In football recruiting, there is a position called athlete. That term generally goes to a freak. You know, the kind of player that throws the ball, runs sub 4.6 40-yard dashes, can run, can pass, can catch and can defend. In basketball, there are guys like Earl Clark. The 6-foot-7, 197-pound class of 2006 prospect is an all encompassing player, logging minutes at all five positions.
When looking over the roster for Rahway (N.J.) High School, you'll see the traditional things. Point guards, shooting guards, small forwards, etc. Then you'll see Clark's name. Stealing the football term, Clark is the basketball equivalent of an athlete.
Talking to Clark, the no. 39 ranked player in the junior class, you'll get the picture that he just thinks of himself as a guy that just wants to win ball games, regardless of where he lines up at.
"I'm more of a scorer this season," Clark said.
He's averaging nearly 20 points a game this year for Rahway (10-3). Then he continued.
"I'll get the points but I also play hard on defense," Clark said. "I rebound and block shots. I like the up tempo style that let's me push the break. I basically play everywhere."
His versatility, size, athleticism, point guard skills and unselfishness as a team player has drawn comparisons to Penny Hardaway. The Orlando Magic Penny, mind you.
"I've been compared to him a lot," Clark said. "We're both big guards and our games are similar. For me, it's a big compliment. That Penny was pretty good."
UNLV and Villanova have both been out to see him this year, Clark says. In fact, he had plans to be at the Villanova-Kansas game. Mother Nature had a different plan, as the snow blanketed the Northeast.
Clark says Connecticut, Rutgers, Syracuse, Seton Hall, Georgia Tech and Kentucky are also in the picture. He also added that UConn, Kentucky, Syracuse and Villanova are the most consistent in his recruitment so far. Don't expect a list of favorites though.
"No, not right now. Not right away," Clark said. "I got to just keep playing hard and winning games."