Virginia Beach Wing Gaining Steam

Another name has recently popped up on Maryland's 2015 recruiting radar -- versatile wing man Chris Clarke of the strong Cape Henry Collegiate program in Virginia Beach, Va. Terrapin Times spoke to Capen Henry coach Mark Hall about this budding star.

Another name has recently popped up on Maryland's 2015 recruiting radar -- versatile wing man Christopher Clarke of the strong Cape Henry Collegiate program in Virginia Beach, Va. Terps assistant Bino Ranson went to check out Clarke Dec. 20, and Clarke subsequently visited College Park Dec. 21 for UMD's game against Boston University. Terrapin Times spoke to Capen Henry coach Mark Hall about this budding star.

"Chris is really growing as a player," Hall said. "He takes improving his game as a challenge. We're really big on individual skill development here, and Chris has gotten better on a steady basis. We're talking about a guy who can play offensively at one to three (point guard to small forward), and someone who can guard anyone one to four.

"For example, we have a game coming up soon against St. Frances Academy of Baltimore. I'll probably put Chris on the (Dwayne) Morgan kid (a 6-7 forward). And yet, I can use him on a smaller point guard too. He really doesn't have a set position... He can play at a number of positions. I think that versatility is what the colleges like about him."

Hall remarked that Clarke is still growing physically, and as a player. He said he's about 6-foot-6 1/2 and 195 pounds.

"I guess the main question about Chris was his ability to shoot the 3 ball," Hall said. "Well, he's shooting 100 percent from there now (1-for-1 in CHC's first three games), but seriously, he's been so good at breaking down defenses and getting to the rim that I don't think he's felt compelled to shoot the trey. I've encouraged him to look for that shot more, and he will.

"Chris can get to the rim against anyone, and he has a solid mid-range game, and I think as the season goes along he'll look for his deep jumper more. In the Spring, he'll be playing for Boo Williams again, and he'll shoot more from the perimeter. He'll want the colleges to know he can hit that shot when open.

"And believe me, Chris shoots hundreds of jumpers each day in order to add that element to his game. He's a hard working kid."

And yes, though somewhat under the radar now, Clarke's beginning to get noticed and the offers are beginning to come, according to Hall. The coach said he had about seven verbals from Virginia Tech, Iowa State, VCU and others, while Creighton is interested. Virginia was showing solid intrigue but hasn't said much recently.

As for Maryland...

"We've been hearing from Maryland, and they're coming down here soon to see Chris," Hall said. "I don't believe Chris grew up with a dream school per se, but Maryland is a school he'd be very interested in. His Dad lives in Baltimore, so that's a plus, and I'm very familiar with the program given my Baltimore ties (Maryland also recruited Hall's son, Devon, now redshirting at UVA).

"I think once Maryland gets a look at Chris, they'll offer him. He can bring a lot of things to the table."

Hall, who spoke to Clarke's character and also pointed out he had a 3.0 GPA, said he expects the wing's recruitment to pick up later in the winter or spring.

"Right now we're really concentrating on our season, but Chris May work in a visit to Maryland, possibly as early as [Dec. 21]. He can check out the Terps, and visit his Dad while up there," Hall said.

Terrapin Times hasn't seen Clarke recently, but plan to in January. There's a lot of regional buzz about Clarke here lately, with one pundit calling him "the best kept secret in America." That's a strong statement, but again, the Terps need to attract a couple wings in the '15 class, and Clarke appears to be someone who can contribute on both ends of the court, while bringing an element of toughness and energy at the same time.

For now, we'll add him to the list of prospects and see where it all leads. Through three games, Clarke was averaging 21 points, eight rebounds, five assists and three steals.

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