Seth Clark is a 190cm guard from Olentangy, Ohio that recently finished a 4 year career at Ohio Wesleyan (NCAA3). As a freshman he averaged 10.6ppg, 3.5rpg, 3.1apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 41.3%, 3PT: 35.2%, FT: 80.0%. In hiss econd season at Ohio Wesleyan (NCAA3) he played 30 games averaging 15.4ppg, 3.4rpg, 1.5apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 47.4%, 3PT: 39.8%, FT: 76.8%. In his junior season at Ohio Wesleyan (NCAA3), he played 28 games averaging 14.8ppg, 4.8rpg, 1.4apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 40.7%, 3PT: 32.1%, FT: 77.6%. In his senior year he averaged 19,0ppg, 5,0rpg and 3,0apg and reached two NCAC finals and one NCAA 3 Sweet 16. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.
Seth thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how did you experience the NCAA Final 4?
At the moment I am at home in Powell, Ohio. I experienced the final 4 by watching on TV while helping the family prepare for Sundays Easter dinner during the many commercial breaks.
You just finished your college career at Ohio Wesleyan (NCAA3). What kind of experience was it for you playing 4 years at Ohio Wesleyan (NCAA3)?
Playing at OWU was a very positive experience for me. Over the years I was able to grow as a player and as a man. The Ohio Wesleyan basketball program is very different than many other NCAA3 schools. By that I mean the coaching staff is very laid back and trusts that we as players will do what it takes to get ready for each season. So, no there are no mandatory workouts, the coaches aren’t holding our hand through the off season. I learned as a freshman that we are expected as players to hold ourselves accountable. This allowed me to develop a very powerful work ethic and a love for the process leading up to a season. Since I was a starting point guard since my Freshman season, I was in a position to lead my team and developed skills in doing so year after year. Being in a leadership role for 4 years straight gave me great experience in leading different teammates as some graduated and new players came in.
You achieved quite a lot on the court reaching a NCAA 3 Sweet 16 and two NCAC Tournament finals. How disappointing was it not winning a title in the NCAC?
It’s very disappointing knowing we were right there twice in a row and couldn’t pull it out. Obviously as a player you want those games to go your way and end by cutting down the nets, but being able to win the regular season conference championship 3 times takes some of that sting away. Losing in the conference championship personally made me even more hungry for the upcoming season and since it happened again this past year its enhanced my desire to win championships for whatever team decides to add me to their organization.
You had a very strong career with Ohio Wesleyan (NCAA3). One doesn´t see so many NCAA 3 players being able to make a professional career. How confident are you that you don´t only have the game, but can play with NCAA and NCAA 2 guys on a professional stage?
I am very confident that I can play with the best out there. When I decided to go to college at OWU I was a 5’10 160 pound kid coming out of high school. Since then I have grown 4 inches and added roughly 30 pounds. I had opportunities to transfer up and play NCAA2 or NCAA 1 but I had roots here at Ohio Wesleyan and I liked it here. It was a good fit for me, and I was taught at a young age not to quit something you had already started. The competition is obviously higher at the other levels of NCAA but I think I was able to make my teammates better by being there and obviously I got a ton of on court experience by starting over 85 games.
You were able to average in double figures in scoring in every season. How do you feel were you able to develop as a player in your 4 years at Ohio Wesleyan (NCAA3)?
Coach allowed us to have freedom and work as we please. Some may take that as days off but I personally took it as an opportunity to work on what I felt I needed to. Scoring has always come easy to me no matter who or where I play. My defense from my freshman year to now has gotten 100x better. My freshman year I guarded the lowest scoring guard on the other team. This year, I guarded the other teams best player no matter what position he was. Many times I found myself guarding 6’8 post players on the block and was able to hold my own. This especially helps me because as a professional I expect to have to guard bigger taller guys and am confident I can do so.
You made a huge step in your senior year averaging 19,0ppg. What do you feel led you to really mature it a very good scorer instead of only being a good scorer which you were in your second and third seasons?
Over the offseason I worked a weight room desk at Ohio Wesleyan. There wasn’t much to do work wise. So I would get my lift in, then go back to my desk and research. I watched old college games on youtube. My favorite being the 1996 BIG East Final (Georgetown vs UCONN). I watched interviews of Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. Through this I learned a lot. My mentality changed. I wasn’t going into games worried about winning or losing. I was focused on the process. Taking the games possession by possession. Beating my man off the dribble, making the right reads off screens, and understanding the flow of the game are all thing that I was able to polish going into the season. That, along with countless hours in the gym working on my shot allowed me to become an even better scorer than I already was. It isn’t over either, I plan to do more of the same as I am preparing to go professional.
You had many great games at Ohio Wesleyan (NCAA3). But would you say that your 44 point game against the College of Wooster was your best game at Ohio Wesleyan (NCAA3)?
That game against Wooster was wild. I would have to say offensively that was my best effort to this date as far as official games go. Defensively I could have been better. Id have to say my best game of the year was the first game of my senior season against Trine (NCAA3). That game I had 34 points 7 rebound and 6 assists. What makes me think this is my best game is how efficient I was. I shot 68%, 53% from 3pt line. Also I was able to shut down my matchup defensively. I had a balanced attack offensively getting to the basket, making mid-range pullups and sinking 6 3s.
Let´s talk a little about your game. You’re a combo guard. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would you chose?
This ones tough, after some thought id compare myself to Damian Lilliard. The reason I say this is because like Dame, I know how to score in many ways. I can make shots in various ways and from different places. Stand still jumpers, off dribble shots and even deep range 3s are all things I have seen Dame and myself do. Whether its isolation, pick and roll or a set, both me and Dame know how to score the ball.
What are your biggest strengths on offense, and how would you classify yourself as a defender?
