In the last two months with the Fraport Skyliners Jason Clark has racked up new amazing experiences in his basketball career that will most likely stay with him for the rest of his life, but no matter how bitter, dramatic or terrifying each experience was, nothing can rattle a Jason Clark anymore. In January he suffered a tough loss to the Crailsheim Merlins and witnessed undersized point guard Dewayne Russel go off on the Fraport Skyliners in the third quarter scoring 10 unanswered points while he himself added five points showing that he can score in bunches like one of his role models Jamal Crawford. But the 10 unanswered points in the third quarter by Russell set the tone for Crailsheim having a firm grip on the game and winning in the end. After the loss, Clark the true professional he is didn´t let his nerves get to him, but remained the true basketball gentleman when describing the Russell show. ““He is an aggressive good scorer. He has a good handle on the ball, is quick and has a good pull up jumper. He is a real competitor and should have a hell of a career”, warned Jason Clark. In February, Clark witnessed the amazing buzzer beater by his teammate Quantez Robertson who got the quick pass from Tyler Larson and drilled the ball home leaving Oldenburg legend Rickey Paulding thinking “Hmmm I better latch on another season, I have to get revenge on Tez next season”. And in March, he took part in a training camp in Mallorca and jumped off cliffs into the Mediterranean Sea with no regrets. These are all examples of the numerous overwhelming experiences he has seen, but nothing gets him off guard these days. Being able to be calm in all basketball situations and having success in his career can be traced back to his Georgetown days, because he was confronted with such amazing meetings and experiences that he could charge his young teammates like Garai Zeeb, Trae Holder or Elijah Clarance and would probably make good money as well. Clark could hold his own public speaking sessions with his teammates and even some of the older guys might get big eyes when he tells him of his encounters when he was in school at Georgetown. For the younger guys hearing about the NBA legends he had dealings with would be just as enlightening for young girls today meeting a Storm Reid. “One of the great things about having been able to have gone to Georgetown was just being able to see so many athletes and stars in my time there. The Thompson coaching staff knew so many people. I remember playing in front of and shaking Barack Obama´s hand during the Duke game. I didn´t really talk to him, but meeting him was huge. Dwayne Wade hung out with us. He sat with us for two hours and told us about the NBA and stressed to us to always be focused in school. The guy was so down to earth. Chris Paul gave us private sessions on the court. Demarkus Couins visited us. I remember meeting Allen Iverson in the summer. I remember being in the gym and seeing Iverson walk in. Pound for pound he was one of the greatest to play. Just watching him when I grow up and then having him in front of me was unbelievable”, stressed Jason Clark. Jason Clark is in his seventh professional season and after meeting so many stars in school, nothing rattles him anymore these days after being served up a Barack, AI and Dwade on a platter in school.
Jason Clark was born on January 16th in Arlington, Virginia and got his first basketball training at Bishop O´Connell high school where he made a name for himself along other guys that would have stellar career´s like Marcus Ginyard, Melo Trimble and Kendall Marshall. The American then proceeded to go to the well known Georgetown(NCAA) in 2018 and had an enriching four year career winning the All-Big East Sportsmanship Award in 2012. He was able to develop his game there at his own pace and was able to improve his scoring average each season as well as rebounds. He not only met the NBA stars, but had numerous teammates that would later go on to reach the NBA. As a freshman he shared a locker room with Dajuan Summers and Greg Monroe. In his sophomore season guys like Henry Sims, Hollis Thompson and Jerrelle Benimon followed. In his senior year guys like Otto Porter, and Greg Whittington came In his senior year, it was no uncommon occurence for him to be in the starting five with players like Hollis Thompson, Otto Porter, Henry Sims and Greg Whittington. The big mystery about his four year stay was why the school didn´t get any farther than reaching the 2010 Big East tournament final? “ 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“, stressed Jason Clark. In his senior season at Georgetown he played 33 games averaging 14.0ppg, 4.1rpg, 1.8apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 60.0%, 3PT: 32.2%, FT: 75.0%. He scored in double figures in 26 games. Some of his most memorable games was gunning Depaul for 31 points, hitting Memphis for 26 points in a 91-88 win, netting 26 points in the 73-70 victory over Marquette and getting close to a triple double in the 69-49 win against St Johns where he produced 15 points, 8 rebounds and 8 dimes. He will never forget John Thompson the third for helping him get groomed for the pro ranks. “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“, added Jason Clark.
