Clark hopes to display skills in scrimmage

Earl Clark just returned to practice for the Louisville basketball team last weekend. Sidelined the past two weeks by a stress fracture, the 6'9 freshman hopes to show off to fans the skills that earned him McDonald's All-American honors during Friday's Red-White scrimmage.

Earl Clark just returned to practice for the Louisville basketball team last weekend. Sidelined the past two weeks by a stress fracture, the 6'9 freshman hopes to show off to fans the skills that earned him McDonald's All-American honors during Friday's Red-White scrimmage.

Though Clark missed several practices in the last week and a half, Louisville coach Rick Pitino said that wasn't necessarily a lost time.

"Observing from the sideline has made him better in terms of learning our system," Pitino wrote on his website this week. "He has never worked this hard on the fundamentals of basketball. That means rapid improvement will occur for Earl. His strength, knowledge of the game and defense will happen with time. I look for great things from Earl."

Pitino said Clark came back from the injury, "strong with two good practices since his return." And while he's making constant improvement, Clark is still getting adjusted to Pitino's system.

"I've never been through anything like this," said Clark, who averaged 25 points and 14 rebounds as a high school senior. "But it's going OK. Practices are pretty tough. It's a shock. In high school, you don't practice this long and hard. It's really a learning experience, but I'm having fun."

Clark didn't realize he fractured his foot earlier this month, instead believing he simply bruised his foot. The 210-pound forward said he's feeling much better now and figures to major factor up front for the Cardinals this season.


Earl Clark with Edgar Sosa
on media day.

"I'm getting over it now and it's getting better," he said.

For Clark, preseason practice has been a learning process.

"I'm learning a lot from the older players, they're always giving me advice," Clark said. "I'm just trying to learn right now. There's a lot to learn coming from high school. I really didn't have a concept of defense, but I'm getting better at it."

Clark said he expects to see time this season at both forward spots. He came out of high school noted as a skilled prospect capable of playing inside or out. It's unclear what Clark's role this season will be, though Friday's scrimmage should provide some insight.

"Whatever coach wants me to do to help the team out that's what my role is," Clark said. "I'll play the three and the four, probably mostly the four. Those are the two positions that I'm learning right now."


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