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Cliff Omoruyi named to Defensive Player of the Year watchlist

The Scarlet Knights land another player on the Naismith DPOY list.

NCAA Basketball: Rutgers at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Cliff Omoruyi is currently leading one of the best defenses in the nation and is being recognized for his efforts.

On Wednesday, the Scarlet Knight big man was named to the watchlist for the 2024 Naismith National Defensive Player of the Year award.

This marks the second consecutive year that Rutgers finds a player on the list. Omoruyi now joins Caleb McConnell, who was selected as a finalist after being named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year for the second time.

Omoruyi was named First Team All-Defense in the Big Ten last season. This year, he continues to be a force down low.

Omoruyi is currently fourth nationally, averaging three clocked shots per game. Rutgers is ranked as the second-most efficient defense in the nation, according to KenPom. It is allowing 65.4 points per game, which is 36th in the nation, and is 25th nationally as opponents are shooting just 39.8% from the field.

The 10 semifinalists for the award will be named on March 12 with the winner being announced on April 7. Omoruyi is one of 15 on the watchlist currently.

The full list can be found below:

  • Ace Baldwin Jr., Penn State
  • Reece Beekman, Virginia
  • Adem Bona, UCLA
  • Johni Broome, Auburn
  • Devin Carter, Providence
  • Ryan Dunn, Virginia
  • Zach Edey, Purdue
  • Dajuan Harris Jr., Kansas
  • Jaelen House, New Mexico
  • Ryan Kalkbrenner, Creighton
  • Tamin Lipsey, Iowa State
  • Kevin McCullar Jr., Kansas
  • Cliff Omoruyi, Rutgers
  • Jamal Shead, Houston
  • Zakai Zeigler, Tennessee