After half a season with the Sydney Kings and Adelaide 36ers, Ian Clark finds himself with a unique opportunity to have an off-season with Melbourne United ahead of NBL24.
The 32-year-old is looking to win his second NBL title, joining former NBA veteran Matthew Dellavedova and the rising star Luke Travers.
Settling into the Melbourne United dynamics, Clark has already made his presence felt, being a mentor, settling in with the team quickly and buying into the club’s values and ambitions.
“It was the values that they have and the reputation that they have stood out. My agent did a good job finding the right spot for me, what I do well, but also giving me a chance to come and help a team win,” Clark told the media.
In Clark’s short time so far in Melbourne, he has already become a mentor and developed a relationship with 17-year-old Joel Foxwell, which started out by sharing a car together in Tasmania.
“Being down in Tassie with ‘Foxy’ (Joel Foxwell), just kind of one getting to know him as a person, but also understanding that the talent that he has to be at such a young age,” Clark said.
“He’s asked me a lot of questions about my NBA experience and things I can help him as far as being on a bench when he’s subbing out, just helping him as much as possible.”
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Clark has taken a liking to the young player, responding to him being a sponge in a positive way, adding, “that’s a credit to him. He just wants to learn.”
Melbourne United have been improving their style and play, trying to match and expect the standards of high-quality basketball, being able to maximise the guys they have on the floor at all times.
Clark expressed a lot of excitement in implementing Dean Vickerman’s style of play.
“We play fast, I like that we play up and down. We got a lot of guys that can play different positions,” he said eagerly.
The NBA and NBL champion has felt he’s ahead of his adjustment in joining the team, as he joined United in the off-season, in contrast to when he joined the 36ers in the middle of last season and in the first of back-to-back championships, played a massive role for the Sydney Kings in their NBL22 title.
“Being able to start the season early and not coming in mid-season and trying to find my way, having this time to learn the guys, learn the offence, and not rush myself is pretty big for me,” Clark said.
Melbourne United play rivals South East Melbourne Phoenix on Saturday the 9th of September, 7 PM AEST at Casey Stadium, which can be streamed through the NBL app.