(West Hartford, Conn.) — Forward Ryan Baker and wing Dustin Clarke will not be returning to the University of Hartford next season, according to Hawks head coach John Gallagher.
“They are both phenomenal young men and we wish them all the best. They are great kids and there is zero animosity,” said Gallagher.
Baker, a 6’5” junior, was recruited by former head coach Dan Leibovitz. In 69 career games over three seasons in a Hawks uniform, Baker averaged 1.9 points in 7.6 minutes per game.
Despite solid athleticism, Baker was buried on the Hawks depth-chart for the entire season and was on the outside looking in on the Hawks rotation moving forward. According to Gallagher, the native of Cypress, Texas, is graduating early and will be enrolling in a graduate school close to home.
Clarke, a 6’3” freshman, saw action in only 10 games, averaging just 3.4 minutes, and did not score a single point, but was arguably the most athletic player in the program. Despite his lack of playing time, the coaching staff – at least for a time – viewed Clarke as the Harford freshman with the highest ceiling; high praise considering the Hawks seven-man freshman class included All-Rookie selections Mark Nwakamma and Nate Sikma, as well as starting guard Yolonzo Moore,
At 175 pounds (and that listing might be a bit generous), Clarke needed to develop significant strength and was no where near ready to compete at the division I level and seemed like the ideal candidate for a red-shirt — which was the original plan of the coaching staff (he did not play in the first 10 games of the season). However, according to several sources, Clarke did not agree with that plan. (more…)