Guard Donte Clark to test NBA waters, preserve eligibility with plans to stay at UMass or transfer

  • Donte Clark, who led UMass in scoring this season, told CBS Sports that he plans to test the NBA Draft process without hiring an agent. Clark said he wants to preserve his fifth year of eligibility if he wants to return to UMass or transfer. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Donte Clark, who led UMass in scoring this season, told CBS Sports that he plans to test the NBA Draft process without hiring an agent. Clark said he wants to preserve his fifth year of eligibility if he wants to return to UMass or transfer. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Donte Clark, who led UMass in scoring this season, told CBS Sports that he plans to test the NBA Draft process without hiring an agent. Clark said he wants to preserve his fifth year of eligibility if he wants to return to UMass or transfer. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

@MattVautourDHG
Published: 4/6/2017 7:59:09 PM

UMass junior guard Donte Clark said he has declared for the NBA Draft. He will not sign with an agent preserving his fifth year of eligibility. He said he has not ruled out returning to UMass for his senior year.

Clark said Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports misinterpreted his statement when he reported that Clark had decided to leave.

“I was trying to put it out there that I was declaring for the draft with the option of having a fifth year,” Clark said. “I wasn’t saying I was leaving UMass.”

Clark explained he wants to make his draft decision first. By that time, he’ll better know new coach Matt McCall and his yet to be determined coaching staff. Clark said he’d decide then whether he planned to transfer.

Clark, who will have his undergraduate degree after this semester, can transfer without sitting out under the NCAA’s fifth-year transfer rule.

Zach Lewis and Zach Coleman have already announced they’ll be graduate transfers since UMass fired Derek Kellogg following last month’s Atlantic 10 tournament. Seth Berger hasn’t announced that he’s leaving, but he told athletic director Ryan Bamford that he planned to explore other possibilities. He would also be eligible immediately as a graduate transfer.

Clark sat out his freshman season as an academic non-qualifier. Once he became eligible he was an offensive presence throughout his three seasons.

Clark led UMass in scoring this season at 12.6 points per game, but his minutes and offense tapered off at the end of the season.

McCall, who has been on the job for a week, has reportedly reached out to transfers and high school players to fill the roster.

Depending on what Berger or Clark do, UMass has anywhere from either nine or 11 players on the roster.

Sophomores Rashaan Holloway and Malik Hines, and freshmen Luwane Pipkins and Unique McLean have already sat out one season, making them less likely to depart. Chris Baldwin, DeJon Jarreau, Ty Flowers and Brison Gresham haven’t declared their intention to stay or leave.

KELSEY SUIT UNLIKELY — According to the memorandum of understanding obtained by the Daily Hampshire Gazette, Pat Kelsey’s tenure at UMass wasn’t set to begin until April 1.

Kelsey, who famously accepted the Minuteman coaching job, pulled out on March 23, making it unlikely UMass will pursue legal action against him.

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage




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