My biggest strengths on offense are my shot and ability to create space and shots for others. I shot 42% from 3 so if a team scouted me they would classify me as a “shooter”. This kept my defender close and didn’t allow him to help off me which in turn gave the other guys on the court more room to work. I´d say I am a smart defender. I take pride in stopping my guy. I take the time to scout and watch film to gain knowledge about what my matchup likes to do. I believe the game is just as much mental as it is physically. So being aware if habits my opponent has helps me gain an edge in the game. Some guys go right and try to finish at the basket but when they go left they are more likely to pull up or dish it out. Knowing these things helps me decide when to add pressure, when to step in and take a charge or even jump the passing lane. This strategy has helped me be a conference leader in steals year after year.
You’re a guy that can fill the stat sheet, but what do you feel is a hidden strength that doesn´t always get noticed right away on the court?
Definitely my passing. Our offense the past few years is very PG oriented. So majority of the assist go to the PG, but I know how to get my guys open and give them a pass in their shooting pocket or in a position to score.
How much of a pleasure was it playing with Nate Axelrod? How refreshing was it seeing a guy of his stature being able to dominate so well?
Playing with Nate was a huge pleasure. Me and him fed off each other these past few years. Often times in games we found ourselves picking each other up on off nights and talking out strategies and wrinkles in plays all the time. Its very refreshing to see him standing no taller than 5’8 driving relentlessly into 6’8-6’10 guys and finishing. It gives everyone else on our team confidence and I think it establishes a sort of fearlessness in the team as a whole.
How did head coach Mike Dewitt groom and prepare you best for a possible professional career?
Coach Dewitt prepared me first by playing me. LOL. He forces us as players to get ready in our own way. So coming up with pre game rituals and putting in work in the offseason is all on us. I think this prepared me for a professional career because through this I have learned how to get better on my own. Also the offense that he implemented had me coming off of a lot of high ball screens and pin downs which I think is a pro style offense. Before college I had never really used ball screens. In high school my coach had more of a flex and flare screen offense. So coming in as a freshman and running PG in a predominantly all ball screen offense the coaching staff had to work with me and teach me the reads and fundamentals of doing so.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Nate Axelrod?
HAHA, I win. Nate is the best PG I have ever played with. But one on one is a different game. I am a scorer so with my size and strength vs Nate with no help defense is a tough matchup for him. Also I have been around Nate so much, I know his game as he knows mine so I know what he wants and can attempt to take that away.
Who has been the toughest player that you have battled on the court that has made it to the NBA or to Europe?
Last year in a summer league I played a team full of professional players. Jared Sullinger, Stevie Taylor, LD Williams, Cameron Vines, Scott Thomas, Jamel Morris and a few others. It was a great experience but to this date the toughest matchup for me was when I went against Terry Rozier in an AAU game when I was 16. That was the year I was 16 playing up a year with the 17u program. I was a young and skinny guard going against Terry Rozeir and All-Ohio Reds full court press. Great experience but at the time, very tough to handle.
On what things will you be focusing most on now this summer to help refine your game and make it ready for the professional level?
Mostly athleticism, I’m aware that professional guards will be more athletic that what I have been seeing at the NCAA3 level. So lateral quickness and speed with the ball will be my main focus with the usual work on the jump shot and ball handling.
Not only on the court have you been able to mature, but also off the court you have been involved in many things not only in the class room. You were Co-Director of Ticket Sales and Game Management at Ohio Wesleyan University since your junior year. What did it mean to you having a duty like this having to not only focus on the next opponent, but other things important for the success of a home game?
It meant a lot. I was able to meet a lot of fans and get real close to the community. Not only that but I feel it was good experience for life after basketball. I know basketball isn’t forever and I know whatever I do when my career is over will be in sports so I was very thankful for the opportunity and experience.
You also were a big brother volunteer during your college career. How important was this experience for helping your character skills as a person?
This experience definitely humbled me. Having the opportunity to go hang out with a young boy from a troubled home and do what I can to be a positive male role model in his life is something I think every athlete should experience. Like Lebron James says we are more than just athletes so giving back to my community was nice especially when they have been supporting me over the years. It´s also given me experience in dealing with children which is something I anticipate doing as a professional.
Nowadays having a very good character is essential for professional teams when choosing the right players. How would you describe your character and what is the most important aspect for you in having a good character?
I´m a very laid-back person, I don’t like to cause problems and can get along with anyone. I know who I am, and I don’t try to be someone I am not. Along with that I am upstanding and honest which I think is the most important aspect in having a good character. Honesty is a huge deal and I feel can prevent many problems or altercation.
Explain in a few sentences as to why you could help any professional team next season?
I feel like I can help any team next season with my skills on the court. Not only that but my leadership skills and mental preparation are top tier. I know how to interact with players and coaches and have a very high level of respect for anyone in a professional organization. So being able to respond to authority and fulfilling my role to the best of my ability no matter what it may be is something professional teams will come to like about me.
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you chose?
Michael Jordan John Stockton Hakeem Olajuwon Kobe Bryant
Lebron James failed to win his fourth NBA title and is still three away from Michael Jordan. Where does Lebron stand right now in your opinion in the never ending debate of who is the best of all-time?
Lebron for me is in third right now behind Michael and Kobe. I think Lebron has many great seasons ahead of him but I don’t think Its fair to talk about him being the best of all time when he still has years left.
What was the last movie that you saw? Let me guess Black Panther?
I still put on Michael Jordan’s movie “Space Jam” to sleep to, so I technically the last movie I saw was that but Black Panther is the last movie I have went to the theatre and watched. I liked the movie a lot and I think it has a great impact on young African Americans growing up.
Thanks Seth for the chat.