The USC Trojans have been looking for a forward to fill the roster spot of Dewayne Dedmon, who declared for the NBA Draft early last month. The first replacement has arrived, as Darion Clark announced his commitment to USC over the weekend.
Clark was considering Jamie Dixon’s Pitt Panthers, but chose to play for the Trojans’ new head coach, Andy Enfield, following his freshmen season at Charlotte. Needless to say, it’s interesting that Clark selected Enfield over Dixon, a coach rumored to be courted by USC during the initial stages of their coaching search, earlier this year.
Dec. 14, 2012; Coral Gables, FL, USA; Charlotte 49ers guard Terrence Williams (left) talks with teammates forward Darion Clark (center) and guard Pierria Henry (right) during the first half against the Miami Hurricanes at the BankUnited Center. Miami won 77-46. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Darion Clark is a 6-foot-6 forward from Oak Hill Academy, who averaged 6.2 points and 4.6 rebounds per game while shooting 54.2 percent from the field in his lone season as a member of the Charlotte 49ers.
While landing Clark certainly helps USC from a numbers standpoint down the line, there’s still a need for both size and depth for the upcoming roster.
Clark will be forced to sit out the entire year, waiting to be cleared by transfer rules, which means the Trojans will still be lacking depth as Omar Oraby remains the only returning front-court starter for next season.
Sophomore Darion Clark, who played on the Oak Hill Academy National Championship team, before enrolling at Charlotte, will have three years of eligibility beginning next fall. What will Clark bring down the stretch you may ask?
He is an athletic forward who has shown an ability to guard at multiple positions, and also fight with the best on the glass in the A-10 Conference.
Clark posted his best game of the year against NCAA Tournament-bound Davidson, a team that was mere seconds away from defeating Marquette in the first round and further destroying everyone’s tournament bracket.The 49ers won the game 73-69 behind a balanced 14-point, nine-rebound two-assist, two-steal and one-block performance from their stretch forward.
Back in the A-10 Conference, Clark faced one similar opponent to the Trojans in Dayton, a team USC defeated by two-points a thrilling overtime affair back in December. Clark finished the contest leading the 49ers in points, free throws made and rebounds as the lone shining star in the 21-point loss.
After starting 12 of the first 16 games outside the conference, Clark’s minutes actually increased coming off the bench, averaging two more minutes per game while only starting five conference games. Clark finished A-10 play fourth on the team in rebounds, while shooting 57-percent from the field.
That being said, Clark played a pivotal 28 minutes in the 49ers biggest upset of the year, defeating the then-11th ranked Butler Bulldogs 71-67 at the Hinkle Fieldhouse. Clark finished the game with 10 points and 9 rebounds, while taking the challenge of guarding Roosevelt Jones, the Bulldogs leading scorer.
In what could have lead to his departure, Clark struggled to hit the court during the 49ers most crucial games of the season. During the A-10 tournament, the freshmen only registered seven minutes in two games, and 14 total in their first-round loss in the NIT to Providence.
The question now becomes who else will Enfield recruit for the 2013 class, whether it be a high school or junior college prospect. The Trojans have four scholarships available, according to some work dug up by our friends at Galen Central, so the pieces are in place for a recruiting splash this summer.