It seems like Stephen Clark's basketball stardom has been growing for a long time, but just before he burst onto the scene as a sharp-shooting freshman two years ago, Clark believed his path to athletic success was on the football field.
“The summer before my freshman year, I played on an AAU team and we went to Arkansas,” the Douglass junior recalled. “I won some point guard award and then I got invited to a freshman all-American camp. It just went from there and got crazy.”
That was the turning point for Clark, as he switched his focus from football to basketball, and Douglass coach Terry Long is certainly grateful.
Clark, The Oklahoman's Super 5 Player of the Year, averaged 25 points and 11 assists as a junior, leading the Trojans to their third consecutive Class 4A state title. Clark has been the leading scorer on all three championship teams.
But what would have happened if Clark had stuck with football?
“He probably had a chance to be one of the best defensive backs to ever come out of Oklahoma,” Douglass football coach Willis Alexander said. “He would have been in that category with R.W. McQuarters.
“He was an immediate starter when he came out as a freshman. I always thought he could be a Division I cornerback. It came natural to him, just like basketball comes natural to him.
“But he loved being on the basketball court more, and that's OK, because I'm all for kids being happy in what they're doing.”
Clark simply has been blessed with gifts that not a lot of athletes have. His quickness and explosiveness, his strong mental approach and his confidence.
“He's so athletically gifted, it's just unreal,” Alexander said. “He could probably go 22 or 23 feet in the long jump, easily.
“He's quick and he's strong and he has a good mental approach.”