GREAT AVERAGE: This year Clarke averaged 14.4 points per Golden Bears game, and he led the team with 7.1 rebounds per contest. (Photo by Ryan Whitefield)
It was July 1, 2015—Canada Day—and University of Alberta engineering student Brody Clarke stood shoulder-to-shoulder with his teammates on a gleaming basketball court in Heraklion, Greece, singing the Canadian national anthem at the U19 FIBA World Championship. “It was very emotional,” Clarke said.
“Everywhere we went we were representing more than ourselves—it was about something much bigger.”
Team Canada went on to win the Canada Day match against the Korean team by more than 20 points, and finished the tournament fifth overall.
Clarke was the only player from the Canadian university league selected for the U19 championship team that year. He had just finished his first year in engineering at the University of Alberta and, ironically, hadn’t yet played a game for his varsity team—the Golden Bears. Instead he’d spent the season in recovery and rehab from double knee surgery the year before.
Now in his third year in civil engineering, Clarke said that scholarships helped make his participation in the FIBA championship possible. With gifts from donors helping to cover the cost of attending university, Clarke didn’t have to take a job the summer after first year, so was able to represent Canada in the championship in Greece.
Scholarships were also a deciding factor that lured the six-foot, seven-inch forward from Toronto to the U of A. From a family of NCAA players, Clarke was drawn to Edmonton by the strength of both the athletics and academic programs. Fit and now a seasoned international player, Clarke moved into a starring role on the Bears lineup.
“Brody is the perfect example of a Golden Bear,” said Barnaby Craddock, head coach of the men’s basketball team. “He excels on and off the court because he is constantly working to become the best version of himself. It’s inspiring to watch, and the financial scholarship support that U of A has in place is a crucial factor in recruitment of high achievers like Brody."
In the 2015-16 season, Clarke was named Canada West Rookie of the Year and this year he is a first team Canada West All-Star who mentors his junior teammates. “When I started out, the older guys supported me,” he explained. He’s also an Academic All-Canadian, meaning he maintains an average of at least 80 per cent during the academic year.