Texas Tech’s 2019-2020 squad will rely on the athleticism, versatility, tenacity, and playmaking ability of Coach Beard’s offseason grab, Chris Clarke. A graduate transfer from Virginia Tech, Clarke did not see any playtime at all last season. Though he was an integral part of the Virginia Tech team for 79 games over three seasons, Clarke was issued an indefinite suspension for undisclosed reasons. Unsurprisingly, the suspension led to his decision to enter the transfer portal. The versatile 6-foot-6 and 215-pound guard/forward was one of the best players in the portal. He is a freakish athlete with triple-double potential. Fortunately for the Red Raiders, he chose Chris Beard and Texas Tech Basketball.
Clarke’s absence in the 2018-2019 season contributed to the transfer being slightly under the radar, but fans should not undervalue how much Clarke could bring to the Red Raiders. His playmaking ability will likely secure a start for the Red Raiders opposite true freshman Jahmius Ramsey. The Virginia Beach native’s stats from the 2017-2018 season are good indicators of how Texas Tech will benefit from Clarke’s all-around game. Clarke is an agile athlete making him a very versatile defender. This is beneficial on the offensive end when his team pushes the pace as Clarke can knock defenders down the floor for easy buckets. His 6.5 rebounding average demonstrates his tenacity as a player. His 57.4% field goal percentage demonstrates his ability to finish around the basket, and his three assists average demonstrates his playmaking abilities. Despite attempting only one three-point attempt per game in 2017-18, Clarke still completed 42.4% of the shots.
Though he sat out an entire season, Clarke is already turning heads. He was recently announced as one of 20 players on the watch list for the 2020 Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award. In that same week, he was named Big 12 Preseason Newcomer of the Year. He is the second Red Raider in Big 12 history to garner preseason newcomer honors. You can expect to see Chris Clarke used as another weapon to the Red Raiders offense as they begin their season against Eastern Illinois November 5th at 7 p.m.