Former NC State guard Jack Clark was impressed with Clemson all three times his Wolfpack squad faced the Tigers this past season.
After entering the transfer portal in March, Clark ultimately committed to Clemson last week, choosing the Tigers over a final four that also consisted of Xavier, Arkansas and Villanova.
Clark spoke with On3 on Monday about his decision to commit to Clemson.
“Just knowing what I’m getting myself into, especially playing at State this past year, seeing how [Clemson] use specific players, that I’ll be used the same way,” Clark said. “I’m going to a culture where you already have returning players and going to a role where they need it to be filled this upcoming season.”
Clemson lost first-team All-ACC performer Hunter Tyson off of this past year’s team and went looking in the transfer portal for his replacement.
The Tigers believe they found it in Clark, who averaged 9 points and a team-high 6.9 rebounds per game last season.
Clark dealt with an injury during the year but was able to appear in 23 games, with 17 starts. He shot 44 percent from the floor, 29 percent from 3-point range and 84 percent from the free throw line. Clark believes he will fit in well with the Tigers.
“Being that big guard, kind of like a do-it-all type of guy on the court. That’s how they see me and that’s how I see myself, also,” Clark said. “I’m a very versatile player, offensively and defensively. There’s not really a thing on the court I can’t do and excel at. So kind of just a versatile, do-it-all type player.”
Smith was impressed with the way Clemson moved the ball when facing the Tigers and while watching film and is anxious to play in Brad Brownell’s system.
“We had two guards who were very ball-dominant. … [Other players] could score on offense, we just didn’t really get the opportunity to. We didn’t really touch the ball like that,” Clark said. “So just going to a system at Clemson where everybody touches the ball – if they have a play, make it, if they have an open shot, take it. It’s just a big difference.”
Clark will join a team that is returning starters Chase Hunter, Ian Schieffelin and potentially PJ Hall. The center has entered his name in the NBA draft but is maintaining his college eligibility. Part-time starter Alex Hemenway is also back, as are several key reserves, including RJ Godfrey and Chauncey Wiggins.
“They’re not selfish players. If I have a shot or if I have a lane to drive, I know I’ll get the ball from them to make a play, and vice versa,” Clark said. “If I see the same for them, they’ll get the ball from me in order to make a play, also. So just playing with people who aren’t selfish is a good thing.”
Now that Clark is committed to Clemson, he is working to get others to join him.
The Tigers need a big man and one option could be Florida State transfer Naheem McLeod. The 7-foot-4 center appeared in 28 games, with 11 starts last season.
McLeod could potentially back up Hall next season, then have a year as the starter the following season as he is only entering his junior year.
Whether McLeod comes or not, Clark is happy to be a Tiger, even if he knows it will be a bit weird when Clemson and NC State play in 2023-24. Former Clemson center Ben Middlebrooks is joining the NC State roster after entering the transfer portal this offseason, so it’s almost as if the Tigers and Wolfpack made a trade.
“We didn’t know we were going to play them three times. But they ended up being kind of a rival as the season went on,” Clark said. “So coming to Clemson now, I know it’s definitely going to be different playing State, because I was getting DMs, tweet mentions, texts, calls and all of that. … [Looking forward to] just going to a system where I know I can make a direct impact instead of just being there on the court, kind of having a direct impact on the court offensively and defensively in a big way.”
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