Basketball team

Bangor sophomore offered UMaine men’s basketball team scholarship

Landon Clark, who just finished his second year at Bangor High School, is already thinking about his college basketball future at least two years from now.

One option is just a few exits north on Interstate 95, as the 6-foot-7 forward announced on social media Thursday that he had received a scholarship offer from the University of Maine.

“Being a hometown guy with UMaine about 10 minutes from my house, watching games and seeing guys who went to high school in Maine like [former UMaine standout] Andrew Fleming, you want to be like them, so having this opportunity is something special,” Clark said.

Clark won’t be able to sign a national letter of intent to accept a scholarship offer until fall 2023 at the earliest, but he appreciates early interest from new Black Bears basketball coach Chris Markwood and his staff. welcomed him and his future.

“Especially with UMaine, it’s a dream for every kid in Maine to have UMaine as an opportunity,” Clark said. “It’s something that I really cherish.”

Clark is coming off a 2021-22 season at Bangor High where he was named to the Bangor Daily News All-Maine First Team after averaging 21.8 points and 9.0 rebounds per game and placing second of Class AA North in both categories behind Mr. Basketball, UMaine-bound forward John Shea of ​​Edward Little High School in Auburn.

Clark shot better than 40 percent from beyond the 3-point arc last winter and added 1.9 steals and 1.7 assists per game.

Clark is currently playing his third season of AAU basketball with Maine United, a team that includes Cooper Flagg, the 6-foot-7 Newport star who as a rookie led Nokomis Regional High School to the state championship in Class A 2022 and was ranked by ESPN as the third best player nationally in the Class of 2025.

“I think the most important part of Cooper is that he’s a great boy. You cheer him on so much more for all the respect and all the attention he gets because of what a quality teammate and teammate he is. ‘a friend,’ Clark said.

“And just to be able to compete with him in training, he doesn’t back down from anyone. We’re playing against the best players in the country and he’s not backing down, and in training he’s going as strong as anyone I’ve ever seen, so just being able to compete with him and keep him makes you better.

Maine United competes in the prestigious Nike Elite Youth Basketball League and has already qualified for that organization’s season-ending Peach Jam National Tournament July 17-24 in Augusta, Georgia based on the record 7-1 the team posted in its first two qualifiers in Orlando, Fla., and Indianapolis, Indiana, earlier this spring.

“It’s made everyone better playing against the best competition in the country, but I think one of the most important things is competing every day in training with these guys because they train the best. bunch of guys from across the state,” Clark said. “When we compete in training, it prepares us well for when we face the best competition in the whole country.”

Clark plays on the wing at the AAU level, somewhat different from competitive high school where he mixed perimeter play with time closer to the basket.

“[Wing] is really where I would play in college as well,” he said. “But in high school, my team needed me down so that’s where I played. If Maine United need me there, I’ll play there, and if they need me on the wing, I will play on the wing.

The Maine United team, coached by former University of Maine goaltender Andy Bedard, has attracted considerable attention from major college coaches at tournaments they have already entered this spring due to the presence of Flagg, as the 6-foot-8 forward has attracted scholarship offers from Duke and UCLA.

That could mean extra recruiting attention for other team members like Clark.

“I think for everybody, playing who I think is the No. 1 player in the country obviously gets everybody out there,” Clark said. “You don’t play for that attention, you just play to win, but he gets all the attention. That’s really cool.”

Flagg and his twin brother, 6-foot-7 forward Ace Flagg, are scheduled to transfer from Nokomis to the National Prep Academy in Montverde, Fla. in August for the start of their sophomore year of high school.

Maine United’s presence in the Nike league for the first time this year has also heightened the competitive level of the opposition. The only team to defeat Team Maine in EYBL competition to date was led by the twin sons of former Duke University and NBA standout Carlos Boozer, with 6-foot-8 forward inch Cameron Boozer ranked as the No. 1 player in the class. of 2025 by ESPN and his twin brother Cayden, a 6-foot-3 guard, ranked 24th.

“Everyone you play against is just fast and so bouncy and so big so it’s different in how you create your own shot, how you get shot and in defense you have to be faster,” Clark said.

“We know we will never be favored by 20 in any game we play, so we have to work harder to improve every day in order to play against the best of the best.”