Dan Clark looked around the Olympic site in Stratford, East London last weekend, and he felt even more excited than when he played in the Basketball Arena last summer at the Test Event.
Great Britain’s emerging big man was born in another of the Olympic sites, Greenwich, not far at all from Stratford and he says that the dream of playing in the Basketball Arena as an Olympic athlete will be the realisation of a dream.
“It has been extremely exciting watching the progress of the Olympic Park over the past few years and being able to play there last summer was amazing but in the summer it is going to be out of this world,” Clark said.
The now veteran GB star was always destined to be a professional basketball player. His dad Mark is a former Great Britain Women’s coach and a well known basketball figure in the country. His mother Claire and sister were also England internationals.
The 6’11” forward never got off the bench in his first official international tournament at Eurobasket ’09 in Poland, but two years later in the same event in Lithuania, Clark showed how far he has come since then, averaging eight points and seven rebounds plus he recorded an impressive double-double of 14 points and 12 rebounds against the eventual winners Spain.
He was a key member of the squad that claimed just one win at the Olympic Test Event, last August.
Clark has also become a regular starter with ACB side Estudiantes, which bodes well for his chances of making coach Chris Finch’s final roster when the tournament begins on July 29th.
Another dream for the 23-year-old will come true during Great Britain’s preparation for the Olympics, as they square-off against the USA in Manchester, but Clark will not be intimidated about facing the likes of LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard.
“Everybody who knows anything about basketball knows who these guys are, and everybody who plays basketball dreams about playing against them,” Clark commented.
“So the only thing we have to do is give them a run for their money because at the end of the day, it’s still five-on-five.”
With the opportunity of developing basketball into a bigger sport in Great Britain, thanks to the friendly against the reigning world and Olympic gold-medallists and, of course the event itself, Clark is happy just to be apart of the post-Games legacy, his dream of playing in his home Olympics is getting nearer and nearer.
Clark insists also that Great Britain will be proud hosts and will not be simply making up the numbers.
“Our main goal since the organisation came together is to get better as a team every year and I personally think we have done this,” he states.
“Now our ulimate goal is here, we have to keep getting better and I think that relates to a birth in the quarter-finals and then from there I am certain we can upset some good teams.”