Team preview: St. Peter's
Blue Ribbon Illustrated previews the 2004-05 college basketball season, exclusively on Insider.
Keydren Clark's play is almost beyond description, even for his coach.
"Unbelievable," said Bob Leckie, the man who brought the 5-8 Clark to St. Peter's from Rice High School in New York City.
We'll say. Clark (26.7 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 4.3 apg, 1.8 spg) followed up a fabulous freshman campaign by leading the nation in scoring last season. His 775 points were the most in the nation and his two-season total of 1,497 already ranks seventh in St. Peter's history.
Clark is just the third player under 6-feet tall to win a scoring title and is the first sophomore to do it since Canisius' Larry Fogle in 1973-74. Leckie knew he was getting a good player when he landed Clark, but he didn't expect so many points so soon.
"Never," he said. "I saw him play in high school and I thought he'd be a good college point guard because he had pretty good skills, but never did I think he'd be able to score like he does."
Clark tallied his 1,000th point in his 40th game and he is just 246 points shy of the Peacocks' career scoring record. At the rate he's going (25.8 ppg career scoring average), he'll set the record in less than two and a half seasons.
Clark does most of his damage from the outside. He has made 212 (of 573) 3-point shots in his first two seasons and is money from the free-throw line (.851). Leckie's system also brings out the best in him.
"The fact that he plays in a style that allows him to showcase his talent helps," Leckie said. "We're pretty much free-lance with a method to our madness."
It seems to be working. St. Peter's won almost as many games last season (17) than it did in Leckie's first three and posted its best record since going 19-11 in 1994-95.
Although Clark, a first-team All-MAAC and first team All-Met selection, gets most of the attention, the Peacocks are not a one-man team.