SJSU forward Brandon Clarke recently announced his wish to transfer schools and narrowed his list down to three programs: Oregon, Gonzaga and Washington State.
The 2017 All-Mountain West First Team player said he received around 20 calls from schools across the country after he was granted permission to speak with other teams, and now, his decision is expected to come within the next week or two.
Thoughts of leaving SJSU circulated in Clarke’s mind after former head coach Dave Wojcik resigned, stressing Clarke out about who the next coach would be.
The decision to transfer wasn’t a solo one, however, as Clarke’s family had the incoming junior envision his future as a basketball player.
“Pretty much the whole month I was there (in San Jose) over the summer, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do,” Clarke said. “I came back home and talked to my parents and close family and we thought that it was best that I explore those other options and I have.
“They were just saying that if I really want to go to the big leagues some day, I have to be put in a position where I’m being watched and where I’m on a team that’s winning.”
Despite all this, Clarke said this summer just felt different when he came back to SJSU for offseason workouts. He had already begun thinking about moving on and it weighed heavily on him.
Of the three schools Clarke is eyeing, two made deep runs in last season’s NCAA Tournament with Oregon losing in the Final Four and Gonzaga in the National Championship.
Regardless of Clarke’s landing spot, he will be forced to sit out a season because of the NCAA transfer rule.
But according to the 6-foot-8 forward, the one-year wait to get back on the court is necessary, as he felt he was overplayed last season and needs to get stronger while polishing his craft.
“I think there are parts of my game that I need to take a year off to work on,” Clarke said. “Last year, I played over a thousand minutes, too. That’s more than most players should play.
“I’m wanting to go to a college that’s known for good red shirts too, want to go somewhere where I can practice my shot, get stronger, get bigger … I can get ready for that next level, which is playing on a pro team some day. I just really want to use that year to sharpen my game.”
Clarke said telling his teammates he was leaving was very difficult, adding that he is grateful for his time at SJSU and believes it’s time to take the next step.
The former Mountain West Sixth Man of the Year is set to visit Oregon and coach Dana Altman from Sept. 2-3 and is working on a date to meet with coach Mark Few and Gonzaga shortly after.
“It’s been the hardest choice I’ve had to make my whole life,” Clarke emphasized. “I love it there (San Jose), I love my teammates, I love everything.”