Dan Clark Fighting Fit & Ready to Show His Worth - Hoopsfix.com

Dan Clark Fighting Fit & Ready to Show His Worth

By Joe Hewison

Great Britain big man Dan Clark started an important summer with an impressive display in the Under-26 All-Star Game at the inaugural Hoopsfix All-Star Classic.

The 25-year-old was one of the headline acts as the British basketball community responded to recent funding cuts with a showcase of the country’s top talent at Brunel University – in aid of the Hoopsfix Foundation.

And any lingering doubts about Clark’s fitness following almost an entire season on the sidelines were swept aside early on as he battled under the boards and stroked three triples in the opening few minutes of a compelling contest.

He would go on to finish with 19 points and eight boards in a narrow loss.

But, after a season of struggle, it is the result of his efforts to get back to fitness and prove himself this summer, which will mean much more come the start of the new campaign.

“It’s been tough, not only getting back on track physically but also, mentally, to concentrate on the task of getting better, especially when it is such a long period of time,” said Clark, whose season with Laboral Kutxa ended back in October.

“It has been a learning experience, definitely, so hopefully it has made me better as a player and a person.”

The Greenwich-born forward had spent 12 years in Spain learning his trade prior to injury prompting his return.

He comes from good basketball stock too with his father, Mark, a highly-regarded coach, his mother, Claire, a former international, while his sister, Ella, also represents GB at international level – and being able to lean on those around him was important as he adjusted to a season of solitary sessions.

He added: “It is [lonely], especially when you are used to being with your teammates, wherever you are, you always have that family feeling because you know you have your team around you – so to be without that was a bit different.

“It is business. At the end of the day, you are a product that they acquire and you have just got to see it that way.

“I’m lucky enough to have a family that understood what I was going through this year. It’s been helpful. I had been away for 12 years so it was pretty different but it was good to be home as well.

“There are always positives to every situation and that was one of them this year so I was grateful for that.”

There are many teams that would be grateful to see Clark suit up for them next season and with interest from Spain and the NBA Summer League, there are opportunities out there for him to prove his worth.

“I just need to show everyone that I am healthy again, that I am ready to play and go from there really,” said Clark.

“I am pretty sure I will get offers at some point in the summer and I am thinking of going to play Summer League in the States so that will be a good experience.

“I am very open to different offers and different opportunities.

“I have been in Spain for a while and my public image is a lot bigger there, which could be a good thing or could be a bad thing. It might be a good thing to be in a different space, you never know.

“I was quite happy to hear that clubs have been asking whether I am healthy again, mainly from Spain.”

And while a return to the continent could be on the cards, matters closer to home are never far from the forward’s thoughts.

“It’s always important to me to play for GB. I love playing with GB,” Clark added.

“It’s one of the proudest things you can do, to represent your country, and looking at the young guys at here [in the Under-16 All-Star Game] reminds me of when I used to play for England and I used to love it, that used to be the best part of the year.

“I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”

Now it’s time for him to show the basketball world what it was missing this season.

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