Rejected! Brandon Clarke defending the rim for Gonzaga

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Gonzaga forward Brandon Clarke noticed Tennessee’s Yves Pons using toward the basket and each and every rose from the flooring on the the same time.

Clarke’s tomahawk block on Pons sent the ball cannonballing toward the flooring, and the 2d might maybe maybe maybe be replayed on highlight reveals for days.

“We watched movie on that crew and I knew Pons turn into once a bouncy participant,” Clarke mentioned this week. “Seeing him come down the lane, I knew I needed to be ready for him. I jumped enormous high on that block. It ended up being a terribly cool highlight.”

2nd-ranked Gonzaga (26-2, 13-0 West High-tail) lost that game in early December but the block helped place Clarke as a power to be reckoned with.

Clarke is Gonzaga’s 2d-leading scorer at 16.7 functions per game and has already location a program document with 87 blocked photos this season. He spent his first two seasons at San Jose Dispute.

Clarke turn into once overshadowed early on by your entire national and world focal point on teammate Rui Hachimura, who is a famous person in each and every the US and Japan and is trailed by a bevy of Jap newshounds at every game.

But Clarke’s stock has risen so great that last week he and Hachimura had been each and every listed among the many 30 finalists for Naismith Player of the Year. Every relish scored in double figures in all their video games this season.

“Rui is principally the most inspiring participant I relish ever performed with,” Clarke mentioned. “Playing with him is large enjoyable, in point of truth.”

Clarke doesn’t relish an entourage cherish his teammate. But he is elevating eyebrows thanks to performances cherish his line against San Francisco in early February. He carried out with 20 functions, 16 rebounds and five blocks in a Gonzaga buy.

“He turn into once phenomenal,” coach Tag Few mentioned after the game. “He’s athletic. He’s swiftly. He’s strong, knowledgeable.”

Clarke turn into once raised in Phoenix and the handiest offer he bought out of highschool turn into once from San Jose Dispute. After averaging 17 functions and 8.7 rebounds per game as a sophomore, he made up our minds to switch.

“Faculties called me and I got a name from (Gonzaga) and it turn into once somewhat like a flash,” Clarke mentioned. “I noticed that turn into once the appropriate fit for me.”

He sat out last season per NCAA principles, and has began all 28 video games this year. He leads the crew with eight rebounds per game.

He has continually been a factual shooter, but is swiftly to praise his teammates, guards Josh Perkins and Zach Norvell Jr. and forward Hachimura, for his efficiency this year.

“They are doing a factual job of getting me photos in locations I’m in point of truth, in point of truth factual at,” Clarke mentioned. “I don’t must power up any injurious photos.”

As for blocks, Clarke hasty blew previous the Gonzaga single-season document of 70 location a decade ago by Austin Daye. Clarke is in tenth residing on the Gonzaga occupation listing after phase of one season.

“It’s primarily about timing, in point of truth,” Clarke mentioned. “It’s something I’ve continually been factual at. As I got taller and my legs got stronger, I turn into once in a situation to bewitch it to the subsequent stage.”

Clarke doesn’t know if he’ll test the NBA waters after the season.

“I stay in the 2d factual now,” he mentioned. “I’m centered on attending to the Final Four and then successful that. I’m undecided about next year.”

“I love Gonzaga although, the coaches and of us right here,” Clarke added. “It will most likely maybe maybe be in point of truth laborious to yell bye.”

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