In the classic James Bond movie of 1983 called Octopussy, bad guy Kamal Khan Aka French actor Louis Jordan supplies first-rate lines on a regular basis the same way Brooklyn Nets fans must have had an abundance of head shaking that their trio of stars couldn´t dismantle the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2021 playoffs. One of his classic lines is when he utters to James Bond Aka Roger Moore, “you have a nasty habit of surviving” where Bond responds with “well you know what they say about the fittest”. When thinking a bit more in depth about these two lines, one could say the same thing about wiha Panthers head coach Alen Velcic in terms of player recruitment and signings. One thing that wiha Panthers Schwenningen head coach Alen Velcic has proved in the last years is that he has a nasty good habit of bringing in gems and then seeing them develop further and see them move on to bigger and better things. The best example has been Rasheed Moore who went from the German Regionalliga(4th league) to the easyCredit BBL in a span of only three years joining the Fraport Skyliners. Two years ago he brought in Jaren Lewis who was off the radar having played at Abilene Christian University (NCAA) and then had a solid rookie season in the Pro A and last season made the next step in Italy and now is easyCredit ready and has signed with the Crailsheim Merlins. Last season Velcic was bold and daring separating from the multi-talent Shaun Willet and bringing in Courtney Stockard who was very instrumental in the team making the Pro A playoffs for the first time in their history and he also made the next step and will play in the German first division with Heidelberg this season. This season Alen Velcic has the next special player with Raiquan Clark. Velcic is so high on Clark that he even compared him to Rasheed Moore saying that Clark´s drive to the basket, mentality and leadership are similar to him. Those are very special words from Velcic to Clark and the American knows that he has landed in a special place with Schwenningen and that he has the opportunity to develop like other players there in the past. “I actually haven’t had the chance to google Rasheed More yet, which I will. But its always nice to be compared to other great players! That gives me great drive, so I’m just thankful to have a coach like Coach Velcic”, stressed Raiquan Clark who believes that Lebron James is the greatest player of all-time.
. Raiquan Clark who lists Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, and Shaq on his personal own NBA Mount Rushmore was born on January 1st 1996 in New Haven, Connecticut. He went to Hillhouse high school in New Haven and had a superb career there. In his junior year he won the Class LL state championship. He continued to rack in the titles as a senior as he helped win the Southern Connecticut Conference Hammonasset Division title averaging 15.2 ppg 7.5 rpg, 3,0apg and 3,0spg. His stellar play on the court also helped him garner a two-time New Haven Register all-area selection. After his senior year, he decided to a do a post grad year at New York state school Trinity-Pawling, because he hadn´t received any NCAA scholarships offers He helped the team achieve a 17–6 record and a New England Preparatory School Athletic Council quarterfinals berth. Being a top player and star in high school and winning titles and getting absolutely no interest from NCAA schools would of totally maimed some guys mentally, but Clark was strong enough mentally to survive. “I never had any doubt at all, I always believed that I was a D1 player. They just missed me or didn’t realize it themselves. I survived because my game might not have been Division 1 player game at the time, but my mentality was. So I knew one day my game would catch up to my mentality”, stressed Raiquan Clark. His unending and forceful focus to want to play division one ball never stopped him from doing all he could to garner interest even if it meant writing 1000 emails to coaches of every NCAA school. “I want to say it took about a week or two. Every day I would do about two to three conferences, sending out emails. I learned that though some doors close, there will always be others opened, or to be opened as long as you put your mind and all into it”, remembered Raiquan Clark.