Clark began his professional basketball career in 2012, but before making the trek overseas to Belgium he took part at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (Pre-NBA Draft) averaging 11.0ppg, 5.3rpg, 4.0apg, 2.0spg. He then signed with 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%; and played 6 EuroChallenge games averaging 15.2ppg, 4.2rpg, 2.8apg, 2.7spg, FGP: 56.3%, 3PT: 30.8%, FT: 86.2%. He needed no adjustment period and quickly found his rhythm becoming a central scorer for the club in Belgium where he hit Liege for 22 points and in the Eurochallenge scored 25 points against M Hainaut. The American had the unbelievable luck as a rookie to be teammates with top guard Demond Mallet who had a stellar career in Europe winning the ULEB Cup with Badalona and the BBL title with Bamberg and has the distinction of being a cousin to Shaq. Having had the opportunity to be teammates with Mallet and soak up as much as possible is something that is still very important to him today. “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”, smiled Jason Clark. The American figured out quickly that the style of basketball in Belgium suited him very well at an early juncture in his career and returned playing for Belgacom Spirou Charleroi (Belgium-Ethias League). His second season turned out to be a sort of a sophomore jinx as he averaged only 8.2ppg, 2.7rpg, FGP: 51.1%, 3PT: 26.9%, FT: 65.6%. But his injury wasn´t so easy to get around as it effected his play. “That 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 it was a set back, but it was a great step”, warned Jason Clark. There wasn´t too much memorable from the scoring front, but he did hit Antwerpen for 11 points on two occasions in the playoffs.
The American has mostly been a guy that has consistently been on one club per season, but in the 2014-2015 season, he saw what it was like living out of a suitcase as he played in Germany, Belgium and Turkey. He began the season in Germany with BG Goettingen helping out for injured players having a 8 week contract and played 4 games averaging 11.5ppg, 3.8rpg, 1.3apg. It was a new experience playing in the more skilled BBL and even today he raves about his ex coach Johan Roijakkers. “He is a very intense coach and he knew how to motivate his players to be locked in at all times. You thought that he was playing himself. That is what I liked most about him”, stressed Jason Clark. In 2014, he looked very fondly back on his two month stay in Goettingen and being teammates with ex NBA and NCAA champion Khalid El-Amin. There was one thing he learned from him that he has shown this season in the BBL in terms of knowing how to take control of a game. “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“, warned Jason Clark. He quickly found a team after BG Goettingen and returned back to his old stomping ground Belgium and 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%; and played 6 EuroChallenge games averaging 16.2ppg, 2.3rpg, 2.5apg, 2FGP: 53.0%, 3FGP: 18.2%, FT: 80.8%. Gordon Herbert probably still had his 20 point game against Frankfurt on his mind as he decided in reeling in the American last summer. This was another short stay and he then moved on to 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%. Despite moving around so much and not showing that team consistency, he did display consistency in his stats and remembers this season with fondness. “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“, added Jason Clark.
