When freshman center Jabari Craig didn't qualify academically, USC's men's basketball team was left thin in the post. The Trojans have just four post players and are undersized at the position with 6'7" Darion Clark, 6'9" Strahinja Gavrilovic and a pair of 6'11" lanky centers in Nikola Jovanovic and Malik Martin.
With the lack of frontcourt depth, the USC post players take on that much more importance because foul trouble or an injury could force the Trojans to play a much smaller lineup rather than giving head coach Andy Enfield an opportunity to matchup as he sees fit.
6. Darion Clark - Forward
The Trojans have no seniors and just three juniors, so it shouldn't be a huge surprise the team elected a pair of sophomores to be captains in Darion Clark and Julian Jacobs. This is Clark's first year playing with the Trojans after sitting out last season due to NCAA transfer rules after he came over from Charlotte. It speaks volumes that his teammates chose him as a captain in his first season.
If Darion Clark had four or five more inches, he'd likely be a big NBA prospect. He's strong, athletic and has a mid-range game. Despite being shorter than most of the players he'll be matched up with, Clark battles with a relentless intensity and a yeoman's work ethic. He is a quick-twitch jumper, which enables him to block shots because he can wait until the very last second to jump.
He is a great complimentary piece to Nikola Jovanovic and Malik Martin in the frontcourt because Clark doesn't need the ball to go through his hands on the offensive end. He'll bang down low and battle for rebounds on both ends of the court. In Saturday's exhibition win over Cal State Los Angeles, Clark came off the bench to grab a game-high eight rebounds and blocked a game-high three shots.
Hopefully, Darion Clark has found his home because this is the first time in five years that he is at the same school two years in a row. After playing his high school basketball at Rockdale HS in Georgia his junior year, Clark went to the prestigious basketball prep school Oak Hill Academy in Virginia for his senior season and won a "national championship," going 44-0 in his senior season.
Clark began his college career at Charlotte where he averaged 6.2 points and 4.6 rebounds in 17.6 minutes per game for the 49ers before transferring to USC last season.
Here is Darion Clark during the spring speaking with Pat Haden about his relationship with Andy Enfield, who was actually the first college coach to call Clark when his junior contact window opened in high school.
Here's Darion Clark's teammates talking about what DC brings to the table in this USC Athletics "Meet and Greet" video: