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UCLA Basketball: Get to know Jaylen Clark

Clark ranked as the 11th-best shooting guard in his class

NCAA Basketball: Utah at UCLA Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The 2020-21 UCLA Bruins basketball season has largely been unaffected by the coronavirus pandemic, mainly because it’s still so far away. Well, and also because we likely would have just crowned a Men’s Basketball National Champion just last week had the 2019-20 season not been shut down in the middle of its postseason.

Regardless, it’s time to shift the focus forward instead of looking back. And today, we get to know Jaylen Clark, the most recent signee to the UCLA Basketball program by head coach Mick Cronin.

Cronin added Clark, who ranked as the 11th-best shooting guard in the class of 2020 according to 247Sports. Clark is 6’5, 200 pounds and also seen as a consensus four-star recruit and the 71st-best player in the country overall.

He also represents the only high school commit from the class of 2020 but joins the Bruins with Kentucky transfer Johnny Juzang.

You’ve got to like what you see from Clark, unless of course you’re a Pac-12 rival or an opponent on the UCLA schedule in 2020-21.

He’s a massive individual for his age. You have to think he’ll bulk up a bit before he hits the hard court this winter, but even if he didn’t bulk up, he’s still plenty fine to take on college basketball players the way he stands now.

From his evaluation last year, 247Sports National Recruiting Analyst Josh Gershon pegged him as a Power-5 starter and compared him to Jeremy Hemsley of San Diego State.

Physical specimen with elite defensive upside. Built like a linebacker and plays with extreme physicality on defense. Good size, long arms, wide shoulders with chiseled frame. Terrific athlete both vertically and laterally. Hard-nosed defender who should be able to defend any perimeter position in college. Best in transition on offense. Decent ball skills and can score attacking basket. Jumper is inconsistent at this stage and improving as a shooter will dictate ultimate success at college level. Projects as high level defender regardless.

Clark made his commitment in February and stayed true to that word by signing his National Letter of Intent earlier in April.

Cronin also spoke with UCLA Athletics about what Clark’s addition means to the Bruins.

“Jaylen comes from a great family. He’s a true competitor with tremendous athleticism, and he has gone up against some of Southern California’s best high school programs. I love that he can play almost any position on the floor. We believe he will develop into a great player for us. During his senior year, he was able to lead his team in multiple ways – some games as the leading scorer, others as the top rebounder, and other games with his assists. Jaylen has been a proven winner at the highest levels of high school basketball, in addition to the national AAU circuit. We are very excited that he chose to be a Bruin.”

Clark finished his senior season at Etiwanda High School with All-CIF Southern Section Open Division honors and a 30-4 overall record. They made their division’s regional final and knocked off Mater Dei in the process. He averaged 18.5 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game during his final year in high school. He was a first-team all-area selection by his local newspaper as well.

In this ‘sportsless’ time of our country’s history, we’ll happily highlight some more of Clark and his high school tape here.

Welcome to the family, Jaylen! 4’s up indeed!