Keon Clark was once an NBA lottery pick and played six seasons in the league, but now the troubled big man is headed to prison after being convicted of gun and driving under the influence charges.
His life took a turn for the worse after his career ended. In 2006, he faced 2 1/2 years in prison for gun and marijuana charges, but had the case thrown out because he did not have a lawyer present at sentencing.
Clark’s most recent charges have brought him an eight year prison sentence, the Associated Press noted.
At his sentencing this week, Keon Clark admitted to his mistakes and accepted his sentencing.
“I, uh, did a lot of stuff in my past,” Clark said at his plea hearing in Vermilion County Circuit Court, The News-Gazette reported. “I have to own up to it.”
“The money, the fame, the fact that I was on TV. People think money will make your life better. Money didn’t dissolve my problems. It increased them,” he added, saying he’s been getting counseling while in custody.
Keon Clark said he has now been sober for five months, and has “made changes for the better mentally.”
A 6-foot-11 big man who attended UNLV before going pro, Clark holds career averages of 8.2 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.6 blocks.
His struggles were noted even before he was drafted. In his 1998, Sports Illustrated writer Gerry Callahan wrote that NBA scouts were impressed with Clark’s talent on the court, but worried about his disciplinary issues, including a positive marijuana test in college.
Jackie McMullen also noted that Keon Clark was “talented but maturity-challenged” in her 1998 mock draft.
Keon Clark was sentenced to four years for each count.