Jason Clark is a 24 year old 188cm guard from Arlington, Virginia that is playing his third professional and second season with Okapi Aalstar (Belgium-Scooore League). He started his basketball career in 2008 with Georgetown(NCAA) playing a total of 130 NCAA games and as a senior played 33 games: 14.0ppg, 4.1rpg, 1.8apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 60.0%, 3PT: 32.2%, FT: 75.0%. IN 2012 he started his professional career for Generali Okapi Aalstar (Belgium-Ethias League): 9 games: 15.1ppg, 3.6rpg, 1.2apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 56.6%, 3PT: 37.5%, FT: 69.7%; EuroChallenge: 6 games: 15.2ppg, 4.2rpg, 2.8apg, 2.7spg, FGP: 56.3%, 3PT: 30.8%, FT: 86.2%. Last season he played for Belgacom Spirou Charleroi (Belgium-Ethias League): 11 games: 8.2ppg, 2.7rpg, FGP: 51.1%, 3PT: 26.9%, FT: 65.6%. He started the season for BG Goettingen and recently came back to his old team on a short term contract for Rotnei Clarke who is injured. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball before the Eurochallenge game against the Fraport Skyliners.
Jason thanks for talking to German Hoops. After starting the season with BG Goettingen you are back in Germany with Aalstar playing the Fraport Skyliners in Eurochallenge play. How good is it being back in Germany?
It is great to be back in Germany. I really enjoyed my short time with BG Goettingen. This is actually the first time that I have been in Frankfurt.
After starting the season with BG Goettingen you left in October and went back to Generali Okapi Aalstar where you played in the 2012-2013 season. Besides knowing the club why was the transition to the court so easy again?
I think that the main reasons why the adjustment has been so easy has been the style of play and the coach that I am used to. I was very comfortable here my first season and am familiar with head coach Brad Dean and his vision. Nothing has changed from my rookie season and it has just been easy adjusting.
Aalstar is 7-2 in the Belgium league and 3-0 in Eurochallenge play. What has been the secret to the success of the team thus far?
The secret has been our ability to be able to play our game. We are a team that likes to get out and run. We have very athletic players, shooters and scorers. When we play together as a team then we are very hard to beat.
Aalstar has many scoring options and you are scoring a lot and averaging four assists on the team. What exactly is your role on the team?
I have a few roles, but my primary role is to play defense. In order to get out on transition, we need to play good defense. I also am responsible for scoring and getting my teammates involved. I am that energy bug coming from the bench.
Talking about defense, how much do you remember of Quantez Robertson´s defense in the win at home some weeks ago?
I actually have his offense in my memory.
You are a player that knows how to fill up the stat sheet, but what is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t get noticed right away?
A hidden strength in my game is my defense. People don’t really know it and seem to get caught up with my offense abilities. I have very long arms and can get into passing lanes easily.
How impressed have you been with American rookie shooting guard Taylor Braun who can also fill out the stat sheet. He is third in team rebounding, second in assists and third in scoring.
I have been very impressed with Taylor. I had heard very good things about him and when I got here I knew why. He can do it all and he is already as a rookie a very good player. He can flat out score the ball. I really like how he attacks the rim and he really plays above the rim. His mind is so good and he already sees plays before they happen. He will have a very good career in Europe or the States.
Last season you played for Belgacom Spirou Charleroi (Belgium-Ethias League). Your stats were down a bit from your rookie season. What kind of experience was your year there?
Last season was tough for me coming back from a long injury. I was just blessed to get back on the court after rehabbing a whole year. My stats weren’t that great, but I just wanted to get my feet wet again. It seemed like Last Season was a set back, but it was a great step.
How much were you able to learn from Demond Mallet? What was your most fond Shaq story?
Demond is a veteran and I learned so much from him especially about the business side. He taught me that as an American, you have to pay attention to yourself and your body. Often teams try to rush you back from an injury before you are 100%. He taught me that you have to come back when you are ready. On the court he was a scorer. He was MVP, won titles and did it all. I was a big fan of him. He didn’t tell so many Shaq stories.
You played at Georgetown from 2008-2012 and played with some impressive future NBA players like Dajuan Summmers, Greg Monroe, Henry Sims or Otto Porter. Why wasn´t Georgetown able to do more noise in the NCAA tournament?
That is a good question. I don’t really know and it is hard to point out a reason. We had all the pieces and talent, but just couldn´t get over the hump. We had some tough games and some teams that got hot. However Georgetown will always have good players and success.
You also played with guard Markel Starks who is a rookie this season in Italy with FMC Ferentino (Italy-A2). He had some great seasons at Georgetown. How much potential does he have and could the NBA be in his future?
I think that he has NBA potential. I have seen this kid grow up since he was a kid as we come from the same area. He has continued to progress as a player and improved each time that I saw him. He is a player that can lead and knows the game so well which is important when you are a point guard.
What was the most important aspect of basketball that were able to learn from John Thompson the third at Georgetown that has prepared you best to strive at the professional level?
The most important thing that I learned from him was that you must be a professional with everything on and off the court. When you are young, you don’t always want to listen, but just play, but he was able to get the message to me. He taught us to be great people. That was important for me going overseas to be prepared for diversity and up and downs.
You played briefly with American Khalid El-Amin with BG Goettingen. Do you remember him leading UCONN to the NCAA title in 1999? What kind of conversations do you remember having with him in Germany?
I remember watching him at UCONN winning the NCAA title. When I heard he was playing with BG Goettingen my first reaction was “Is he still playing”? He has had a great career in Europe. It was a great experience for me playing behind him in Goettingen and just learning how he can take over a game and I hope I could take some of his competitiveness with me. Learning from him is vital because everyone wants to reach the next level and get to the Euroleague or NBA.
If you have Lee Cummard, Thomas Dreeson and Tyren Johnson parked in the corner, who hits the most three pointers if each had 20?
Thomas Dreeson without a doubt. He may be the best shooter I ever saw. He could hit an open shot blindfolded.
Where will the journey of the Washington Wizards end this season?
If they continue to play the way that they did last summer then I see them making the next step. They wont be playing for a NBA title, but I could see them making a huge run in the playoffs.
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
The new Hunger Games and I wasn’t impressed. I also saw Lone Survivor with Mark Wahlberg that I liked more.
Thanks Jason for the chat.