Duquesne counting on improved Clark
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If Duquesne is to take a step forward in men's basketball this season, Bill Clark's return to form would be a good place to start.
Clark is coming off a season of frustration, which included two suspensions - one for a secondary NCAA rules infraction and one for violating team rules - and a marked drop in 3-point shooting.
But the 6-foot-5 senior forward appears to have a renewed purpose.
"I'm a new man," Clark said Saturday, looking fit and eager to help lead a team that returns four starters from a 16-16 season. "I'm not about negative things."
Clark came out firing in Duquesne's annual scrimmage at Palumbo Center on Saturday, finishing 4 for 6 from 3-point range as the Red team rallied to beat the Blue, 48-43.
"When you give a good effort, you give yourself a chance to succeed," Dukes coach Ron Everhart said. "Bill was one of the guys I really admired today. He played with a lot of heart. But Billy's never been a guy to not give effort."
While much is being said about Duquesne's incoming class of freshmen, Clark stood out Saturday, just like he did in the annual City Game against Pitt last season, when he hit a career-high six 3-pointers and scored a game-high 23 points. That performance vs. Pitt came shortly after his long 3-pointer at the buzzer beat Iowa on the road.
But after entering last season as a career 36.1-percent shooter from behind the arc, Clark wound up slumping to 27.9.
"Billy's worst enemy is Billy," Everhart said. "When he's positive and focused on helping the team, there's noboby better. He's got to understand that when he makes a bad play, he's just got to forget about it. So far this year, he's really kept a positive outlook. I'm encouraged."
Everhart was not so pleased with his team's "sloppy" performance at Saturday's scrimmage.
"I don't think we're in good shape to play the way we play, especially on the defensive end," Everhart said. "But our guards did a good job of sharing the ball, and that helped Billy shoot the ball better."
Everhart singled-out Clark, sophomore forward Rodrigo Peggau, freshman forward Joel "Air Jamaica" Wright and freshmen guards T.J. McConnell and Mike Tally for their play.
Senior forward David Theis and sophomore guard Sean Johnson did not play, continuing to recover from ankle injuries, and junior guard Eric Evans played sparingly while rehabbing a slight stress fracture.
Derrick Martin, a 6-foot-9 freshman forward/center, has been practicing with the team since Thursday and played in the scrimmage, but he had yet to be declared eligible by the NCAA Clearinghouse to appear in Duquesne's exhibition opener Saturday against Division III La Roche.
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