The shock of losing his head coach to another school has shaken Douglass basketball star Stephen Clark to the point that he is considering reclassification to graduate a year early and enter college this fall, his mother told The Oklahoman Friday.
Clark's mother, Dorshell Clark, said her son has checked with the school to make sure he has the proper credits to graduate early, and the family has been working in accordance with NCAA Clearinghouse guidelines since early in his high school career, when it became clear he would be a Division I recruit. (Clark's first scholarship offer came at the end of his freshman year.)
Clark is a strong student, and has been doing advanced work in some of his classes, long before this option presented itself.
Dorshell Clark said Stephen hasn't made an official decision yet, but in addition to making sure his schoolwork is in order, they have contacted some of the more than two dozen college programs recruiting him to see if they would have an opening for him in the class of 2012, instead of 2013.
“We haven't called all of them, but we've called some of them,” she said. “We haven't been told 'No' yet.”
The idea was prompted with news early this week that long-time Douglass coach Terry Long — also a long-time friend of Dorshell Clark and her sons — was leaving to become the new head coach at Mustang.
It has been very important to Clark to graduate from Douglass, where his mother and two older brothers each graduated from, but he doesn't want to play for another coach in his senior year, which has been a driving force in this emotional situation.
“It really breaks my heart. I'm not ready for him to be finished with high school yet,” Dorshell Clark said. “But right now, he sees it as a possible option.”
Stephen Clark, 5-foot-11, 175 pounds, was The Oklahoman's Super 5 Player of the Year after averaging 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.
He has more than 25 scholarship offers, including Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Connecticut, Missouri, Arkansas, Florida State, Marquette, Georgia and Memphis.