Gonzaga’s Brandon Clarke meets with Suns at NBA Draft Combine

Gonzaga big Brandon Clarke told The Athletic’s Gina Mizell he interviewed with the Phoenix Suns on Thursday at the NBA Draft Combine.

As a 22-year-old junior for the Bulldogs, Clarke averaged 16.9 points, 8.6 rebounds and 3.2 blocks per game.

Clarke, who went to high school in Phoenix at Desert Vista, was First Team All-WAC and helped lead Gonzaga to the Elite Eight of the 2019 NCAA Tournament. In that March run, Clarke had a Gonzaga-record 36 points against Baylor in the second round.

The Suns pick 6th in the 2019 NBA Draft and Clarke is ranked by ESPN as the No. 12 prospect.

Known for his athleticism, Clarke thrived in the athletic testing portion of the combine. His 40.5-inch max vertical, 34-inch standing vertical, 10.61-second lane agility score and 3.54-second shuttle run were the best scores among power forwards and centers who participated in the testing.

While Clarke didn’t showcase a functioning 3-point jump shot at the college level, the belief is that his defensive versatility and elite finishing around the rim is enough to succeed as an NBA big man. Clarke will need his athleticism to overcome being undersized. He measured in at 6-foot-8 and a wingspan of just over 6-foot-8 won’t help make up for his lack of height. He weighed in at 207 pounds.

In the big department, the roster is awfully shallow for the Suns beyond last year’s No. 1 pick Deandre Ayton. Center Richaun Holmes and power forward Dragan Bender are unrestricted free agents. Small forward T.J. Warren has spent time playing power forward, as has restricted free agent Kelly Oubre Jr.