Jason Clark is a 27 year old 188cm guard from Arlington, Virginia that is playing his sixth professional and second season with Telenet Giants Antwerp (Belgium-Euromillions League. Last season for them he played 40 games: Score-2(15.9ppg), 3.6rpg, Assists-5(4.5apg), Steals-4(1.5spg), FGP: 51.9%, 3PT: 38.9%, FT: 82.0%; In the FIBA Europe Cup he played 11 games averaging 14.8ppg, 3.4rpg, 3.9apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 58.7%, 3PT: 44.0%, FT: 92.0%. He started his basketball career in 2008 with Georgetown(NCAA) playing a total of 130 NCAA games and as a senior played 33 games averaging 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) playing 9 games averaging 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%. In 2013 he played for Belgacom Spirou Charleroi (Belgium-Ethias League) playing 11 games averaging 8.2ppg, 2.7rpg, FGP: 51.1%, 3PT: 26.9%, FT: 65.6%. In the 2014-2015 season he played with Okapi Aalstar (Belgium-Scooore League) playing 5 games averaging 13.2ppg, 3.4rpg, 3.6apg, 1.0spg, 2FGP: 64.5%, 3FGP: 15.4%, FT: 74.1%; In the EuroChallenge, he played 6 games averaging 16.2ppg, 2.3rpg, 2.5apg, 2FGP: 53.0%, 3FGP: 18.2%, FT: 80.8%, In Dec.’14 signed at Mamak Belediye Ankara D.S.I. (Turkey-TB2L) playing 22 games: Score-5(22.0ppg), 4.1rpg, 3.3apg, Steals-2(2.3spg), FGP: 53.8%, 3PT: 39.8%, FT: 83.8%. Last season he played with Mamak Belediye Ankara D.S.I. (Turkey-TBL): playing 12 games averaging 20.0ppg, 5.1rpg, 3.7apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 64.3%, 3PT: 35.3%, FT: 82.2%. He recently was in Frankfurt to play a pre season tournament and found some time to talk to German Hoops about basketball.
Jason thanks for talking to German Hoops. You are going into your sixth professional season and fifth in Belgium and second with Telenet Giants Antwerp (Belgium-Euromillions League). Has it just always been the right fits in Belgium or does that leagues style just fit your game best that hasn´t made you test other leagues except Turkey?
Going into my 6th season and I’m loving Europe. Traveling to many different countries and playing so many games is a blessing. I think the Belgian league is a great fit for me but I also know other countries are also. I love the Belgian league and I felt like I had a lot to prove especially after being one of the best players my rookie season and having it cut short by a season ending injury.
Last season with Port of Antwerp Giants (Belgium-Euromillions League) you won your second professional title with the Super Cup. With that second title under your belt does that give you a new kind of self confidence going into this season?
Last year was my first full season in Belgium and I was in the perfect position. Playing under a great coach that believed in me and put his trust in me to play the PG position. It wasn’t an easy road but I learned the position pretty fast. We won the super cup (2nd time winning it) I also won with my team my rookie season in Aalst. Our team last year finished 2nd in the rankings and made it to the semifinals. With those great accomplishments also came with a league MVP trophy for me. But it wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for the great coaches and great players I had around me.
You had many very special teammates last season and one was Mike Smith.After misfortune in Germany and the D-League he came back and found a home in Belgium becoming a top player in the league for years. How vital was his leadership in the success of the Team?
Playing with Mike Smith was a great experience for me. I’ve also been on the other side when it came to seeing him on the court and he is a fierce competitor that gives his all and is always willing to do whatever the team needs done. His leadership for our team was huge and it was also huge for me to have that kind of experience helping me grow as a Player.
Another special player you had last season was American Ryan Anderson. After a great senior year at Arizona and Portsmouth invitational tournament he found himself in Europe instead of the NBA. This season he is in Germany with the s.Oliver Wurzburg. How special is he and can he make the jump to the NBA?
Playing with Ryan was great! His one of the best rebounders I’ve seen in a lot of years. He has an instinct for find a way to collect boards and get easy points for the team. What I saw most improve for him was his jump shot. He developed a 3 pointer that can definitely help prolong his career. He’s also a great guy off the court probably one of the funniest guys I’ve been around also. A great locker room guy.
This season the club kept only you as the import, but got some talented Americans with Tyller Kalinowski, Dave Dudzinski and Paris Lee. What is your outlook on this season and what the club is capable of doing?
We’ve got a very talented group this year. Our style of play will be a little different but we definitely have the tools to play inside and out. We got a couple great shot blockers that will really change the shape of our defense. The new guys are fitting in well man. Everyone is getting along off and on the court and becoming a family pretty fast. That will be important for us to succeed.
In our last interview in the 2014-2015 season you moved around a lot playing in Germany, Belgium and Turkey. What did you learn from this season that has kept you more grounded staying in one place the last two seasons?
I was moving around a lot during that season because my first two jobs I was there on an injury replacement for two players until they were healthy to play. But that year was really special for me. I stayed consistent with my play and it helped me because all three leagues were different styles of play so it was good for me to experience all of that in a short amount of time. It helped me grow as a player .
You played that one season in Turkey on the same team with sniper Ricky Harris. You have played with many great players, but where does he rate up with guys that you have played with that can flat out shoot the ball?
I didn’t get to play with Ricky that season but I’ve seen him play a lot. I’m a big fan of his game. He’s one of those guys that just never stops coming at you. He can shoot it, pass it and get to the basket with ease. Defenders have a tough job when it comes to covering him on a nightly basis. His crossovers are some of the deadliest.
You worked out this past summer with many of your ex teammates from Georgetown like Greg Monroe, Greg Sims or Julian Vaughn. When you look back at from then and now which player do you feel has grown the most on the court as a player?
I follow the guys I’ve played with like Henry Sims, Greg Monroe Chris Wright, Austin Freeman and also Vee Sanford. I’ve watched all of them develop and get better each summer. Every single one of them have worked hard on their game to become the best they can be. Working out in the summer with these guys is something that we want to keep doing for a long time. It’s a friendship that will probably last forever. It’s also a key to our getting better because we know that each of us will go hard while in the gym.
Thanks Jason for the chat.