Tristan Clark, a former preseason First Team All-Big 12 selection, has medically retired from basketball.
Before his injury—during his sophomore season—Clark was easily Baylor’s best player. He led the nation in field goal percentage, and he was a guaranteed bucket in the lane.
Against Iowa State in early 2019, Clark injured his knee. He missed the remainder of that season.
Clark returned last year, but he was never quite the same. His athleticism never recovered, and Clark missed quite a few games. The team hoped he could return this season.
They’ll be some revisionist history that the 2018-2019 Bears improved because Clark’s absence freed up their spacing. Nonsense. The Bears were the second worst power seven 3-point shooting team before Clark’s injury. They had a run through most of the Big 12 where they were the best. If you charted those games, guys just started making shots. Had Clark stayed healthy, I’m adamant the team would have been even better, especially against Gonzaga. While Freddie Gillespie made an incredible leap, his biggest improvement came the following summer. And Mark Vital could have used another body against the Bulldogs.
I wish Clark the best going forward. He will have the difficulty of confronting losing an activity that he was better than 99.99% of the world in. That’s not easy. But Clark, like all of us, are bigger and more important than the things we do well. Even when they do things as well as Clark did for the Bears.