A couple weeks ago, I had the privilege of interviewing college basketball star and 2021 NBA Draft hopeful Anthony Tarke. Tarke spent this past season at Coppin State University where as a senior, he averaged 16.1 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game. These stats lead him to being named a First-Team All MEAC selection, along with winning both the conference’s Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year awards. I was able to talk with Anthony about his college and post-college journey, some of his favorite moments, and more.
Q: Can you describe what your draft journey has been like for a lot of us that won’t experience something like this?
A: “It’s been a blessing, coming from a HBCU, the odds are stacked against you and there are a lot of people that don’t think you’ll get this far. It’s been a dream of mine ever since I was four years old and it’s there and it’s finally happening.”
Q: Describe your game and give an NBA comparison for somebody that might not have seen you play.
A: “I’m a really versatile player, I think that I can do anything on the court. I still have a lot of ways to go in terms of me being the best version of myself. In terms of NBA comparisons, i just take pieces from a lot of players’ games. I can show flashes of D’Angelo Russell, Draymond Green, Jrue Holiday, maybe. Even a little bit of Luka Doncic with his playmaking ability. Just players like that on both sides of the ball, being able to score but play good defense at the same time, especially come playoffs.”
Q: You decided to transfer this year and ended up picking Juan Dixon and Coppin State over a few other programs. What lead you there?
A: “Ultimately, it was just confidence. Juan was a player who played a pretty long career in the NBA and he believed that I could be an NBA player. Coming to a guy that averaged 3 points and 4 rebounds my previous year at UTEP, him believing in me and saying those things was huge. I believed it for myself, but a lot of people didn’t especially given the previous season that I had. Again, just having unwavering confidence in myself and God just allowed everything to work out, so I’m blessed.”
Q: You transferred twice in your career, going from NJIT to UTEP and then to Coppin State. Today, in the college game, we’ve seen more and more players go to the transfer portal. Why do you think that is?
A: “It’s definitely a case-by-case situation where everyone has their own personal reasons. In my case, it was looking for a bigger opportunity and trying to grow my name and get closer to my goal of making the NBA. For someone that’s transferred a few times, you have to understand your situation and go from there. Some people enter the portal thinking the grass is going to be greener, but it’s not always like that.”
Q: In your long college career, who’s the best player you’ve played against?
A: “In college, Caleb Swanigan and Carsen Edwards (Purdue) were really good. Myles Powell (Seton Hall) was good too. Jalen Johnson (Duke) was also solid, really athletic. Cam Reddish (Duke) was good too, but I played him in prep school.”
Q: Hardest arena to play at?
A: “West Virginia, no question. That place was crazy. At halftime, they shot their guns, they had Jevon Carter. That place was wild.”
Q: Finally, some of your favorite college moments in your career.
A: “I’ll do one from each school. ”
NJIT: Game-winning 3 on the road vs. Lipscomb + Garrison Mathews (now in NBA)
UTEP: Great games in Diamond Head Classic, “coming-out party”
Coppin State: Just playing with my brother and having the best game of my career vs. UNCG
Thanks to Anthony Tarke for this opportunity.
Photo: Reagan Lunn/Duke Athletics