In his fourth professional season he decided to hang on another season 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%. It was another very positive offensive season for the American and he set the tone on the defensive end being a real lock down defender. It was a season where he could experience a new culture, but somehow his heart was still in Belgium, a league where he was always at home. A year ago he commented on why he always kept returning back to Belgium to play the game he loves. “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”, stressed Jason Clark. He had his best professional season in fifth professional season with Port of Antwerp Giants (Belgium-Euromillions League, starting five) as 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%;and played 11 FIBA Europe Cup games averaging 14.8ppg, 3.4rpg, 3.9apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 58.7%, 3PT: 44.0%, FT: 92.0%. This was the season where he shifted to point guard and showed his leadership qualities leading the team to a Super cup title, reaching the semi-finals and grabbing the MVP trophy. He reflected on that season before the 2017-2018 season when he played an exhibition game in Frankfurt. “That 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”, warned Jason Clark. The American obviously couldn´t have done everything by himself and he never forgot to laud his teammates. “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. 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“, stressed Jason Clark. Last season the American remained with Telenet Giants Antwerp (Belgium-Euromillions League) and he helped lead the team to the Belgium final. His stats in the Belgium league were average at 8.8ppg, 2.2rpg, 2.5apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 46.0%, 3PT: 32.9%, FT: 88.5%, but his game took off in the international club play in 6 BCL games averaging 14.0ppg, 3.5rpg, 4.2apg, FGP: 57.8%, 3PT: 36.8%, FT: 68.8%; and played 6 FIBA Europe Cup games averaging 14.7ppg, 2.2rpg, 3.3apg, FGP: 67.9%, 3PT: 45.0%, FT: 85.2%
The American came to the Fraport Skyliners in 2018 and it was his last two solid seasons and his shift to playing point guard that had him on Gordon Herbert´s shopping list. Before the season started, the club looked promising on paper having new players like him, Brady Heslip and Erik Murphy added to the experienced core of players like Quantez Robertson and Shawn Huff. The team didn´t find their rhythm at the start mostly due to the fact that they didn´t defend as a team. In between injuries always plagued the team and later Heslip and Murphy went and new players Tyler Larson and Tra Holder came in. This all had a big effect on the team development of a team chemistry. It wasn´t easy for Clark who was not playing his natural position at point guard. He had a rough start. It was his first full season in the easyCredit BBL and he had to figure out the league and how to run the team. He got criticism for not being a real point guard. He had some very good games at the point guard position where he displayed his leadership in the wins over Rasta Vechta, Telekom Baskets Bonn and MBC. At the end of the day, he understood that a point guard is mostly measured by the amount of wins. He agreed that in a way that his point guard play was overshadowed by the play of the team that didn´t always help him. “You could say that my point guard play was effected a bit by the team play. But at the end of the day, no matter how you look at it, if you win they love you and if you lose, you get blamed. I thought I played well as point guard. I tried not to get discouraged, but just stay locked in and do whatever I could do to be successful”, warned Jason Clark. Since the arrival of Tyler Larson, Clark has moved back to his natural position shooting guard and can focus now on scoring and credits the pick up of Larson as helping his game immensely. “I feel like I´m not necessarily more comfortable now than at the point guard position. The point guard position is the hardest position in basketball. We compliment each other well. He draws attention and finds me and I do the same for him”, stressed Jason Clark.
