2003-07-11 / Sports

Clark Can Clearly See The Path To Future Success

By Elio Velez
Clark Can Clearly See The Path To Future Success By Elio Velez

Rahshon Clark sits on the top of the stands by himself with his CD player at Farleigh Dickinson University’s Rothman Center in Hackensack, New Jersey. While he’s listening to his music, Clark is intensely watching the first series of basketball games at the Adidas ABCD Tournament.

The Arverne native is considered one of the top 215 high school basketball players in the country. Seniors and underclassmen come to FDU each year to play in this prestigious weeklong tournament. Local stars such as Lincoln’s Sebastian Telfair and Cardozo’s Cameron Tyler are here to show off their talents. All-American high school stars from Florida to Missouri and California have traveled across the country to appear at this tournament.

When Clark gets court 4 at 4:15 and 8:15 p.m. to play, college coaches, scouts and the media will watch his every move. Clark isn’t worried or nervous about all the attention from the numerous coaches or media ranging from print,TV, and the Internet. The former Beach Channel High School star is here to compete against the best. "I’m just here to play", said Clark. "I want to play out here my hardest like I did at Beach Channel".

For Rahshon Clark, his rise to prominence in being named to numerous Queens or New York City All-Star teams has been due to hard work in his game in the past three years. The 6’6 185 pound forward has a shown a great scoring touch inside the basket and jumper from 15-22 feet which has greatly improved this year. His outstanding athletic ability can lead him to dominate stretches of a game by himself.

Morris Johnson, an assistant coach at Beach Channel High School and AAU coach with the Long Island Panthers. Johnson coaches Clark with the Panthers and knows Rahshon has the ability to play with or against the city’s best players.

The AAU has been well regarded as a league that exposes some of the best city, catholic and private school players in the surrounding region. Johnson sees the vast improvement that Clark has made.

"He’s a pretty confident kid. I’ve seen him from a kid who could only jump to a kid who has a jump shot, dribble and has progressed into a complete player."

But a few things do bother Clark about his ability on and off the court. The BC Dolphins elimination in the PSAL second round playoffs to Gompers was a tough blow to him. The loss raised some questions that were burning inside of Clark such as wanting to take more of a leadership role with the team. "I should have got my team motivated and talk to my teammates a little bit more. I guess I could do it but I didn’t do it that game."

Johnson believes differently that Clark, on his leadership ability. "This year, with our AAU and high school teams, he has been stepping up as a leader. He has pulled the team together at times and told them that its time to win."

Clark is also honest about not doing well in the classroom. Because of his grades, Bridgeton Academy is his next stop in the road to college. The New Hampshire school offers Clark the chance to improve his skills in the classroom as well as on the court. "I could have went to others but Bridgeton was the best for me because it was far away from the city and I could stay more focused."

Johnson agrees with Clark’s choice of going to New Hampshire. He’s going to work on his academics and give a better performance. We were talking about a few other schools and he came back to me and said Bridgeton is the one."

"Rahshon is a smart and good kid. He knows that he made mistakes and he knows he should have been taking care of his schoolwork."

Johnson, Clark and his family believe that Bridgeton is the best place for him. Johnson says that his ability on the court have attracted attention from the big schools but with hard work on his grades, Clark can attend the major schools,

"I’ve seen his stock risen from being an MAAC type player to now to ACC and Big Ten schools coming at him"

Johnson has become very close to Clark and advises Clark to make the right decisions for himself. Johnson gives the same advice to Clark just like Morris said to his’ 19-year-old brother, who currently is a sophomore playing basketball at Norfolk State University.

The attention from top schools is impressive but Johnson advises Clark constantly to choose the school that fits him best for basketball and an education. "I told him to go somewhere to go to play. I don’t want him to be swallowed up by the big picture", says Johnson. "I want him to enjoy his decision and make sure it’s the right one for him to be happy with. It’s a success that you take care of yourself and your family by getting an education".

Clark has narrowed his choice to a few schools but his preference is to play at the school that fits him best. "I will go anywhere to get the opportunity to play and I feel whatever fits me, that’s what I will do."

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