You see it all the time at the college level. Head coaches leave and the recruits or players on campus start to explore other options. But you don’t see it too often at the high school level. And you normally don’t see a top prospect considering such a game-changing move this late in the recruiting season.
However, that is exactly what point guard Stevie Clark (Oklahoma City/Douglass) is considering following the departure of Oklahoma City Douglass coach Terry Long.
Clark, who is 5-foot-10 and 160 pounds, is a four-star prospect ranked No. 57 in the ESPN 60 for 2013. But he is contemplating graduating early from high school and enrolling in college in the fall. The news was first reported by NewsOK.com.
The junior was offered by Oklahoma in February, and the Sooners are one of his more than 20 offers at this point.
Clark’s mother, Dorshell Clark, said the family has checked with Oklahoma City Douglass to make sure he has all of the necessary credits to graduate early. Clark has a 4.0 GPA. She has been on top of making sure her son is eligible with NCAA Clearinghouse guidelines for a long time. Clark has been a prospect to watch since his freshman year when he received his first offer. He is the No. 1 in-state prospect in the class.
“Right now it’s a real possibility,” Dorshell Clark said. “It was a shock to me as well, but I will support my son with whatever he chooses to do.”
With his academics in order, the next question becomes athletics. Do any of Clark’s top schools have room to add him to their 2012 class?
The Sooners do not have an open scholarship for Clark and have already signed three guards for their incoming class: Je'lon Hornbeak (Arlington, Texas/Grace Prep), Buddy Hield (Bel Aire, Kan./Sunrise Christian) and Isaiah Cousins (Mount Vernon , N.Y./Mount Vernon).
Some of the other schools on Clark’s list are in the same position. Dorshell Clark has reached out to some of the schools and the answer seems to be consistent. No school has said no at this point, but it might be tough to make the pieces fit.
“I called Coach [Lon] Kruger, and he was out of the country,” Dorshell Clark said. “I should be talking to him soon.”
Long’s departure is a huge blow, but it wasn’t necessarily a huge shock. Long accepted a head coaching job at Mustang, Okla., last week. Oklahoma City Douglass is a Class 4A school, while Mustang is 6A, the largest classification in the state. Long had already tried to leave Oklahoma City Douglass earlier in the spring. He was a finalist for the job at Edmond (Okla.) Santa Fe, one of the premier basketball programs in the state.
Even before Long officially left, it has been a tough situation for Stevie Clark and the Clark family to do deal with because they are such good friends with Long and his family.
“He’s got to do his thing. I understand that, but he means a lot to me,” Clark said two weeks ago at the OKHoops.com Invitational in Oklahoma City. “He has been a lot more than just a coach for me.”
Clark averaged 25 points and 11 assists per game in helping lead Oklahoma City Douglass to its third consecutive state championship.
It wasn’t until February that Clark and the Sooners got on the same page. Miscommunication had each side believing there was not mutual interest. Once that got cleared up, though, Clark and OU have quickly developed a strong bond. He attended several of OU’s final home games and Kruger visited Clark at Oklahoma City Douglass to watch him play. Clark said he likes the direction Kruger is taking the program.
He also has offers from Florida State, Oklahoma State and Connecticut, among numerous others.