By Kevin Gelabert
Although the University at Albany Men’s Basketball team lost to the Hartford Hawks 66-60 last week on Feb. 12, an incredible milestone was reached by a certain Great Dane superstar.
On that night in Connecticut's capital, Ahmad Clark reached 1,000 career points as a Great Dane, an accolade that he has not achieved at any level in his entire basketball career.
Clark is only the eighth player in UAlbany men’s basketball history to reach this milestone.
“It means everything to me,” Clark said. “All of the adversity that I’ve faced with the game of basketball, it means a lot. I feel blessed to be at this university and be able to play.”
Ahmad Clark has been playing basketball for UAlbany since 2017, and has emerged as one of their best players. However, his journey from Maryland to SEFCU Arena was not the easiest.
Hungry for a division one scholarship, Clark decided to take his talents to a little known prep school named DME Academy in Daytona Beach, Florida, far away from his home. There, Clark struggled to get any exposure to division one programs.
“They were in their first year as a prep school so it was a little unorganized,” said Clark. “It was rough trying to get division one looks.”
Clark graduated highschool without a single scholarship offer from a division one or division two school.
Although times were tough at DME, Ahmad Clark received a scholarship to St. Petersburg Junior College in Florida, after playing just 20 games in Daytona Beach for DME.
In his first, and only, year at St. Petersburg, Ahmad and his team won the state tournament. This allowed them to punch their ticket to nationals.
It was there that his journey as a Great Dane would start to unfold.
Among those in attendance at that tournament was UAlbany Men’s Basketball Head Coach Will Brown, along with Associate Head Coach Jon Iati.
They wound up offering Ahmad a scholarship shortly after seeing him play his first game of the tournament.
Ahmad would go on to visit the UAlbany, his first and only division one college visit, where he would later accept his scholarship offer, and he’s been in purple and gold ever since.
Since his younger years, Clark has always been a fan of the game. Like any other, he has always had role models that he looked up to, and tried to model his game after.
“Lebron James of course, Kobe Bryant, may he rest in peace,” said Clark when asked who inspired him to play. “Kemba Walker has been one of my favorites throughout college and Damien Lillard is my favorite right now.”
Upon the graduation of any UAlbany star, the inevitable question of their future plans often dominates the conversation around them. As for an answer to this question, Ahmad himself is uncertain.
“I don’t know, but I know it’s probably going to involve basketball,” Clark said. “I’m just trying to help this team get to the NCAA Tournament and hopefully from there it takes care of itself.”
The Great Danes are currently in third place in the America East Conference, with an overall record of 14-13 and a 7-5 record within the conference, so it will be essential that Clark plays some of his best basketball in the next few weeks for the Great Danes to have a shot at tournament play in March.
Although the fate of the team and the future plans for Ahmad are unknown, one fact remains certain. Ahmad Clark, the former division one journeyman, has now solidified himself as a Great Dane elite and has joined an exclusive club that seemed unattainable even to himself just a few years ago.