COLORADO SPRINGS — It didn't take much by UCCS head coach Jeff Culver to convince Daraun Clarke to commit to the Mountain Lions
"He made it feel like home like a really big family here," explained the red-shirt sophomore guard. "Great campus, great views and I was like this is the school for me."
Fast forward two years, the 6'5" guard from San Antonio, Texas was ready to have a breakout second season.
"He put in the work," explained Culver. "He had a great off-season and spent a lot of time in the gym. You could sense he had found another gear for his second year."
And whatever that gear was, it helped the Karen Wagner product average almost 19 points per game through 5 games.
"Everyone had confidence in me," stated Clark.
But on Nov 30th, Dauran's season took a drastic turn in a rivalry game against the Colorado School of Mines.
Clark had already scored 30 points in the game against the Orediggers.
"Coach called a play for me and I cut back door," recalled Clark. "I catch it and think I am going to shoot it and the knee just gives out on me. I knew it was hurt as soon as it happened."
A torn ACL was the diagnosis.
But get this - it was just the start of bad luck for Clark.
"He was making great strides and the doctor had me him ahead of schedule," revealed Culver. "And then he re-tore it. That is tough, you have to be resilient."
And resilient Daraun was - he is now back on the court - attacking rehab just like his sophomore summer.
Because in the year of COVID-19, all you can really do is look at the glass half full.
"I was like this probably could be the best thing that happened because everything was shut down," said Clark. "So really, I could only really focus on was the rehab. To be better and get back to where I was."