Oct. 30, 2012
WASHINGTON - When former Georgetown University men's basketball player Jason Clark (C'12) was going through the selection process for college, he remembered watching many of the former Hoyas. This past weekend in Belgium, of all places, Clark had the chance to match up against one of those players.
Clark, playing for Okapi Aalstar in the Belgian First Division, squared off against former Hoya Jonathan Wallace (C'08). Wallace, who had played in Germany the last three years, is playing for Dexia Mons-Hainaut. Wallace, who scored a game-high 21 points, and his team beat Clark, who scored 15 points, 82-78.
"Playing against JWall was pretty cool," Clark said via e-mail on Monday afternoon. "I think we would have made a good backcourt duo in college. When I was making my decision to come to Georgetown, I was watching guys like him, Jessie Sapp, Brandon Bowman and Ashanti Cook.
"To get on the court and compete against him in a professional jersey and atmosphere was really cool."
Clark moved to Belgium in the last couple of months after weighing his options and was excited for the opportunity.
"I'm loving it here," he said. "Obviously, I didn't want to leave the States, but I couldn't wait to get here and see something new. It's a whole different lifestyle, which is cool to experience."
Through four games for Okapi, Clark is tied for second on the team in scoring with 12.8 points per game, while adding 2.3 rebounds and shooting 57.7 percent from the floor.
"It has been a good start," Clark said. "I have been playing well for my team and I landed the starting shooting guard spot, so I can't ask for more."
After growing up and playing college basketball in the United States, Clark said he wasn't nervous about his move overseas.
"I wasn't nervous at all," he said. "I was actually anxious and couldn't wait to leave. I miss my family and friends a lot, but a chance like this doesn't come around too often to travel and see different countries while doing what I love."
The transition has been eased by having other Americans on his team, including former college players like Alex Ruoff (West Virginia), Derek Raivio (Gonzaga) and Noah Hartsock (Brigham Young). Clark said there are actually seven Americans on his team.
"Everyone where I live speaks English and are really friendly," he explained. "Everyone in my city recognizes the team so everywhere you go people come up and talk."
While the area he is in Belgium gets cold in the winter, the chance to experience another part of the world was one of the main reasons Clark took the chance to play there.
"It gets cold here in the winter, something I'm not looking forward to," he said. "They say it gets below zero. I won't be spending too much time outside. There are a lot of things to see and a lot of places to shop. Brussels, the capital of Belgium, is only 25 minutes away from me and Antwerp, another big city, is 45 minutes away."
And while he was disappointed not to get the upper hand on Wallace in their first meeting, he knows they'll play again and be able to represent Georgetown.
"JWall's team got the best of us this time and he played well, still shooting the net off the rim like he did against North Carolina, but I hope we can repay him," Clark said. "More than anything else, this has been a great opportunity for me. I can't thank Coach (John) Thompson enough for what he did in helping me to get to this point and I will always remember my days at Georgetown and how that helped make the man I am today."