October 12, 2010

Clarke Follows Good Practice

By Carolyn Linck, '11

Many freshmen enter Santa Clara University unsure of what they want to accomplish in their four years at SCU, and even more are uncertain about what they want to do after graduation. This, however, is not the case for new Bronco basketball player, Julian Clarke.  Clarke, unlike many of his fellow students in the class of 2014, comes to Santa Clara with clear goals for his future both during and after his college years, on and off the court.  This serious student-athlete from Toronto, Canada, has high expectations for himself in every aspect of life.

"My biggest goals as a freshman are just to come in and work hard and earn as many minutes as I can.  That way I can find my role on the team and contribute to the best of my abilities," said Clarke about the upcoming season. "Everyone has high expectations this year, and I feel the same way. We have a lot of talent and versatility, and I can't wait to see what we can do together."

Moreover, Clarke hopes that the team will grow in his four years at SCU, with this season coming as the important first step.

"By the time I'm a senior I hope the team is more than just a contender in the WCC but a contender in the NCAA Tournament.  The coaches have done a great job in bringing in talent, and it is on us to improve and rise in the rankings as a team."

Though he has high hopes for his time at Santa Clara, Clarke admits he's still transitioning to college life in school and basketball. 

"The academic adjustment has been relatively smooth. I need to continue to improve managing my time," said Clarke, a biochemistry major who plans to attend medical school after college. "Sometimes after basketball I feel like my bed is calling me, but I need to focus on getting my work done. The classes themselves have been as I expected; I just need to apply myself and work hard."

On the court, Clarke looks to the upperclassmen for guidance as he adjusts to the collegiate level of play.

"I'm still getting used to the heightened intensity and speed of play at this level," said Clarke.  "But looking to my teammates helps.  I look up to all of the upperclassmen for different reasons.  Michael Santos for his strong will and work ethic; Troy Payne because of his hunger and intensity. Phillip Bach and Nate Mensah each bring a special energy to court, and Ben Dowdell and Marc Trasolini are both role models for me in particular because they are also international players who are very skilled and have built strong networks here.  All of the guys have had a great influence on me, and I'm trying to soak in as much of their advice as I can."

By following the positive examples set by his older teammates, Clarke hopes to one day lead the Broncos as well.

"When my time comes I hope I can give the same good advice and set the same examples of what to do on and off the court that these guys have shown me and the other freshmen this year," said Clarke. "When I leave Santa Clara I want to be seen as not only a basketball player but also as someone who was a leader and role model in the school and community. While I'm here I want to connect with people and make a name for myself, putting the team back on the national radar."

Clarke will get his first taste of collegiate basketball in an exhibition game Friday, November 5, in the Leavey Center against CSU Maritime.