Brandon Clarke isn’t exactly sure how high he jumps. Gonzaga men’s basketball training guru Travis Knight isn’t sure either, but he has a pretty good idea.
Clarke said he can “kiss the rim” on his highest leaps. He’s 6-foot-8, subtract about 6 inches from his mouth to the top of his head and what’s left to smooch a rim at 10 feet? It pencils out in the neighborhood of 46 inches.
“We don’t do a lot of formal jump height evaluation,” Knight said. “I have him around 44 inches. I’m comfortable with 44.”
Clarke first dunked at age 16 when he was 6-2. By 18, the late bloomer stood 6-7. As impressive as the San Jose State transfer’s vertical jump is his ability to reload quickly for a second lift off. That becomes a factor when battling for rebounds and contesting shots.
“That’s natural, mainly,” said Clarke, who broke the program’s single-season blocks record during Thursday’s victory against San Francisco. “It’s something I’ve always had.”
Add Clarke’s name to a list that includes Kelly Olynyk, Kyle Wiltjer and Johnathan Williams of Zags benefitting from Knight’s tutelage during redshirt seasons.
“We talked about it with Brandon and coach (Mark) Few, that we didn’t want to change the type of player he is,” Knight said. “If you start putting a bunch of weight on him, it changes his explosiveness and quick twitch.
“We wanted to make sure his core and hips are as strong as can be. We worked a lot on postural upper body and balance. It was all about small muscles, small changes that don’t necessarily show up on the preseason poster or in the airport.”
It’s certainly showing up on the basketball court.
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