Coming out of high school, Skyy Clark was rated a four-star recruit and the sixth best point guard in the state of Florida. Clark attended Montverde Academy in Montverde, Florida, a perennial powerhouse in the high school ranks. The 6-foot-3 guard made a name for himself there and earned offers from esteemed programs such as Kentucky, Kansas, Memphis, Indiana, North Carolina, among others.
Heading into his college decision, Clark committed to the University of Kentucky in October 2020, but decided to reopen his recruitment after some thought and consideration. After he announced his decision, he sat down with KSR, Kentucky Sports Radio, and explained why he had come to that decision. In an article published by On3’s Jack Pilgrim, Clark describes his decision with these words:
“I tore my ACL, which people know. What I didn’t put out is I actually broke my hand earlier in February, so I haven’t really felt like my pre-injury self. The skyy that everybody knows, I haven’t really felt like that physically and mentally. To be at a place like Kentucky, with everything — you’ve got to be on your A-game every day…
The mental side of everything with the injury has been really tough, especially with something like an ACL. Just having to trust your knee again, because you basically have a whole new knee.”
The amount of pressure from the watching world and the competitive drive within himself has to be insurmountable for an athlete of his age. Being heralded as one of the best recruits in the nation in the Class of 2022, going down with two severe injuries, and then not being able to get back to where he once was, is a weight that only so many people know the depths of .
But, he continued his dream of playing Division I collegiate basketball by signing with the Illinois Fighting Illini in April 2022. The excitement ahead of him was so intense that even his younger brother, ZZ Clark, a Class of 2024 three-star prospect, committed to the Fighting Illini days after Skyy did.
Matt McGavic, of Sports Illustrated’s Louisville Report, acknowledged that before he chose the Fighting Illini, Clark had included Louisville in his top six schools that also included USC, Maryland, Tennessee, and Washington. This is where Louisville and Skyy Clark intersect.
With his recent announcement to step away from basketball and subsequently the Illinois program via Twitter, it reopens the possibility for him to eventually come to Louisville.
— skyy clark (@skyyclark) January 6, 2023
As of now, it appears he won’t be joining a new team in the foreseeable future, but once he is ready to rejoin a program, Louisville certainly has a spot for him. Leaving a mid-season program is not something that typically happens, but if that is what is best for himself and his family, then that is what he needed to do.
This decision seemed only to be a matter of when and not because in October 2022, his younger brother, ZZ Clark, decommitted from Illinois and decided to reopen his recruitment. So it seemed like there was writing on the wall for the Clark family to remove themselves from Champaign, Illinois.
When asked about Skyy’s decision, Illinois Head Coach Brad Underwood was quoted saying:
“This is bigger than basketball. We understand that and stand with him every step of the way.”
Whatever he and his family are going through is their business and their business alone. But the speculation has already begun on where he could end up next and an interesting part in all of this is that Louisville Head Coach Kenny Payne was reported to be on the road recruiting, recently. That could mean a lot of things, but the timing of Skyy Clark announcing this decision, which also coincided with Texas firing their Head Coach in Chris Beard due to legal reasons, it does lead one to wonder.
From an outsider’s perspective, it seems like the type of person Skyy Clark is, he would greatly benefit from a personality like Kenny Payne. Both seem to be mild tempered and understand that basketball is a gift rather than a privilege.
There is no speculated timeline on Skyy Clark’s return to basketball, but once, and if, he decides to reopen his recruitment and play the game he has grown up playing, he could find a home in Louisville fairly easily.