The Bearcats have solid players both returning and coming in this year. It seems that expectations are pretty high for everyone, but perhaps none more so than Gary Clark. Please allow me to build some hype around Mr. Clark... Clark is the only ESPN 100 player among the incoming crop (Shaquille Thomas is the only other one on the entire team). Last year, he posted not just a very rare quadruple-double, but a monstrous one; made up of 22 points, 21 rebounds, 15 blocks, and 10 assists (link). In the Bahamas game a few weeks back, Clark didn't start, but played 22-minutes and just missed a double-double with 17 points and nine rebounds, while posting the highest player effectiveness rating on the team with 23 (Game stats here).
Name: Gary Clark
Weight: 215 lbs
Class: Freshman (High School)
Hometown: Clayton, NC
Jersey Number: 11
Gary Clark fits the Mick Cronin prototype; tall, long, athletic, and puts in work on the defensive end. HIs wingspan will allow him to rack up the Bearcats coaching staff's favorite statistic - defensive deflections. He is able to guard the 4, 3, and at times the 2, making him invaluable in a system with so many personnel options.
So what can we expect this year?
We called him a scorer in March, and not much has changed. Expect Clark to eventually lead the team in scoring, though maybe not this year. For now, he can score, rebound, pass, defend, and basically do whatever we need him to. I see Clark providing an opportunity to fill in gaps in the current system. He will do what he is needed to do (likely to include scoring) and will develop immensely.
After his inaugural year or two of gap filling, the team will likely build around Clark. With Troy and incoming recruits next year like Justin Jenifer feeding him the ball, look for Clark to potentially make some national noise in the next few years. For now, he needs to put on a little size and develop his motor, which I am sure Mick will be glad to help with.
-Daniele "Da" Bologna