Near the top of Brandon Clarke’s first full season at Gonzaga, the gifted ahead met together with his head coach.

Mark Few, who’s been heading the legendary program since 1999, would join with gamers for exit interviews yearly. In this one, he had a message for Clarke: It’s time to maneuver on.

Clarke spent his first two collegiate seasons with San Jose State however had transferred to Gonzaga, redshirting as a junior after which breaking out in 2018-19 because the star of a No. 1-seeded dynamo. Immediately, he turned one of many nation’s highest-flying and most-efficient scorers. Few had coached future NBA gamers earlier than. It turned clear rapidly that Clarke can be one other — clear, that’s, to everybody however Clarke himself.

At the beginning of their end-of-season dialog, Few instructed the at-the-time 22-year-old that he was prepared to go away for the NBA and that Gonzaga would assist him with the pre-draft course of.

“He was kinda looking at me incredulously,” Few recollects.

Clarke didn’t count on this.

Some NBA gamers know they’re going to the professionals from the time they’re children. They navigate the AAU circuit. They choose their school primarily based on the way it may have an effect on their lottery positioning. Nowadays, possibly they head straight to the G League, figuring an additional professional season will assist them regulate to the NBA life-style even higher.

But that’s not how Clarke got here by means of the ranks. He wasn’t funneled by means of big-time applications for youngsters. He attended a small faculty earlier than hitting it massive with Gonzaga. His jumper was sufficient of an issue that one time at San Jose State, he rose for a 3-pointer and the opposing bench started to chuckle in unison.

Clarke nonetheless remembers that one.

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