Regional Recruiting Analyst covering high school and junior nationally.
Clayton, NC (Future150) -- The talent has always been there. Owning a 6’7” frame with crazy length, 2014 Gary Clark has all the physical attributes you want in a prospect, and his impressive athleticism only adds to that attraction. What has recently made his future even more promising, however, is his rapidly improving skillset.
Once known to be more of a versatile four man, Clark has transitioned his game to the point where he can play the three spot on a regular basis. After having watched him all summer with his NC Red Storm AAU squad, improvements in all areas of his perimeter game have been obvious.
He has been a threat to go coast to coast off a defensive rebound for a while, but he now has the ability to not only handle the ball in the open floor, but also create for himself off the dribble in a half court setting. As he learns to not show the ball quite so much to his defender, this area of his game will become more efficient and affective.
His ability to knock down the open long ball makes him even more capable at the small forward position. He gets good rotation on his shot, and there isn’t too much room for error in his release. The next step for him in this department is incorporating a pull up and midrange game into his offensive arsenal, thereby improving his status as a scoring threat.
Part of his game that often goes unnoticed is his passing ability. Clark has good control over the ball for a 6’7” high school junior, and it benefits him tremendously when distributing the rock, particularly in transition.
Some of the bounce passes he makes in these situations could make one think he is a guard, as he completes them on the move and puts them where they need to be. He will force the issue at times, but this is an easy fix as he learns more about playing on the perimeter.
From a defensive standpoint, Clark has great potential. His length makes him disruptive, and his solid foot speed allows him to recover quickly. What makes him even more affective on this end is his quick jump. Clark has an uncanny ability to get off the ground multiple times before his opponent has even made one jump and settled himself, which makes him a very good shot blocker and rebounder. His strong hands only add to his ability to corral rebounds, and he should prove to become a very proficient rebounder out of his position at the next level.
As you can see, Clark has become the epitome of versatility and is just scratching the surface of his potential. His improvement over the last few months alone is indicative of that potential, and still with two more seasons of high school ball, there is plenty of reason to believe that he will be ready to play the small forward position full time at the next level.
Even better is the fact that his big man skills have not diminished either. He’ll be able to maximize these skills by taking smaller three men down low and utilizing his size and length advantage.
All these qualities added up equals someone with tremendous upside and the makings of a potential high major player.
Schools have begun to take notice, too. Clark told Future150.com that he holds offers from Ole Miss, VCU, UNC-Wilmington, UNC-Charlotte, East Carolina, and Old Dominion, with interest from Miami, Cincinnati, Clemson, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, and NC State. He mentioned that Cincinnati, VCU, and Clemson have been recruiting him the hardest as of late.
His combination of natural talent, size, and ever improving skillset will surely garner him more interest and make that offer list even longer.