Clark who never had problems with teammate Tyrn Flowers in one on one battles at LIU finally got his chance at the NCAA level with Long Island University (NCAA) even if it meant being a walk on. He promised his mom that he would earn a scholarship and did. That first year, he played only one game against Dartmouth. He also remembers a blond kid named Martin Hermannsson who would go on to celebrate success in Germany and Iceland. “I remember him being lightening quick. He was able to get to his spots on the floor and there was nothing you can do about it”, stressed Raiquan Clark. In his second season he was awarded a scholarship and played 32 games averaging 6.2ppg, 4.2rpg, FGP: 48.5%, FT: 72.7%. He scored in double figures in six games and most memorable game that season was his 17/7 game in the thrilling 83-82 victory over Sacred Heart. In his next season he erupted with his stats averaging 17.1ppg, 7.1rpg, 1.5apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 57.6%, 3PT: 24.1%, FT: 75.1%. He scored in double figures in 29 of 34 games. It turned out to be his most successful season as he aided the team reach the NCAA tournament as well as win the NEC tournament. He still remembers the NCAA March Madness game against Radford where he scored 14 points in a tough 71-61 loss. “I remember it being one of my biggest games at LIU. I was in foul trouble that entire game but I’m sure that if I wasn’t, my team and I would have pulled out the win”, expressed Raiquan Clark He exploded against Tulane with 34 points and hit Central Conn State with 30 points. He scored 20 points or more 15 times. He was awarded into the All-NEC 3rd Team and made the NEC All-Tournament Team. In his senior year he made another jump in his scoring averaging 18.9ppg, 6.8rpg, 2.0apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 56.3%, 3PT: 24.4%, FT: 69.9%. he scored in double figures in 28 of 32 games. He had massive games against Fairfield with 33 points and scored 29 points twice against St Francis, PA. He scored 20 points or more 16 times and also hit NJIT for 31 points. In his red shirt senior year he made another jump in his stats averaging 19.5ppg, 7.3rpg, 1.7apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 54.1%, 3PT: 32.1%, FT: 66.4%. Even if 1000 emails got no response, he remains blessed today that he had had the chance to show his game in Long Island. “Words can’t describe how thankful I am to have worn that jersey (LIU), it holds a special place in my heart. Both reaching the NCAA tournament and winning the NEC tournament is probably one of my best moments”, commented Raiquan Clark. His consistency continued to rise as he scored in double figures in 31 of 32 contests. He continued to have St Francis, PA number netting 28 points and also nailed Cal Poly for 28 points. In his last three seasons, he demonstrated what consistency is all about scoring in double figures in 88 of 98 NCAA games and understood what it took to reach those heights. “Wow that’s crazy, I actually didn’t even know that. I would say just staying in the gym and wanting to be a perfectionist. A lot of early mornings and late nights in the gym”, warned Raiquan Clark. On February 8, 2020, he passed Jamal Olasewere to become the all-time leading scorer for LIU. In his red shirt year he led the NEC in scoring and made the First Team All-NEC for a second straight year. He became the seventh player in NEC history to record at least 2,000 career points. It is obvious that all of this couldn´t have happened without the faithful LIU coaching staff. “Coach Perri’s preparation for games is like no other, his attention to detail and punctuality sticks with me until this day. Coach Kellogg has helped me become the player I am today and allowed me to play my game, which I can’t thank him enough for. Coach Mack is also one who helped develop my game. He was up every morning with me to workout, watching films with me for countless hours, and was just available for me whenever I needed him. He means a lot to me and that’s my guy for life”, remembered Raiquan Clark.
After the American who lists Andre Anderson (HillHouse 2013), Bobby Bynum (Hillhouse 2013),Julian Batts (LIU 2020), Julius Van Sauers (LIU 2019), and Joel Hernandez (LIU 2018) as his five best teammates of all-time finished his illustrious career at Long Island University, COVID-19 came on the scene and became a plague for the world. He sat out last season as did many players due to COVID-19. But despite not having began his professional career earlier, he was able to take away some positives from COVID-19. “I believe it made me stronger mentally. With everything being at a standstill, not being able to have gym access was very frustrating. But in times like this you just have to make the necessary adjustments. So I started working out outside preparing myself for what’s to come. It was tough you know, working out but not knowing what’s next to come in my basketball career. But I just kept believing and kept my faith knowing something big was going to eventually come out of it”, stressed Raiquan Clark. He got his big break in June 2021 signing his first professional contract with German pro A team wiha Panthers Schwenningen. He is very excited to be able to commence his professional career in Germany. The first two things that popped into his mind about the country Germany is that universities are free and basketball is very popular. Clark and head coach Alen Velcic saw eye to eye immediately in the talks. Velcic was very smitten by the American and so was he of the coach. “What impressed me the most was his upfront mentality. He didn’t sugar coat anything with me, he gave me the real upfront. He also told me what he expects from his players and I respect the hell out of him for that. Thats someone I want to go to war with this season”, warned Raiquan Clark. Velcic handed him the ultimate compliment by stating that the American already has the Panthers DNA in him without even having set foot on the court yet. “Hearing that makes me feel great! I feel like we can win a lot of games with that DNA. Playing tough, playing hard, and doing whatever it takes to win the basketball game. I´m ready”, stressed Raiquan Clark. The question is what kind of game will we see from Raiquan Clark who last watched Wrath of Man in 2021-2022. He proved at the NCAA level that he can be a ruthless lethal scorer and consistent rebounder, but in Germany he will showcase some other attributes as well. “I believe my other strengths would be that I’m able to defend different positions and bring a winning mentality everyday whether that be within practice or during games. I also believe I’m someone who can be a great facilitator as well”, warned Raiquan Clark. It will be interesting to see if he can become a sniper from down town in the pro A. He made a massive jump with his parking lot shooting in his red shirt senior year and knows how vital it is to keep improving his shooting. It will be interesting to observe how well will he be able to make the adjustment to the professional level? “I believe it’s extremely important and it can take my game to a whole different level. I´m very confident, probably the most confident I’ve ever been shooting the ball and facilitator”, stressed Raiquan Clark. Alen Velcic is confident in Clark´s ability as is the American in his own game. Both are ready to go and everyone else is excited to see if Clark will blossom into that next special Panthers player.