Ian Clark watched the NBA Draft a month ago with little expectation that he’d hear his name.
The co-Player of the Year in the Ohio Valley Conference at Belmont University in Nashville had worked out for nine NBA teams. While there was some hope of going in the second round, he was more realistic.
“I knew my time would be in summer league to come in and play well,” he said.
Playing well might have led Clark to an NBA training camp or a contract overseas. What Clark did at the Las Vegas Summer League earned him a partially guaranteed deal with the Utah Jazz and an opportunity to play immediately, and he officially signed with the team Monday.
Terms of the deal were not known, although Clark’s agent, Bill Duffy, told The Tribune last week that it included “significant” guarantees and that the Jazz’s pitch was “very aggressive for a non-drafted player.” USA Today reported the contract was for two seasons, with a team option for the second year.
Clark most likely will be the Jazz’s fifth guard, backing up shooting guards Alec Burks and Brandon Rush, as well as point guards Trey Burke and John Lucas III.
Clark, a combo guard, was named the MVP of the NBA Summer League Championship Game, in which he drained seven 3-pointers and scored 33 points to lead Golden State.
He also played for Miami at the Orlando Pro Summer League, where he scored at least 15 points in all five games.
In Vegas, Clark was the unexpected star of a Warriors entry that included Golden State rotation players Draymond Green and Kent Bazemore.
“It was their team in summer league,” Clark said. “They were the captains. They kind of took control of the game, and I told them whenever they needed me I’d be ready.
“Those guys, to their credit, when they were closed in on when they dished the ball out to me, I was ready.”
At Belmont, Clark led the Bruins to three NCAA Tournaments in four years, including a second-round loss to Arizona at EnergySolutions Arena in March.
Clark arrived in Salt Lake City on Sunday and met with coach Tyrone Corbin for dinner at a downtown steakhouse. Clark said Corbin told him he wanted the new guard to feel able to come in and “freestyle,” to operate within the flow of the game and not be constricted by the offense.
“We got to an understanding,” Clark said, “found out a little about each other. He really helped me with that transition. We talked about earlier just free my mind, ready to work. There’s a lot of opportunity here for me.”
Ian Clark file
Guard, Utah Jazz
Summer League • Scored 33 points and was named MVP of Las Vegas summer league as a member of Golden State Warriors. ... Scored at least 15 points in five games for the Miami Heat at Orlando Pro Summer League.
College • Averaged 18.2 points per game as a senior and led Belmont to third NCAA Tournament appearance. ... Named Ohio Valley Conference Co-Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year.