Utah Jazz sign Vegas summer league MVP guard Ian Clark
Julie Jacobson, AP
LAS VEGAS — The Utah Jazz participated in the Orlando Pro Summer League, but they certainly paid attention to the similar action that took place in Las Vegas the past week and a half.
They also watched some Belmont University basketball.
Combo guard Ian Clark, who tore it up for the Golden State Warriors' summer squad in Sin City, has been signed to a two-year deal by the Jazz, it's been confirmed to the Deseret News.
Terms of Clark's deal, first reported by USA Today, haven't been announced. But the guard's contract is set up similarly to recent Jazz signee John Lucas III, with the first year being guaranteed and a team option for 2014-15.
Clark, who chose Utah over several other NBA offers, expects to get a chance to play. He is known for his prolific scoring but is also heralded for being a good defender.
"I was so happy to end up with Utah when I got the news," Clark told USA Today. "I'm just a little bit overwhelmed."
The 6-3 Clark went undrafted out of Belmont, a small school in Nashville, Tenn., but he caught the attention of many in the NBA by his breakout play this summer, topped by a 33-point performance in the Warriors' 91-77 win over Phoenix in the Vegas title game Monday. Clark, who also played for Miami's summer squad in Orlando, averaged 12.4 points with the Warriors while earning MVP honors.
NBA teams certainly knew about him before the draft, though.
At Belmont, Clark scored 18.4 points and connected on 45.9 percent of his 3-pointers — third-best in the NCAA — his senior season. This past spring, Clark was named the Ohio Valley Conference co-player of the year with Murray State's Isaiah Canaan along with earning the league's defensive player of the year honor.
In March, Clark scored 21 points in an opening-round loss to Arizona at an NCAA Tournament game played at EnergySolutions Arena.
"I didn't expect to get drafted," Clark said. "I wanted to come into Summer League, and it was my shot to show what I could do. It's good to be here. Hard work pays off. You never want to settle."
Clark scored in double digits in nine of 12 games with summer league teams in Orlando and Las Vegas. He also hit 28 of 61 3-pointers.
Incidentally, Clark shot 5-for-9 from the field and scored 15 points for the Heat in Jazz rookie point guard Trey Burke's rough 1-for-12 debut two weeks ago.
"I'm going to continue to work," Clark said. "The knock on me was playing the point guard position. It's something I've worked on over the summer a lot. I'm not going to be a pure point, but being able to handle the ball and make reads and come off ball screens and make plays is something I'm working on.
"It's been a long process, but you have to keep working."
Clark's signing brings the Jazz roster to the league minimum of 13 players with guaranteed contracts. It's unknown what his addition means to the future of combo guard Jerel McNeal, who finished the 2012-13 season with the Jazz and has a nonguaranteed deal with Utah.
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