Reprinted with permission of the News-Register. • By Rusty Rae, February 8, 2018
You might think Linfield’s 250-pound, 6-6 senior center Jordan Clark yearns for a chance to play in the NBA. But you’d be wrong. The closest Clark will likely get to an NBA floor are season tickets to the local pro team. While he loves the game, basketball is a means to his ultimate end, becoming a doctor.
Clark is a member of head coach Shanan Rosenberg’s first recruiting class. He is one of several athletes who has been instrumental in the turn-around of the Linfield basketball program.
Linfield (15-5, 9-3 NWC) travels to University of Puget Sound tonight and hosts Lewis & Clark Saturday at Ted Wilson Gymnasium in a 6 p.m. start. The Wildcats, currently in third place in the conference standings, feel all but sure of a berth in the conference playoffs. Winner of the playoffs earns the NWC’s automatic qualification to the DIII national tournament.
Rosenberg calls Clark a contagious catalyst, one reason the Wildcats have gone from bottom feeder to playoff contender in the NWC.
That, in a nutshell, defines Clark: he’s a vibrant force on both ends of the court, while his personality transcends his game.
“He’s created a standard for all incoming players — how to practice, how to play, but also how to be a great teammate,” Rosenberg says.
Clark chose Linfield because of the small class sizes and the opportunity to develop relationships with professors and classmates. These community kinships are the core of his life, on and off the court.
At powerhouse De La Salle, a Catholic High School in the greater San Francisco area, Clark learned early the difference between being in this world and of this world. A three-day retreat his senior year in high school impacted him greatly, impressing on him the difference between chronos (the measurement of time linearly, by hours and seconds) and kairos (a qualitative measure of time – the right or opportune moment for action.)
“I try to stay humble no matter how much success comes to me or our team. My high school coach preached Jesus was the ultimate teammate — and I look on myself as a servant leader,” he said.
To that end, Clark has a tattoo on his right arm, reminding him of his commitment on how to live the fourth day – the day after the retreat.
This year Clark assumed the role of the senior leader. His on-court performance explains how the Wildcats are in the hunt for a home playoff game. While the odds are long against Clark and his mates, the final four games will write the ultimate chapter. The ‘Cats likely will need to win out, including two games on the road against Whitman, the currently undefeated number one-ranked team in the nation, and Whitworth, a top 10-team.
Averaging slightly more than 20 minutes a game, Clark is hitting on more than 50 percent of his shots from the field and 84 percent on free throws. He is averaging six rebounds a game and 11 points per game.
Clark’s Linfield basketball journey has been one of continual growth. This year he believes he has taken a step forward on the mental side of the game.
“My preparation for games is stronger. I am much more locked in to our game plan and to my responsibilities on the court,” he said.
His mental rehearsals have made his physical game more powerful. But it has also helped others on the team embrace the importance of pre-game study, producing a Linfield team that has continued to improve during the season.
Rosenberg notes, “Jordan makes those around him better. As a consequence, he’s also made himself a better player. He is one of the guys who has gone through challenging times with the program – and now is enjoying the chance of being part of our best year since I’ve been here.”
Clark would like his Linfield legacy to state, “Someone who came to practice every day and worked hard; who improved every year, and who contributed to the growth of the team and my teammates.”
Though his basketball career ends this year, his journey toward reaching his goal in medicine is just beginning. He plans to take a year off while working at a hospital as a medical scribe. In that role he will assist doctors with their notes, and computer work, to allow them more time with their patients.
He’ll also study for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) which is required for admission to most medical schools.
“The time off is an opportunity to learn more about the profession, but also to prepare and absolutely kill the MCAT,” he said.
Adds Rosenberg, “To me he’s like a son, and I’m so proud of what he’s accomplished here – both on the court and in the classroom.
“He’s personally made me a better person. While we will miss his presence here, I am looking forward to seeing the impact he’ll make in the next phase of his life.”
Dr. Jordan Clark, pediatrician. That has a nice ring to it.