From the time Skyy Clark took an unofficial visit to Lexington back in February, through Kentucky’s scholarship offer in early July, and well into the month of August, the Wildcats have been deemed overwhelming favorites to land the 2022 five-star guard and reclassification candidate.
In recent weeks, though, Kentucky’s momentum has shifted ever-so-slightly in North Carolina’s favor. In fact, Rivals basketball recruiting expert Corey Evans switched his FutureCast from UK (originally submitted on July 5) to UNC just two days ago on Sept. 5.
In an appearance on the Kentucky Daily podcast with Shawn Smith of Go Big Blue Country and Derek Terry of the Cats Pause, Evans said that while he would still predict Kentucky if Clark made a commitment today, he feels the tide is turning in favor of the Tar Heels.
“As of today, I still think Kentucky is the team to beat,” said Evans. “But no one has recruited Skyy Clark harder and more persistent [than UNC]. They have discussed an opening in the backcourt with Caleb Love leaving after a one-and-done season, that could be Skyy Clark’s spot. That’s nothing to slight Kentucky’s chances, the way Joel Justus has recruited Skyy, along with John Calipari. This is not a done deal for Kentucky, and many assumed it was as soon as a week ago. That’s not the case.”
While it’s not a done deal now, Evans confirmed what many thought to be thought to be the case after receiving his scholarship offer from UK: Clark was “very, very close to committing,” even hinting at a potential silent commitment.
“There were some rumblings a while back that he was very, very close to committing. Maybe it was a silent commit, maybe not, but there was talk about him being willing to say yes to John Calipari and Kentucky very, very soon, and that was a month ago,” Evans told Smith and Terry of Kentucky Daily. “A month has now passed, I know Skyy has cut his list to eight, and then back up to ten. He has talked about committing sometime later this month, but as you guys know, whenever there’s a clear-cut favorite, and that commitment is not made immediately, it’s much easier to recruit against one particular school instead of ten or 12 others.”
Amid the back-and-forth with Clark, Kentucky extended a scholarship to top-ten prospect Hunter Sallis on Aug. 21, another five-star guard with strong North Carolina interest.
Despite the two prospects being in different classes, Evans actually believes Clark will ultimately reclassify to the class of 2021 and head the opposite direction of Sallis. If Clark commits to UNC, he sees Sallis signing with Kentucky, and vice versa.
“I would be surprised if he does not. He has openly discussed not going 2021, but that kid does not need high school basketball for two more years. He is pound for pound in the conversation for best point guard in high school basketball. His maturity, talent, size, he could play in a Division I basketball game tomorrow,” Evans said of Clark. “Hunter Sallis has not moved as fast as I thought he would with a Kentucky offer, and I’m sure Kentucky fans feel the same way, but Hunter and his family have been adamant about seeing the process through. I just think in the end run, we’ll see Carolina get one or the other, and Kentucky get one or the other.”
At this point, Evans thinks Kentucky fans would be better off rooting for Clark to stick with the class of 2022, leaving the door open for UK to get both. Should he make the jump – and he feels confident Clark will – he doesn’t see both ending up in Lexington.
“In the best of worlds, if you’re Kentucky, you get Hunter Sallis now and you get Skyy Clark as a ’22. At that point, you’d get a replacement for a Sallis, a Nolan Hickman, a Devin Askew. I just don’t see it playing out as such,” said Evans. “That’s my dilemma. I know for a fact we’ll get a Skyy Clark commitment before a final decision on a reclassification.”
Which guard would you prefer next year?
For Evans’ complete interview with Smith and Terry, subscribe and listen to Kentucky Daily here.