Nearly a decade on since a fresh-faced Dan Clark made his international debut for Great Britain, he is now getting ready to celebrate becoming the nation’s latest basketball centurion.
Clark won his 100th cap away to Cyprus in December and is set to be recognised before tomorrow night’s return match against the same opposition in Manchester, where he is aiming to steer GB towards the EuroBasket qualifying rounds this summer.
Despite everything that has happened for Clark over the years, he still remembers his first cap against Poland with a great deal of fondness: “Obviously that game against Poland will be one I will always remember for my first cap but also for the emotions and pride that I felt pulling on the jersey for the first time. It always felt great playing for England and GB at the age group level but that was definitely a special day.”
Having represented England at cadet and junior levels, Clark had a brief spell with the Great Britain under-20 side before he was called up to the senior men’s squad in the build-up for EuroBasket 2009.
And ever since his debut in August 2009 against Poland at the O2 Arena, Clark has been a mainstay in the Great Britain fold, being the only player to be named for all five of the national team’s major FIBA tournaments in the post-2006 era, which includes four EuroBasket tournaments and the London 2012 Olympic Games.
While he did not see any court time during Great Britain’s first EuroBasket venture in Poland back in 2009, Clark has featured in all of GB’s 46 FIBA-regulated games since.
“Playing in any big tournament is a huge honour and an amazing experience. Playing against the best players in the world in some of the best atmospheres with the only goal of representing your country to the best of your ability makes for some fun and unforgettable moments,” said the 30-year-old.
Averaging 10.7 points and 5.2 rebounds over his illustrious 11-year career, Clark is the all-time leader in Great Britain history for points scored (1,023), rebounds (499), three-pointers made (155) and blocked shots (66).
The 30-year-old had to wait though until EuroBasket 2017 to reach the GB scoring summit, surpassing Minnesota Timberwolves forward Luol Deng’s total of 891 points in a group game against Latvia in Istanbul.
“Obviously it’s a great honour to hold individual records and it’s a reward for the work I have put in, especially with the amount of great players that have played for GB over the years,” added Clark.
The offensive versatility of Clark, who plays his basketball for Fuenlabrada in the Spanish ACB, regarded as the second biggest league in the world outside of the NBA, causes opposition defences all sorts of headaches. At 6’11”, he can punish you inside or step out and hit the three-pointer.
Back in the earlier stages of Clark’s international career, he hit five triples, en route to 23 points in a EuroBasket 2011 qualifier against Bosnia & Herzegovina in 2010. More recently, Clark hit a career-high six triples against Israel for 25 points in a Legionowo Tournament in Poland in 2017.
Defensively, Clark’s agility, quick feet mixed with a long reach makes life difficult for anyone trying to drive to the basket.
It all combines to nearly a decade of dominance for Clark, who becomes the fourth Great Britain men’s player to reach 100 caps. Clark though will be the youngest member of the club, joining Drew Sullivan, Eric Boateng and Kieron Achara to the honour.