- Paul Biancardi, Basketball Recruiting
Mick Cronin and Cincinnati’s recruiting are on a roll. The Bearcats recently landed ESPN 100 PF Quadri Moore (Linden, NJ/Linden) and today added F Gary Clark (Clayton, N.C./Clayton). Clark had a terrific summer playing for CP3 and played especially well at the Peach Jam and in Vegas. He chose Cincinnati over NC State, Clemson, Wake Forest and Pittsburgh. Cincinnati has had outstanding success recruiting under Cronin and it all starts with their plan and evaluating talent. They have done extremely well with the versatile, athletic forwards like Clark.
“On my visit I loved the facilities and I really enjoyed the players in the program,” Clark said. “I noticed the relationship that Coach Cronin had with his players and I knew I wanted to be part of that someday."
Why he committed
Assistant coach Larry Davis spotted Clark about a year ago and loved his talent and locked in on him hard when others were not sure where he would fit. It was that loyalty and belief that attracted Clark to be the Bearcats. His recent official visit won him over and his time with the players sealed the commitment.
What he brings
When you watch Clark play you see a power forward with skill, length, rebounding and shot blocking abilities. He displays versatility on the offensive end where he can shoot the ball from 15 feet and beyond and he does it with comfort and confidence. When facing the basket he can put the ball on the floor from the high post and straight line drive a defender. Clark produces best when rebounding and blocking shots. He is a good two-handed rebounder who has the length and knack to grab double-figure boards in a game. Although his ball handling needs polish when he grabs a defensive board he will advance the ball on the break and score or make the simple pass. One of the better shot blockers for his size (6-foot-7) due to his enormous wingspan, Clark will deflect passes or alter the shots he does not block. At times his effort has been questioned but this past summer he learned how to compete with greater effort and must maintain that approach to be a factor.
How he fits
With Cincy losing front court players such as David Nyarsuk, Justin Jackson and Titus Rubles, the timing and need match Clark’s talent to make this commitment a great fit.
With his quickness, agility and length, Clark is the prototypal forward that Cincinnati goes after and gets. Cronin will find spots on the floor within the frame of his offense to utilize Clark’s scoring as well as his low/mid post-up game. Look for Cincinnati to spread teams out and explore the advantage by driving and posting.
Cincinnati will switch screens involving all five players in the switch to take teams out of their offensive flow. This works especially well against teams that run set plays. Clark can guard like size or bigger players and will learn how to defend smaller players when the switch occurs. With more length and common size, look for the Bearcats to get back to pressing with Clark’s value showing on the front of the press and with traps.
Who he reminds us of
A smaller version of David West who played at cross-town rival Xavier and is now in the NBA. They both are mobile, with an inside game and can beat you from mid-range.
At 6-7, Clark is only 215 pounds. When he steps on campus the summer before his freshman year he will get the chance to work with a strength coach, and eat the right foods more often and should get up to 225 pounds.
How the class is shaping up
Moore is strong and a very good shooting big man with the ability to go inside and score. Big-bodied Coreontae DeBerry (Hutchinson, Kan./Hutchinson CC) is 6-foot-10 and close to 270 pounds and will patrol the paint. With Clark bringing offensive and defensive versatility, the Bearcats have met their front court needs and now can turn their attention to finding a shooter to complement their future roster. They are involved with Donte Grantham (Martinsburg, W. Va./Hargrave Military) who has a long frame and stroke from the outside.