Clemson forward and defensive specialist David Skara won’t be back for his redshirt senior season. Although he was in line to complete for a starting position, Skara has decided to forfeit his final year of NCAA eligibility to pursue professional basketball.
Skara only averaged 3.3 ppg and 2.8 rpg this season, but was a excellent defensive player. Originally from Zadar, Croatia a beautiful coastal city (seriously, look at this), he will likely head to Europe to start his career. Arenas in the 14-team Croatian league vary in size from 600 to 10,000 seats with the largest being in Skara’s hometown of Zadar. Salaries in European leagues vary greatly from country-to-country and player-to-player. Finding salaries online proves tricky, but some sites point to them hovering around $65,000.
News of Skara’s early departure is unexpected, but European student athletes leaving early to play professionally back home is not unheard of. Wake Forest’s Dino Mitoglou joined them from Greece, was a quality player in Winston-Salem, and then left a year early to play professionally back in Greece. This is bad news, but it shouldn’t be taken as commentary on Clemson’s program in any way.
Impact on Clemson
David Skara joined Clemson two years ago as a transfer from Valparaiso. He sat out 2016-17 per transfer rules and then sat out nine more games due to a strange NCAA eligibility-related suspension. Skara finally played his first game as a Tiger in their big win against Florida. He played a key role off the bench for most of the season. His defense was outstanding and his role expanded greatly when Donte Grantham got injured, even getting several starts.
With Grantham and DeVoe graduating, the SF/PF slots are up for grabs. Aamir Simms will likely earn the starting job at PF. Skara would have been the favorite to earn the other vacated slot. Now we’ll see AJ Oliver (6’4”) compete with incoming freshmen Hunter Tyson (6’7”) and John Newman (6’5”). It’s also possible that Simms shifts down to SF if getting more minutes for Malik William or freshman Trey Jemison makes sense.
Another possibility - and the one I believe to be the most likely - is that we see a graduate-transfer take a chunk of the minutes. We highlighted a couple of possibilities in our post about Scott Spencer’s transfer. With this open slot, Clemson can now take up to three transfers. Brownell needs to land a SF or PF. We’ll likely start hearing who the Tigers add as transfers in a couple of weeks.
Congratulations to David as he starts the next chapter of his life!