8 youthful questions for Ivory Clark

HE'S THE LONE SENIOR on the nationally ranked Washington State basketball team, but there's nothing one-dimensional about 6-6 forward Ivory Clark. As last night's win over Cal illustrated, he does a little bit of everything for the Cougs. He blocks shots, rebounds, steals -- and scores. Against the Bears he was a perfect 6 of 6 from the field, racking up 14 points as the Cougs improved to 15-2.

The No. 22-rated Cougars now take on Stanford this Saturday.

In last Saturday's dramatic win over Arizona, Clarkcame up with a clutch rebound and slam-dunk put-back in overtime that helped secure the win for WSU.

He recently took time to answer a few questions from me -- a 13-year-old Cougar fan -- as part of a weekly column aimed at asking WSU players the questions adults don't seem to think of asking.

CF.C: What Cougar player would you have the hardest time defeating in a game of H-O-R-S-E?

Clark: Oooh, man, this year it's tough. I would either say Derrick (Low) or Chris Matthews. It's tough -- there are a lot of guys, because everybody can do something really well. Chris Matthews can shoot it from very far, and Derrick can too. And Kyle (Weaver) can do some things that are tough.

CF.C: If you where in charge of NCAA basketball, what would you do to improve the life of student-athletes?

Clark: I would give student-athlete's more money! And I guess I would find a way to help student athletes balance school and basketball because that's two full-time jobs and I think we definitely need some help in that area.

The File On
IVORY CLARK
HOMETOWN:
New Orleans

POSITION:
Forward

YEAR:
Senior

SIZE:
6-6, 220 pounds

WSU CAREER:
Came to Pullman a year ago as a three-star prospect and had instant impact, appearing in all 28 games, and starting 11 of them. Finished seventh in the Pac-10 in blocked shots and broke into WSU's junior single-season top five blocks.

STATS:
Has started 10 games this season and averages 24 minutes per contest. Leads the Cougars in blocked shots, is second in rebounding and third in steals. Averaging 8.9 points per game.

BEFORE WSU:
A scoring and rebounding standout at Midland (Texas) JC as a sophomore. Played freshman season at NAIA Dillard University, where he was No. 8 in the nation in field goal percentage. Prepped at Edna Karr Magnet High, where was a champion in the high jump.

MAJOR
Social Sciences

CF.C: You're a native of New Orleans. What impact did Hurricane Katrina have on you and your family? Did you lose your house?

Clark: Well, last year it was very depressing. It was a huge setback for me but this year I use it as motivation to do better and achieve more. No, our house wasn't lost, but it was damaged. Some things were wrong with it, but it was salvageable and my family's now been back for awhile.

CF.C: Do you like Cajun food? What is your favorite dish?

Clark: I love Cajun food, but I don't think I could name my one favorite.

CF.C: What post player on the Cougs would make the best point guard?

Clark: Besides me? The best point guard … interesting … Daven (Harmeling), no….Robbie (Cowgill), no….Baynes…BAYNES! Cause he wouldn't know what he's doin' out there so it would be funny to see him out there trying.

CF.C: What opponent's arena has been the most exciting place for you to play in?

Clark: That's tough. Obviously playing at Gonzaga, man, that was crazy. Washington is ridiculous. Oregon's tough. Arizona's tough. Playing at UCLA with all of the history, that is magical to be in there. Even USC's new arena is big-time, so I don't have one particular venue -- I like them all.

CF.C: You have three sisters in your family. What is the best and worst part about living with three girls?

Clark: Living with sisters is good because for a guy you get a female perspective on girls -- you know how to work with them, like dating. But also, little sisters can be aggravating and immature.

CF.C: The Cougs are tied up late in the title game of the Pac-10 tournament. Which teammate would you choose to take a half court desperation shot?

Clark: Derrick Low ... CHRIS MATTHEWS, CHRIS MATTHEWS!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Hayden Eller, 13, is an eighth grader in Chelan, Wash., where he's a starting guard on his basketball team. His addiction to crimson and gray started four years ago when he attended his first game at Martin Stadium, a Cougar win over Idaho. His father, Jeff, is a 1985 WSU graduate. Hayden has named his dog Butch, and currently is working to turn his little brother and mom into avid Coug fans.

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