NCAA: Missouri Freshman Wes Clark Earning Respect From Frank Haith

Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

Missouri head coach Frank Haith has not been shy about giving some public praise to his new freshman point guard Wes Clark. Haith is calling him “good as advertised” and can see him as a pillar for the Missouri basketball team moving forward. Clark and others will have to step up in some big ways to replace departing point guard Phil Pressey, who has signed as a free agent with the Boston Celtics. Pressey became the school’s all-time assist leader in just three years, and co-leader in steals. For guys like Clark, fellow freshman Shane Rector and Tulsa transfer Justin Clarkson, Pressey’s shoes will be a monster task to fill.

Clark is being labeled as a pure point guard with incredible speed and court vision. He has the capabilities of having a good scoring night as well as having a great ability to finish at the rim. Justin Clarkson will look to take over the starting spot while Clark will fight for minutes with fellow freshman Shane Rector. At this point in his career, Clark needs to be focused on helping the team win games and not about how many minutes he can log. As high praise as Clark is receiving from Frank Haith, he will see plenty of action on the court in the near future. Clark will need to continue his development and be ready to step in at any time.

While Clark’s future at Missouri looks promising, lingering knee issues from his high school days may set him back. He has already been scoped a couple of times this summer, which has put him behind in basketball practice. Coach Frank Haith has to believe he will have Clark available when he arrives on campus for summer school. The scopes during the summer were mainly precautionary measures and things should be okay with his knee.

Haith may have got a steal when it comes to recruiting a guy like Clark to Missouri. Most major recruiting services only had Clark has a mid-major prospect. He attended the Deron Williams Skills Academy and the prestigious LeBron James Skills Academy during the month of July, and made some recruiting buzz from his performances against Florida Gator signee, and future McDonald’s All-American Kasey Hill. Haith first laid eyes on Clark at the Peach Jam in North Augusta, S.C. and was immediately impressed with Clark’s intensity. After the Tigers made a strong push for his services in August, Clark then committed to play at Missouri.

While Missouri fans may not see much of Clark in his first season, they will be able to look forward to a promising young piece in their backcourt for the future. Clark needs to remain healthy, do some serious catching up in the weight room and adjust to the speed of the college game. Clark may be a project player, but has the capabilities to be a starting point guard in a couple of years.

Brian Lewis is an SEC Basketball Writer for RantSports.com. You can follow him on Twitter, or add him to your network on Google.

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