The description of Renaissance High’s Clark Bishop as “a player to watch” goes beyond his ability to excite and ignite on the basketball court. The way he takes responsibility for his actions also merits watching by his teammates.
“Clark is one of those kids who coaches want to coach,’’ Phoenix Coach Cameron Nichols said of his 6-0 shooting guard, the Detroit Public School League Proud Strong Learner of the Week.
“He works hard at everything he does, on the court and in the classroom, and leads by example. He really exemplifies the Proud Strong Learner concept as evidenced by the fact he has over a 3.0 grade point average and is one of our best players.”
Bishop, after scoring a team-leading 14 points a game as a sophomore, has helped the Phoenix stay unbeaten in the PSL West Division this season by averaging 17 points a game on 48 per cent shooting from the field.
“If we needed him to score 30 a game, he’d find a way to do it, but we don’t need him to do that because we have so many weapons,’’ Nichols said. “Our whole focus has been defense. That’s where Clark has really stepped up and played very well. He’s averaging four steals a game. In the games where he’s closed out and made the right defensive plays, those are the games that we’ve done well. He makes other people play better by setting the example.”
Though pleased to be in first-place, Bishop is still waiting for the Phoenix to hit their stride.
“We’ve got to get off to a better start in games,” he said. “We haven’t been coming out as strong as we can be. One thing I’ve learned about playing in the PSL, you can’t just walk in the gym and expect to win. You’ve got to play your best every time on the court. If you underestimate a team, you’re going to be in a dogfight.”
Bishop likes Renaissance’s team chemistry. “Our attitude is a lot better this year,” he said. “We have six seniors who are working harder than ever, and I’m one of six juniors, so we have a mature team. I don’t have to score the ball all the time. Defense, that’s my main thing. Our goal is to stop teams from scoring.”
From a pleasure point of view, Bishop finds nothing in basketball more enjoyable than going sky high and slamming the ball through the rim.
“I like going to the hole and dunking,” he said. “It gets the crowd into it. I like watching dunking, too. When I was little, I used to see people dunk and I said I want to be able to do that. The first time I did was when I came here for summer workouts between the eighth and ninth grades. I was only about 5-9 then.”
Bishop, as well as his game, continues to grow. He’s already being courted by college recruiters and looks forward to earning his degree, possibly in engineering or sports management.
“Of course, I’d like to play professionally, but you have to have something to fall back on,’’ he said. “A college degree will allow me to be a success in life.”
Bishop’s coach expects nothing less. “Clark not only has the skill set to make it to the next level, but he has the work ethic,” Nichols said. “He has a whole year before he gets to college but the sky’s the limit for him because he’s going to continue to get better. I see big things in his future.”
The Detroit Public School League Proud Strong Learner of the Week Award is representative of the league’s top boys’ and girls’ athletic performers and is sponsored by local Detroit area McDonald’s owner-operators