Brandon Clarke exploded onto the scene at Gonzaga this season after transferring from San Jose State and being forced to miss the 2017-2018 season. However, Clarke has picked up where he left off after his absence and has proved to be one of Gonzaga’s biggest weapons at both ends of the floor. Although Clarke is an extremely efficient finisher on the offensive end and hits the boards hard, he makes a name for himself on the defensive side of the basketball. Averaging 1.2 steals and 3.1 blocks per game, Clarke is adept at disrupting opposing offenses and is an incredible shot blocker given his undersized frame.
Clarke has been the key factor in Gonzaga boasting one of the nation’s best defenses and his shot blocking allow the Zags to play much more aggressive on the perimeter knowing they have reliable help on the back line. Him acting as a reliable big body for easy buckets doesn’t hurt either. While Clarke is averaging nearly three fewer shots per game compared to his last season at SJSU, he is only averaging one less point per game and has upped his field goal percentage to 68.8% on the season.
Updated Brandon Clarke NBA Draft Stock
Brandon Clarke showed out in his second season at SJSU and put his name on the map. After sitting out last season, Clarke has exploded into NBA draft discussions this year on the back of his stellar defensive play. Clarke likely needs to add a bit of muscle in order to excel at the next level but possesses a motor and natural defensive instinct that you simply cannot coach.
Due to his undersized build and lack of a deep ball, Clarke’s draft stock is all over the board. ESPN’s Jonathan Givony has Clarke highest on his draft board, going 19th overall to the Spurs. Sports Illustrated’s Jeremy Woo has Clarke going a bit further down the board at 27th to the Nets while NBAdraft.net has Clarke going all the way down at 43 in the second round to the Atlanta Hawks.
Brandon Clarke NBA Player Comparison
Brandon Clarke reminds me a lot of Jordan Bell at Oregon. Both Clarke and Bell are undersized forwards who lack an outside shot but are able to have a massive impact on games with their high-motor and natural defensive instincts. Bell is stuck playing behind the Warrior’s All-Star starting lineup, but has carved out a crucial role on the Warriors and happily does the dirty work that opens things up for the Warriors star players.
Similarly, Clarke is not the primary scoring option for the Zags and instead plays more of a support role on offense to go with his game-changing defense. Bell fell a bit in the draft mainly due to his size, and it is likely that we see the same happen with Clarke, despite his fantastic production at Gonzaga.