By LARRY VAUGHT
Talk to anyone about Kentucky signee Terrence Clarke and they will rave about his basketball skills.
However, Jason Smith, Clarke’s coach at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire, does have one worry about Clarke — but it is not about his abilities on the basketball court.
“He lives in the social media age. He puts too much pressure on himself to be perfect,” Clarke’s coach said. “He is a wonderful young man, has time for everybody. People approach him to shake his hand or take a photo and he always does it.
“Now he’s going to Kentucky with the bright lights. You can’t shield or protect him there. He feels like now he has to be perfect and puts that pressure on himself. We have seven other high major player on our team. He does not have to score 29 a night for us to win.”
Smith has tried to teach Clarke not to equate scoring to playing well, the same kind of lesson Kentucky coach John Calipari still teaches when he just happens to mention that Anthony Davis only had the fourth-most shots on UK’s 2012 national team.
“He could be a much better rebounder, better off ball defender, better perimeter lockdown defender. Too many people equate playing well with scoring. That’s what you get with the highlights.”
Smith actually banned all social media platforms from coming to Brewster Academy’s games so his players would focus on improving and not making highlights. He said one game had 19 people along the baseline with hand-held cameras looking for player highlights.
“That’s why I do not release stats. Fans do not see more than scoring and I just don’t want my guys focused on that and I don’t want a guy like Terrence putting pressure on himself to be perfect,” Smith said.