The 2019 NBA Draft will be a great event for teams to start building for their future. The Game Haus will be doing scouting reports on some of the top prospects in the 2019 NBA Draft. Gonzaga forward Brandon Clarke had one great season at Gonzaga and is now a first-round draft prospect.
Position: Power Forward
Class: Redshirt Junior
2018-2019 stats: 16.9 points per game, 8.6 rebounds per game, 1.9 assists per game, 1.2 steals per game, 3.2 blocks per game, 68.7% field goal, 26.7% 3 point
Size: 6-foot-8, 207 pounds
Clarke came out of nowhere and made a huge impact for Gonzaga this season, as he became one of their best players. After his successful one season in Spokane, Clarke has generated a lot of buzz and will now be selected in the first round of the 2019 NBA Draft.
For his first two seasons of college basketball, Clarke played at San Jose State University. He played solidly in his first season as a Spartan, but exploded into one of the Mountain West Conference’s best players with 17.3 points and 8.6 rebounds per game in his second season at the school. After his sophomore season, he decided to transfer to Gonzaga. He sat out one season, then played a great season at Gonzaga that saw him be named to the All-WCC team and the WCC Defensive Player of the Year.
HIs phenomenal season at Gonzaga not only helped him get on the NBA’s radar, but has helped him to be ranked fairly highly on some draft boards. He is projected to be selected in the first round of the 2019 NBA Draft.
Clarke is one of the most athletic players in the class. He can move his feet well, especially for his position, and can guard a lot of different players, no matter if they are big or fast. His jumping ability is also a great asset, as he uses it often defensively and to get to the basket offensively. Clarke’s vertical leap was on display at the NBA Combine, when he had a max vertical of 40.5 inches.
For the 2018-2019 season, Clarke was the WCC Defensive Player of the Year. He was able to match up with most post players in the WCC. The real reason he won the award though, was because he blocked shots. He averaged 3.2 blocked shots per game last season at Gonzaga and is an excellent rim protector. He was able to block shots against all competition, as he had six blocked shots against Duke in the Maui Invitational.
He is an efficient scorer around the basket. Clarke gets good positioning in the post which helps him get easy baskets. He is a threat to get to the rim in transition and on broken plays. When he posts up, he has a solid right-handed hook shot. Clarke can also twist and turn around defenders in the post. He’ll need to add more moves to make his post game more complete, but he still scores at a high rate and can build off the game he has already built.
His size has come into question, as he measured at just 6-foot-8 at the NBA Combine. To make matters worse, his wingspan was only 6-feet-8 as well, which is really short for a big man. He weighed just 207 pounds at the combine as well. With Clarke’s size and length, he’ll have to rely on his athleticism to get by in the NBA. He’ll also need to add some strength to his frame to better match up with players in the post.
Clarke will also not be able to stretch the floor with his three-point shooting. He made just 0.1 three-point shots per game and made 26.7 percent of his shots from deep while at Gonzaga. Although he could develop this part of his game, because he hasn’t taken many in his career, he will take a few seasons to get to a point where defenses have to guard him at the three-point line.
He will turn 23 in September making him one of the older prospects in the draft. That isn’t a huge issue by itself, but considering he needs to add strength to his frame and develop his game more to adapt to the NBA, Clarke may be closer to his ceiling than other prospects.
Projected Draft Range: First round