NORMAL — The Illinois State basketball program added another player Monday, which means there will be subtraction in the near future.
Darious Clark, a 6-foot-2, 208-pound off guard from Cecil College in Maryland, signed a national letter of intent to play with the Redbirds beginning next season. That gives ISU 14 players on scholarship, which is one over the NCAA limit.
Clark averaged 14.2 points, 7.6 rebounds and 3.7 assists this past season as Cecil College placed sixth in the Division II National Junior College Athletic Association Tournament. He was named to the 10-player all-tournament team. Cecil lost to eventual champion Lincoln College in the quarterfinals.
“He’s a big, strong, athletic guard that really can guard a lot of different kinds of players and positions,” said ISU coach Tim Jankovich. “On the offensive end he is really fast, explosive and good with the ball.”
Jankovich had “no comment” when asked how the scholarship situation would be resolved. However, he confirmed it would be settled in the next month. This is the last week of classes in the spring semester at ISU before final examinations next week.
ISU had been recruiting Clark for a while, and Jankovich got to watch him during the national tourney in Danville.
Clark made an official visit to ISU two weekends ago. Efforts to reach him Monday were not successful.
“He was really impressive in the national tournament. He gives us an ingredient we really need,” said Jankovich. “We love his versatility. He’s a tough, hard-nosed player.”
Cecil coach Rashad Brooks describes Clark, who has two years of eligibility remaining, as “a very exciting player” who should provide immediate help to the Redbirds on both ends of the court. Clark shot 34.9 percent from 3-point range, sinking 38 attempts.
“He’s a great on-ball defender,” said Brooks. “We usually put him on the best offensive (perimeter) player on the other squad because on defense, laterally, his quickness is tremendous. He’s a ball hawk and very competitive.”
Brooks doesn’t believe Clark will have a difficult time making the transition to Division I basketball “because he’s a quick learner. He’s athletic and he has speed and quickness.”
Clark started his career at Cecil College in the 2008-09 season, averaging 7.4 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists. He then redshirted the next season for academic reasons, according to Brooks.
“He wanted to achieve his dream of playing at the Division I level,” said Brooks, who added Clark will earn his associate’s degree next month.
Clark sat out his senior season at Surrattsville High School in Clinton, Md., because of the county’s no failing grades rule, according to a story in the Gaithersburg (Md.) Gazette.
Clark becomes the fifth member of the Redbirds’ recruiting class. All are guards. High school players Nic Moore of Warsaw, Ind.; Johnny Hill of Glenbard East; and Nick Zeisloft of Lyons Township signed in the fall, while Marshalltown (Iowa) Community College’s Tyler Brown signed earlier this month.