AUSTIN, Texas — Cameron Clark doesn't attribute it to any one glorious moment.
There was no life-changing meeting with Sooners basketball coach Lon Kruger that flipped the switch for Clark.
There wasn't a “Eureka” moment where the light suddenly came on for Clark, who was known for flashy dunks but inconsistent all-around play for his first three years in Norman.
To hear Clark tell it, it's pretty simple why he has transformed his game as a senior and become one of the Big 12's best players and one of the most improved players in the country entering the Sooners' Big 12 opener at 7:01 p.m. Saturday at Texas.
“It's my last year and that's what the team needs from me,” Clark said. “(After) last year talking to coach, he said the team was going to be as good as I am. That means I have to work hard and lead by example.”
Clark has been everything the Sooners could've hoped.
He's turned from a flashy dunker into an all-around threat on the floor, extending his shooting range and becoming a matchup problem as a 6-foot-7 forward who can hit from outside.
Clark leads the Big 12 in scoring, averaging 18.5 points per game. That's 12 points ahead of his average from a season ago and more than 10 ahead of where he was for his career coming into the season.
The last Sooner player to increase his scoring average by double digits from one season to the next was Ryan Minor, whose average increased by more than 11 points from his freshman to his sophomore season in 1993-94.
His teammates and coaches say the reasons for Clark's improvement are simple — confidence and aggressiveness, and both go hand-in-hand.
“The results have been consistent so his confidence has remained high and again, as a result of putting in that extra time, I think he was prepared to do well and then when he did do well, his confidence soared and he's just continued to be very consistent,” Sooners coach Lon Kruger said.
The Sooners made it to the NCAA Tournament last season thanks in large part to the do-everything, lead-everyone mentality of Romero Osby.
With Osby gone and just one other senior on the roster, Clark accepted that role without hesitation.
“Cam's a cool cat guy,” sophomore guard Buddy Hield said. “He doesn't say too much. But he's more vocal, encouraging us now. What Ro did last year, that's taking on the team and leading us to new heights, Cam's doing this year.”
ESPN college basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla has seen Clark play plenty, especially over the last two seasons as his son, James, has played for the Sooners.
The elder Fraschilla said Osby has left an enduring mark on this year's Sooners through Clark.
“What makes them a dangerous team is that he's become this year's Ro Osby, a tweener who can score inside and out, also becoming a better leader and someone the younger guys can look up to,” Fraschilla said. “The legacy of Ro Osby, I think, was left behind in the way that Cameron has attacked his senior year.”