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Cincinnati Bearcats in the NBA Season Review: Gary Clark

Clark helped the Houston Rockets get through a tough start to the season and earned himself a potential future in the NBA.

NBA: Preseason-Indiana Pacers at Houston Rockets Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Numbers

  • 2.9 points per game
  • 2.3 rebounds per game
  • 0.5 blocks per game
  • .331/.297/1.000 shooting splits

For someone who didn’t end up getting his name called during the 2018 NBA Draft, Gary Clark ended up getting a pretty decent shot in his first season of professional basketball. Now that the former Cincinnati Bearcat and American Athletic Conference Player of the Year has finished his first season following the Houston Rockets’ loss in the second round of the NBA playoffs, its time to take a look back.

Clark played on a two-way contract for the Rockets during the first month and a half of the season. This was during a time when Houston was uncharacteristically weak and needed all the help it could get. From Oct. 17 to Nov. 30, Clark averaged 17.6 minutes per game off the bench, contributing 3.6 points, 3.0 rebounds and 0.9 blocks each night. Playing that well and helping the Rockets get through that rough patch earned him a step up from that two-day deal.

Unfortunately, Clark didn’t get as much playing time from there. That’s not to say he was completely forgotten, but he played in only 31 games and averaged 9.3 minutes a contest during the final three and a half months. He also went back and forth between Houston and the G League multiple times. In the smaller sample he did shoot better, making 36 percent from the field and 31.9 percent from three, but his counting statistics went down (2.5 points per game, 1.8 rebounds per game).

During the Rockets’ playoff run, Clark was utilized even less, playing fewer than three minutes in two games during the first round against the Utah Jazz.

The Best of the Best

Oct. 30, 2018 vs. Portland Trail Blazers

Although the Rockets lost this game by 19 points, this was a breakout game for Clark, who produced 11 points, four rebounds and a block in just under 20 minutes. He made 4-of-9 from the field, including a 3-of-7 effort from three.

Nov. 5, 2018 at Indiana Pacers

Clark didn’t have the three-point shooting going (1-for-6) but he blocked three shots and had six points and as many rebounds in a Houston win.

Nov. 11, 2018 vs. Indiana Pacers

I guess Indiana doesn’t know how to stop Clark, who had six points and eight rebounds in a career-high 32 minutes while the Rockets were +16 with him on the floor.

Nov. 15, 2018 vs. Golden State Warriors

Against the defending champions, Clark sank 3-of-7 shots from beyond the arc and had seven rebounds and two blocks.

Nov. 17, 2018 vs. Sacramento Kings

This is another game where Clark showed that his defense could really change a game as he blocked four shots during a 20-point win.

Jan. 16, 2019 vs. Brooklyn Nets

In his first career start, Clark was held scoreless but he had eight rebounds, two steals and a pair of blocks.

Feb. 28, 2019 vs. Miami Heat

This was arguably the best game of the season for Clark, as he scored a career-high 14 points to go with five rebounds in his second career start.

For Next Year

There is still real progress that Clark has to make to be an NBA regular. His defensive rating was fairly mediocre (110) and with a player efficiency rating below 10, he generally needs to get better everywhere on the floor. However, he played reasonably well in a reserve role where he was asked to rebound, protect the rim and knock down a few shots when the time called for it. Clark’s three-year deal is partially guaranteed next season, so he will definitely get more opportunities to prove himself. It’s up to him to take advantage of them and considering what we as Bearcat fans know about Clark, that won’t be a problem.