There are a lot of high school basketball players to keep track of when it comes to summer recruiting, and as we focus on the buzz surrounding the top few, a lot of others can slip through the cracks. With Derek Willis on board, and several other uber-talented players eyeing Kentucky, 2013 is already looking pretty good. The question I have is: could Stevie Clark make it even better?
The more I read about Clark, the more I like him. You might remember a brief discussion we had about Clark in May, when he was considering reclassifying to the 2012 class. It was assumed that he wouldn’t hear from Cal, and therefore probably wouldn’t reclassify. That’s turned out to be pretty accurate, as he has remained in the 2013 class. Recently, though, Sports Illustrated took a look at the guard out of Oklahoma, and what he can do on and off the court, including a 65-point game in January that was actually a sign of how unselfish he is. In pertinent part:
In addition to his unselfishness, a major reason that Long isn’t concerned about Clark’s positional transition is his work ethic. “He’s first in the weight room, first in the sprints, in the drills,” Long said. “Hardest working kid I’ve ever coached in my life. His drive to succeed is just unbelievable.”
That work ethic extends off the court, as well. Clark has a 3.88 GPA and had finished enough credits that graduating high school and enrolling in college after his junior year wasn’t just a possibility, it was an option that Clark’s family had to take a long, hard look at.
“My mom preaches getting good grades,” he said. “I wouldn’t be able to play basketball, I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t get good grades. It’s pretty much something I pride myself on.” Clark — who has cut his list of schools down to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Missouri, Florida State and UCLA — plans on majoring in business and wants to “do taxes” once the basketball stops bouncing.
On his decision to reclassify:
“I thought I could handle [playing for a different high school coach],” Clark said, “but I couldn’t. So I thought maybe going to college could help me out. I still talk to him, and he was like, ‘Man, you still got a lot of developing to do, you should stay in school and get better.’”
So Clark did, which is probably the best decision for him. He’s not Anthony Davis or Andrew Wiggins. Clark’s future may one day result in a spot on an NBA roster, but he’s certainly not on the fast-track there. Winning four state titles in high school is an incredible achievement. Earning back-to-back State Player of the Year awards is not an easy thing to do. And, frankly, senior year in high school is not something that can ever be replicated.
So we can identify what this kid is not. He’s not Anthony Davis or Andrew Wiggins, which means he’s probably not one of Cal’s traditional “One-and-Done” type freshmen. Should the Harrisons sign, Clark wouldn’t start. Andrew is just too good a point guard. Should Ryan Harrow stay, Clark would be third on the PG lineup, at best. There just isn’t a lot of room in 2013 (or at least, there probably won’t be). The minutes would be few and far between for him. However, there once was a time where players stayed in college several years to develop, and earned starting spots their junior and senior years. That sounds quaint and archaic at this point, but it could be exactly the scenario that a player like Clark needs to flourish. What would be a project in 2013 could yield a high reward in 2014 or later. Is it worth the scholarship offer? Well, that’s up for Cal to decide. He’s pretty good at this sort of thing, so whatever he goes with is probably the right decision.
Stevie Clark is a talented kid with a strong work ethic, good attitude, and solid GPA. He has the bad fortune of being in a class loaded with talented potential Wildcats, but there may be a role that he can fill down the road. Whether he gets an offer or not, I’ll be keeping an eye on his progress. After all, 65-point games have a way of drawing some attention.