Two midrange jumpers followed, and before you could say "Carmelo Anthony," the Hawks had gone on a 13-1 binge that led to a 59-23 victory yesterday at Kelly Fieldhouse.
"I like to catch, face up and then jab-step or make my move and then take a shot," Clover said. "Almost like a little Melo. That's what I like to call myself during practice: 'Baby Melo.' "
After playing understudy to seniors Stephen Vasturia and Miles Overton last season, Clover added 20 pounds in the weight room in preparation for announcing himself to the city.
"I think it's important because I'm getting to the next level," Clover said. "Last year, I was kind of a role player, but this year I have to go out there and be strong with the ball and be in shape to run up and down with the best."
With the Catholic League as competitive as ever, and Vasturia at Notre Dame and Overton at Wake Forest, the floor belongs to Clover.
His 22-point, six-rebound afternoon against an injury-depleted Friars squad wasn't exactly a coming-out party, but he did author 10 points during the Hawks' key second-quarter spurt.
Perhaps most impressive, for a young guy who tries to emulate the New York Knicks' Anthony, was Clover's ability to score without monopolizing the basketball (a nagging knock on the NBA veteran).
"That's just coaching and me trying to be a smart player," he said. "I don't go out there shooting 20 shots a game. I could if I wanted to, but that's just not my game. I know I have to be the leading scorer, but that's just not my game."
Bonner-Prendie hung around for a bit without senior guard Jack Carden, who was out with an injury, but long scoring droughts and a stingy SJP defense took a toll.
A 7-0 push in the second frame cut the Hawks' lead to 19-11, but Clover and Co. ran away from the Friars to a 32-12 halftime advantage.
Hawks senior small forward Tom Fox finished with 15 points on 5-for-7 from three-point range. Senior Kyle Thompson had eight points, four assists and nine rebounds. Fellow forward Ricky Slusarczyk, a senior, added six points and four boards.
In fact, that triumvirate tallied all 32 first-half points for head coach William "Speedy" Morris.
Junior guard Danny Ings had four points for the Friars. Tyler Higgins, also a junior, chipped in six rebounds. Clover had 16 at intermission. Fox added 12 and Slusarczyk chipped in four.
They will be needed as SJP navigates a tough CL with perennial heavy hitters Ss. Neumann-Goretti and Archbishop Carroll, whose scheduled contest last night was postponed due to the threat of inclement weather; the makeup date is pending.
Clover, who lives in West Philadelphia (near 63rd and Cedar), grew up playing football, lacrosse and ice hockey in addition to basketball. However, basketball fit him the best, and eventually so did the Prep and its white-haired basketball wizard, Morris.
"He's a great coach," Clover said. "He's Speedy, but we love him. In practice, he'll get on you and be on your back because he really wants the best for you. He knows we can be good. He wants us to be good, work hard and play hard."
That coaching includes Clover playing more with his back to the basket instead of on the perimeter, which he does on his Philly Pride AAU team.
No worries for Clover. He said he enjoys the role and has expanded his game. Plus, in the Hawks' offense, he still gets ample opportunity to exploit his versatility, which will be his biggest asset against tougher opponents.
"I like the challenge," Clover said. "I can't wait to play the Neumanns and the Carrolls. I can't wait. This is my year. I want to show people that I'm one of the top players in the city."
On Twitter: @AceCarterDN