Gonzaga picked up a key piece to its future roster with the addition of San Jose State transfer Brandon Clarke.
Clarke chose Gonzaga over Oregon. The 6-foot-8, 210-pound forward visited GU earlier this week and committed Wednesday night. He has called off a weekend visit to Oregon.
Clarke will sit out next season under NCAA transfer rules and then have two years of eligibility.
“That place just felt right,” Clarke said in a phone interview. “The campus was so nice, the coaches were very good. I just felt like I would fit into that team very well and play very well in their system.
“I also really like their redshirt program and it’s going to help me get better as a player and a person.”
Former Zags’ Kyle Wiltjer and Kelly Olynyk made big strides during their redshirt seasons. Clarke is hoping to add bulk to his frame and expand his shooting range.
“I definitely want to get bigger and stronger,” he said, “and just get better at shooting really.”
Clarke will likely matchup against senior Johnathan Williams, sophomore Killian Tillie and sophomore Rui Hachimura in practice this season and could assume Williams’ role the following year.
It’s been a whirlwind few weeks for Clarke. News of his transfer surfaced last Wednesday. San Jose State coach Dave Wojcik resigned for personal reasons in July and was replaced by Jean Prioleau earlier this month.
“After talking with family and friends, they just thought it would be best to test the waters and just see if any colleges I would want to go to would be interested,” said Clarke, adding the coaching change “wasn’t the main reason but it was definitely one of the main reasons.”
Clarke is an athletic ‘4’ who can score, rebound, defend and block shots. He excels driving to the basket and operating on the offensive glass.
“I like to say I do everything somewhat well,” he said. “I take pride in defense first and kind of let the offense come to me.”
Clarke earned All-Mountain West Conference first-team honors after averaging 17.3 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.5 blocks last season. He also made the MWC All-Defensive team.
Fall semester classes began earlier this week at Gonzaga. Clarke said he hopes to arrive in Spokane in a few days.