball) January 5, 2008
Andrew Skewes (Men's Diving) December 26, 2007
Alexis Gaskin (Women's Basketball) December 17, 2007
Aubrey Panis (Women's Swimming) December 2, 2007
Andrew Hatch (Men's Basketball) November 26, 2007
Kevin Klein (Men's Cross Country) November 12, 2007
Kim Adams (Women's Volleyball) November 7, 2007
Ben Miller (Men's Water Polo) October 31, 2007
Alie Avina (Women's Soccer) October 19, 2007
Charity Elliott (Women's Basketball Head Coach) October 15, 2007
Jason Le (Men's Soccer ) October 3, 2007
Rebecca Bailey (Women's Volleyball) September 18, 2007
Amanda Burkhardt (Women's Cross Country) September 10, 2007
Curtis Williamson (Men's Water Polo) September 4, 2007