If Brandon Clarke wasn’t a household name before, he certainly is now after Saturday’s 36-point, five-block effort against Baylor.
“So proud. I cry sometimes. I’m so happy,” said Brandon Clarke’s mom Whitney Triplett.
There’s no doubt there were some tears shed in the stands on Saturday.
“I mean it’s truly been a dream of Brandon’s to play on this platform, to play at such a high level, to be surrounded by such amazing coaches and such amazing teammates. It’s been pretty fantastic,” Triplett said.
But Clarke wasn’t always this dominate. He first attended San Jose State, which is a program not known for their basketball prowess.
Clarke's step-dad Bryan, who grew up in Pullman, knew all along where Brandon should be. It all came to fruition when Brandon decided to transfer.
“Brandon put his chips on the table and requested a transfer. A few days later we heard that Gonzaga was interested and I just about lost it because that’s where I wanted Brandon to go right out of high school," he said.
"I knew that the way he plays the game is exactly how Gonzaga plays the game, they would love him, Brandon would love being there. So we went on the recruiting trip and I was sold before we even got on the plane but thankfully Brandon saw what I already knew," he continued.
Triplett also already knew that their son was special. This year, it’s at a whole new level.
“He’s just such a fun player to watch. If he wasn’t my son, I’d be the hugest fan. I really would. He’s just such a great, gifted, humble basketball player,” Bryan said.
“I said to Brandon, ‘Whenever you fly I smile.’ I just know something amazing is going to happen, even though I get a little nervous sometimes with his fearlessness with jumping,” Triplett said while laughing.
“It’s like every game there is some spectacular moment where it’s like, ‘He did not just do that. Wow,’" Bryan said.
That wow factor has NBA scouts buzzing.
“Shocking a little bit compared to where we were a couple years ago but watching him play I can see why,” said Bryan of Clarke potentially being a lottery player. “The kid is amazing. He’s absolutely an incredible all-around basketball player.”
But before the NBA, Clarke has some business he wants to attend to.
“Teary eyes,” Bryan said when thinking about Clarke winning a national championship alongside of the Zags. “Absolutely incredible. It would be worth everything that he’s ever practiced so hard for.”
“We’ll be celebrating,” Triplett said.