Gary Clark Is A Problem: The Origin



N.C. Brown

| The News Record)

Gary Clark unloaded again on Thursday night, and this time the Marshall Thundering Herd were the victims. The junior dropped a career-best 26 points and 10 rebounds along with making several of the night’s most important plays. In short: Gary Clark is a problem.

Hold it right there.

When did that phrase actually start? I didn’t think about it until last night, but I’m not actually sure where it came from. It seems like it’s always been a thing we all said, but now even the athletic department is incorporating it into game day social media:


So, I set out to find the origins. The first person to ever refer to Gary as a problem was Aaron Rountree III in October 2011:


In 2011, Gary would’ve been a sophomore in high school. Per MaxPreps, that was roughly six weeks before opening night of the Clayton Comets 2011–12 season. Depending on how picky you are, this is the origin of the catchphrase, and it came before Gary’s first minute as a varsity player. That, Mr. Rountree, is what we call foresight.

(For some Bearcats reference, October 9 is obviously before UC’s season had started. But Bearcats football was already in mid-season and the ‘Cats had a bye week following a 27–0 win over Miami and before a 25–16 homecoming win over Louisville at Paul Brown Stadium.)

The first person to use the exact phrase “Gary Clark is a problem” was Rod Bridgers on November 26, 2012:


That night, Gary powered his Comets to a 66–64 win over Hunt with an astounding 34 points and 23 rebounds. Yup. Problem.

The first person to take the catchphrase mainstream was, of course, Jon Rothstein.


That night, a freshman Gary Clark unrolled eight points, 16 rebounds, four blocks, and four steals in a 21-point win over East Carolina. Yup. Problem.

Gary embarks on his third round of conference play next week, and the Bearcats are going to need some more problems as they seek to knife through a weak conference en route to a seventh consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.