From news and wire services
Gonzaga forward Brandon Clarke, who led the nation in blocked shots this season, plans to skip his senior year and enter the NBA draft.
Clarke was named the West Coast Conference Defender and Newcomer of the Year. He was also tabbed First Team All-WCC and selected to the USBWA District IX Team. Clarke’s 117 blocks were the most in the country, while his 3.16 blocks per game ranked third. He broke the conference single-season record, and ranks sixth in program history for most blocks in a career, with all 117 blocks coming this season. The Phoenix, Ariz. native, finished second in league history with 52 blocks in conference action.
Clarke topped the nation shooting 68.7 percent from the field, which also set a new WCC record. He led the conference, and was ninth in country, making 70.5 percent of his shots inside-the-arc. The redshirt junior averaged 16.9 points per game, which was seventh in the WCC, and 8.6 rebounds per outing, which is third in the league. He led the conference averaging 3.08 offensive rebounds per game.
“First, I would like to thank my family for their continued support of my basketball career,” Clarke said. “I would also like to thank Coach Few and the entire Gonzaga coaching staff for sharing their knowledge of the game. I transferred to GU to develop my game and learn as much as I could from the top coaching staff in the country. With their help, I am confident in the player I have become and I’m ready for the next step. My teammates, my brothers, I cannot thank them enough. These have been the best two years of my life. Lastly, I want to thank the best fans in the country, Zag Nation. I will always be proud to be a Zag!
“With the support from our coaching staff and my family, I have decided to chase my dream of playing in the NBA.”
Clarke has not yet determined his final status. As in years past, players can submit paperwork to receive evaluations from the NBA and participate — if invited — in the NBA Draft Combine. At this time, Clarke plans to utilize the current rules in place.
Under new NCAA rules, the junior can sign with an agent and still return to school if he chooses. Clarke has until May 29 to make a final decision.
Clarke’s 117 blocks were the most in the country. He averaged 16.9 points and 8.6 rebounds per game in his first season with Gonzaga after transferring from San Jose State. Clarke also led the nation in field goal shooting percentage (68.7).
The 2019 NBA Draft Combine will take place May 15-19 in Chicago, although it hasn’t been determined yet if Clarke will participate. The 2019 NBA Draft is June 20 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Earlier this week, Gonzaga forward Rui Hachimura also said he would skip his senior year to enter the draft.