The 54-year-old coach said Clarke, nicknamed 'Pup', could be top dog once Ponting's time is up.
''I see him growing as a person,'' Buchanan, who will quit his job after the World Cup final against Sri Lanka after eight years at the helm, told The Australian.
Buchanan said it was important for Clarke to get along with the right people.
''He is obviously performing pretty well on the field, but he is associating himself with the right people,'' he said, adding ''Chris White is his manager. No disrespect to people before him, but for Michael's future he needs to associate and be educated by the right people. I see him making those sort of choices.''
Twentysix-year-old Clarke, who made his Test debut against India in Bangalore almost three years ago, has enough time to be ready for the most coveted role in Australian sport.
Especially the way Ponting (32) is going he should play for four years at least. By then Clarke should have played about 70 Test matches and 200 one-day internationals.
Clarke, who had led Australia Under-19 team, is considered captain material and he was named as Mike Hussey's deputy for the one-day series in New Zealand when Ponting and Adam Gilchrist were rested.