With less than two months to go in the easyCredit BBL regular season, it is a up hill battle for the Fraport Skyliners as they will have to win way many more games than they lose to secure a playoff spot. One of the reasons why the Fraport Skyliners were in no mans land of the standings was because of their defense. Team defense, communication, rotations and one on one defense had been huge sore spots in the defense something that surely had head coach Gordon Herbert tossing and turning on some nights in the last months. The 2000 BBL cup winner will have to make drastic improvements on defense in the last two months, if they want to secure one of the last 8 spots. The team has the defensive potential and with Quantez Robertson as the anchor, BBL cup winner Akeem Vargas covering the wing and Jason Clark covering the passing lanes and everything in between. Clark has been more of an offensive gem, but whereas his defense was a hidden strength in 2014, now it seems to have caught on more. He prides his defense after top NBA player Kwani Leonard as he adores how he covers so much ground and his passion and energy on the floor for 48 minutes as if he was still a 17 year old. Even if his defense hasn´t gotten the credit it should have this season based on the unsatisfactory team defense, he is very thankful for having had Gordon Herbert around and learning from him. “Coming into a very talented league, he always pushed me to be a lock down defender. He never questioned my offense, but always stressed to be locked in on defense on every possession. The biggest thing that coach did this season was lighting a fire in me in my defense. He got on me a lot this season, but it was for my best. He knew that I was capable of being a very good defender”, added Jason Clark. But it hasn´t been just Herbert that has helped him grow on the defensive end, but also captain Quantez Robertson. Tez´s age and presence has been more than half the rent for Clark being that lock down defender this season. “Tez has been one of the best defenders I have played with and against. So often he looks out of position, but then there he is getting a loose ball that you never thought he could of gotten. He is always looking ahead and he sees so much. Tez outsmarts people and I pay attention to that. He is a great communicator and stressed always that you have to bring it each day. When you see a guy at that age giving his all each day, you have no choice but to give your all each day”, warned Jason Clark. He has really taken defense to heart this season and wants to become that complete player with the Fraport Skyliners. “At this point in my career, I want to continue to move forward and to be able to that, I want to become a better defender. I have shown everywhere that I can be a scorer. Now I want to be that lock down defender that a team can count on. I want to take that step this season with Frankfurt”, warned Jason Clark.
With the season in jeopardy with the playoffs being a reach, the Fraport Skyliners returned after an ugly tough win with a big win in Goettingen, the ex team of Clark. Ok on a night where the team rattled home 18 three´s, Clark led quietly with 12 points and 4 assists in 22 minutes of play as he had four other teammates scoring in double figures. Even if the team experienced a huge win in Goettingen, the season still has been a tough one for the Fraport Skyliners and Jason Clark, the American is still able to be comical at times and remembers no matter how tough times have been nothing can rattle him anymore. When asked if a Garai Zeeb, Tra Holder and Elijah Clarance are the young bucks and Quantez Robertson is the old buck, then who is he? Clark took a short sigh, but had the perfect punch line and as usual had the fitting words for the importance of the Skyliner lifer Tez. “I would be the older cousin. We both have experience and the young bucks look up to us, but even if I have experience, Tez is five years older than me and I also look up to him. Even if Tez and I have seen a lot in our career´s, he is still a mentor to me. If I have questions about anything, I still go to him, because he always knows what is happening”, smiled Jason Clark. He can be earnest and despite not being rattled by anything anymore, he has seen so much and can be very direct with his words, but Quantez Robertson and he think alike and most likely would have said the same thing after the loss to Alba Berlin. ““This loss will push us harder. We know that we have a tough road ahead, but we all believe that we can reach the playoffs. We will take it one game at a time and push as hard as we can to reach the playoffs”, warned Jason Clark. At Georgetown, he was a young buck and was soaking in unending advice, but now at age 29, he can also take firm praise and not only criticism about the point guard position. Clark might have thought that he had seen it all at Georgetown, but nothing gets to him anymore. At the beginning of the season in only his second game in a Skyliners jersey, he was a central figure in the team´s first Eurocup win in seemingly ages as they nipped Fiat Torino 88-85 as he dropped 16 points, grabbed 7 rebounds, dished out 6 assists and scooped away 2 steals and filled up the stat sheet like a mini Westbrook. After the game an elderly gentleman of 78 years approached and it wasn´t a lost old man on the court, but Larry Brown who had just coached one of his first games in Europe. Clark most likely was expecting a quick shake of the hands and the old man mutter nice game, a normal occurrence after the game, but so much more came. “Larry Brown told me I was a great player. Coming from him who has coached so many great players, it meant a lot to me. It was a great feeling. Obviously it was cool meeting so many great players at Georgetown, but my Brown meeting in Frankfurt is on my check list of greatest meetings. I shock his hand and I will always remember that moment”, stressed Jason Clark. He was able to master that unforgettable moment, because he has seen that so often in his career If the Fraport Skyliners produce a great stretch run now in the last months, that won´t rattle Clark either, because he has been served up too many amazing experiences in his basketball life.