Coach Max Ivany, Founder of the D1 Nation caught up with 2017 Forward 6’9" Tristan Clark of San Antonio, TX/Wagner High School for this segment of Real Talk. In addition, we also had a chance to throw a few questions out to his Mom, Ms Maggie Simpson.
Welcome back to San Antonio, Tristan. How does it feel to be back home after spending your sophomore season in Las Vegas, NV at Findlay Prep? It feels great. I really enjoyed my time at Findlay Prep. I'm now looking forward to my senior year back home in Converse and enjoying it with my friends and my mom.
Why did you leave a very good Judson team to head out west? Findlay Coach Andy Johnson saw me play at the Peach Jam and reached out to me. It was intriguing to me to have a chance to practice daily against and play alongside some of the best high school players in the world. The daily competition made me a much better player.
You certainly had success there, averaging 12.5 ppg and 6'5 rpg. Why'd you leave? There were times when I felt a little homesick and missed my friends and family, so I decided I wanted to finish my senior year at home. I'm enrolled at Wagner, which is my old school's cross town rival so the district games against Judson should be fun.
Do you have a nickname? No
What are some of your hobbies outside of basketball? I really don't have hobbies outside of Basketball. I'm pretty much a home body who likes to watch movies and hang out with my mom.
What’s your favorite subject in school? History. I like learning about great people who came before me. Like who, if you could speak to one? Definitely Dr. Martin Luther King.
Who were the best player(s) you have ever played with? I've had the chance to play with many really good players on the EYBL Circuit. Texas Longhorns commit, Andrew Jones, E.J. Washington (Findlay Prep) and Shelby Adams (Converse, TX/Judson) would be three who stick out in my mind.
Who’s your favorite NBA Player? Former Kentucky and now NBA star Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans.
Who will be your toughest match up in district play this year? Cibolo, TX/Steele. They are athletic, deep and have very good front line players in a pair of Juniors; 2018 Jayden Martinez and 2018 Gerald Liddell. It will be a high level game.
What are some goals you set for this year? I want to win a State Championship at Converse, TX/Wagner. I want to continue to become a leader on my young team, and of course to have fun in my senior year.
If you won a million dollars what would you do with it?I dunno..buy some clothes, do a little bit of shopping shopping & save the rest. I'm not motivated by money.
You committed early to Baylor. Why? Baylor just had a vibe I felt comfortable with from the beginning. The coaching staff was sincere and I like their history of developing guys at my position. Coach McCasland (now the head coach at Arkansas State) initially recruited me and then I really bonded with Coach Drew. (In the picture below, Coach Drew is smiling. They must have snapped the photo just after your commitment because he looks very happy..lol)
I liked that Baylor was close to home and it had great academics. If things don't work out in basketball I will have a quality degree to fall back on.
I know you're only 17 but have you thought about what you'd like to major in? I think either business or sports management.
It's not easy for a parent to say goodbye to their "baby", even if he is 6'9". How'd you handle last year with Tristan being gone from under your wing? It didn't really hit me until about two weeks prior that he was leaving San Antonio and Judson High School....he's really leaving. It hit hard. I immersed myself in my job, and took additional travel assignments at work to keep myself busy. During the nine months Tristan was at Findlay I went to Vegas several times and he came home several times, so it actually went by very quickly all things considered.
What are your thoughts about Tristan's recruitment and the basketball process in general? Initially I didn't realize how good Tristan really was. I've come to realize that he has a special talent. He's my only child. I love it that he's passionate about the game. He's aggressive on the court. He's very physical but he's also skilled. I'm proud of his development both on and off the court. We have an open communication as mother and son. He's got a soft and caring side about him off the court, it's his alter ego. To be honest, he's been a model son. I feel very blessed. He's a very considerate and thoughtful young man.
As strictly a player evaluation I believe Clark has a chance to make it to the next level. However after speaking with him and his mom I'm even more confident of the possibility. In addition to his physical gifts, the Baylor Bears are getting a very grounded young man with a great sense of family. Below is my baskdetball evaluation. I sincerely am rooting for him and wish him all the best.
2017 6'9" Tristan Clark San Antonio, TX/Wagner
"The latest in a line of impressive big men from the Alamo City is 6'9" Tristan Clark. He's got a tough act to follow though to be mentioned in the same breath as Andre Roberson (OKC Thunder) and Jordan Murphy (Minnesota Gophers). The good news is he has the tools.
Clark originally was a varsity freshman/sophomore for Converse Judson but last season chose to cast his lot as a Junior with Coach Andy Johnson and the Findlay Prep (NV) Pilots.
Findlay is one of the nation's top basketball factories, year in and year out. During his time at Findlay, Clark averaged 12.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. I managed to catch a couple of his games with Findlay as I am friends with his team mate Markus Howard and his family. I was impressed with the increased muscle as well as motor he gained with the Pilots. Clark was the best rebounder and shot blocker on that talented squad.
Clark committed to Baylor prior to last season and now after his stint with Findlay he's come back home, this time to Converse, TX/Wagner. Tristan is a legit defender and rim protector. I like his shot blocking IQ. Not only is he athletic enough but he's under control when he alters and blocks shots, a la Bill Russell.
On the offensive end, there's lots of work to be done but there aren't too many places much better to be than under the tutelage of Baylor Honcho, Scott Drew and his staff. Front line guys like Perry Jones, Ekpe Udoh, Cory Jefferson, Quincy Acy, Royce O'Neale, Taurean Prince & Rico Gathers have become vastly improved finished products after their time with the Bears.
Clark's foot work is improving and he certainly finishes around the goal but to be a premiere college player and eventually a pro (which I believe he will be) he will need to develop a trusty face up game from the free throw line extended. It will be fun to watch him chase his dreams.-Coach Max Ivany