Givanni Damico | June 18th, 2019
Brandon Clarke, PF (Gonzaga)
Weight: 207 LBs
2018-19 Stats: 16.9 PPG, 1.9 APG, 8.6 RPG, 3.2 BPG, 1.2 SPG
Brandon Clarke is a Canadian basketball player who attended the University of Gonzaga. He was born in Vancouver, British Columbia to Whitney Triplett and Steve Clarke. He moved to the United States when he was three years old. Clarke attended Desert Vista High School in Phoenix, Arizona where he was named an All-Arizona Division 1 honoree. He attended San Jose State for his freshman and sophomore year where he put up 10.1 points and 7.3 rebounds in conference play during his freshman year. He was named the Mountain West Sixth Man of the Year. During his sophomore campaign, he averaged 17.9 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks. He was named to the All-Mountain West First Team and the Mountain West All-Defensive Team. After his sophomore campaign, he transferred to Gonzaga where he would sit out the 2017-18 season. During his junior year, he played three fewer minutes per game for the Zags. He averaged 16.9 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 3.1 blocks per game en route being named the West Coast Conference Newcomer of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year. He was also a member of the All-WCC First Team. Clarke was just the third player in NCAA Tournament history to record 35+ points and five blocks, joining Shaquille O’Neal and David Robinson. Now that is some legendary company.
Clarke is a very strong finisher around the rim who does a good job racking up offensive rebounds. He is an outstanding defender and can block nearly anyone’s shot. Clarke is an elite athlete who has a non-stop motor. Despite his ability to block shots, Clarke does not draw many fouls. He is a very clean player on both sides of the ball and is very conscious of body control. He has a great shot selection and will not force what he knows that he can’t make. His defense is what will make him the big bucks at the next level, considering that he is able to guard nearly anybody on the court. There are not a ton of players with Clarke’s unique skill set anymore which is what makes him special. He has a well of untapped potential that could make him great at the next level.
Clarke “lacks size”, standing at just 6’7” without shoes on. Notice the quotes around “lacks size”, because despite him not being a 6’11” power forward, he plays like he’s four inches taller. If his skill set can translate to the next level, he won’t need those extra inches to be a great player. The thing that concerns me about his size is that he weighed in at just 207 pounds. He could easily get bullied by the 280-pound power forwards in the NBA. He struggles from the three-point line, shooting just 27 percent from beyond the arc during his junior year. Clarke isn’t a great ball handler either, but he won’t be headlining an isolation play on offense anytime soon. People will complain about him being 23 years old (in September), but if he has the ability to make an impact right away, that won’t sway many teams from picking him if he was already on their board.
Draft Prediction: Round 1, Pick 11 to the Minnesota Timberwolves
With Anthony Tolliver and Taj Gibson being unrestricted free agents, the Wolves are in the market for a new power forward. Whether Clarke sticks at that position or has to move to small forward depends on his shooting and overall offensive capabilities. Either way, Clarke is a great two-way player with loads of potential. He’d be a steal for the Wolves at pick 11.
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Main Credit Image:Embed from Getty Images