Clark Jr. shows progress for MSU basketball as he returns from foot injury
As fast as a start the undefeated and No. 1 MSU basketball team has gotten off to this season, it's been a bit of a slow one for MSU sophomore forward Marvin Clark Jr.
After sitting out the first two games of the season while recovering from a foot surgery he had in September, Clark has struggled to get back to shape he was in last season. But his recent play has showed promise.
Clark scored nine points and grabbed three rebounds in Wednesday night's 78-35 rout of Maryland Eastern Shore and his latest performance was a continuation from of his nine point, six rebound outing in MSU's victory over Binghamton on Saturday.
"I just feel like, right now ... just trying to get back to the level I was playing in the Big Ten Tournament and the NCAA Tournament," Clark said.
Clark said he's currently between 80 to 85 percent back to the shape he was in at the tail end of last season, but MSU's busy schedule and lack of practices in the early going of this season have prevented him from completely doing so. But Clark seeking contact in the lane Wednesday night and a hustle play where he dived on the ball during the second half are both signs he's making progress.
"We haven't really had any practices, so when we're in practice I try to get as many reps as possible and get that wind back up," Clark said. "That's the main goal. That's why I'm really just trying to focus on my mental as far as motor. Crashing every time and making some plays."
However, despite Clark not feeling full-go, MSU head coach Tom Izzo said Clark was one of the guys he was impressed with after Wednesday's victory, and is happy to see him coming along.
"I think the most encouraging was Eron Harris, and second — Marvin Clark, I think those two guys were more active," Izzo said. "Marv definitely did some good things ... getting him more minutes is going to be encouraging."
Teammates of Clark are also taking notice of the strides he's made this season.
"Marvin, he's looking a lot better," Harris said. "He's doing actually better than I thought he would coming off that injury ... we're going to need him in the future."
The 10-0 Spartans will take on Florida at 6 p.m Saturday at Breslin Center.