It was personal for Keydren “Kee Kee” Clark this summer.
The former St. Peter’s College and Rice guard took his already stellar game to other level. He wanted to earn his first Pro City title with his long time coach Maxwell “Bingo” Cole and his Bingo’s All-Stars teammates for more than 10 years on the streetball circuit.
His 20 points, 12 assists and four rebounds in the championship game last Thursday ensured the Bronx native made good on his intensions.
“Mission accomplished,” Clark said. “It’s about time.”
Bingo’s All-Star held on to beat Big Apple Basketball 113-105 at Baruch College in the team’s first season in New York City’s top summerball tournament. Clark took home MVP honors to cap a stellar campaign. He was the league’s leading scorer at 28.6 points per game and second in assists with 8.1.
The 30-year-old Clark, who lead the nation in scoring twice at St. Peter’s, also dropped in 20 points, including a huge three late to lead Bingo past rival Sean Bell 94-81 in the semifinals. Longtime Bingo teammate and fellow Bronx native Anthony Glover called Clarke the top point guard in the city and said this is the best he’s seen him play.
“He does more than two things,” Glover said. “He passes the ball, he rebounds the ball and everybody knows he can score. He does things off the basketball that makes him good. He’s definitely on another level this year.”
Cole said he is playing at the top right now and not all of it has to do with his prolific three-point shooting and slick passes. He understands how to get his teammates involved around his open scoring chances. Clark, who will play professionally in Turkey next season, is also more comfortable as a leader.
In the past he led by example. Cole joked that is took him five years just to get him to talk. Clark’s time overseas has taught him how important it is to be vocal, especially as a veteran.
“It’s something that grew on me,” he said. “It’s not something I like to do, but not it is just a part of me.”
The game itself has become easy for Clark at this stage of his career, but keeping it that way is not. In the past he would use his time on the streetball circuit as just a way to keep up his cardo up. This year he pushed himself more, not just to ensure a championship, but to make certain younger players don’t pass him by when he heads back across the water.
“He’s really stretching out his pro career,” Cole said. “He understands what it takes”
Clark also knew it would take his best to bring Bingo’s All-Stars at Pro City crown. The satisfaction of doing so was sweet.
“To finally get the money off my back and win it with no other team than Bingo’s All-Stars is amazing,” Clark said. “There is no greater feeling.”