Brandon Clarke will enter the NBA Summer League championship game Tuesday having already collected some hardware.
The 21st overall pick in this year’s draft was awarded the summer’s MVP award after averaging 14.6 points and 8.6 rebounds in his professional debut at the Las Vegas event.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) July 15, 2019
However, Clarke’s road to becoming the most valuable player wasn’t easy. He missed the team’s first game in Las Vegas after waiting for the draft-day trade that made him an official member of the Grizzlies.
“It’s been tough,” Clarke said after scoring 17 points in his first game with Memphis. “It sucks, kind of. I haven’t been able to practice. I’ve just been doing individual work.”
Clarke seemingly fit right in with the Grizzlies, similar to how he did in college.
Prior to being a pro, Clarke played two seasons at San Jose State and then transferred to Gonzaga. After sitting out a season, he became a key contributor to the team last season as a redshirt junior.
“It’s been a really long journey to get to this point, but a really fun one,” Clarke said, via the Memphis Commercial Appeal. “I’m 22. Most rookies are about 18 or 19. It shows that my journey was longer. But for it to be longer made it really, really fun. And it feels great to be here right now.”
Clarke joined Jonas Valanciunas (2013), Kyle Anderson (2015) and Tyus Jones (2016) as Grizzlies who have received the honor.
The Grizzlies will take on the Timberwolves in the championship game Tuesday night.
Tipoff is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2.