Former NBA player and coach John Lucas (father of former Oklahoma State guard John Lucas III) has made a second career as a recovery guru -- which is why he's got a hold of Stevie Clark.
Men's Journal recently wrote about Lucas' role in taking athletes, former athletes and coaches who need to get sober, and helping them through rehab in Houston. Lucas, a former drug and alcohol abuser who's 28 years sober, is "teaching athletes how to live and compete without self-medicating -- one day at a time."
One of those athletes is Clark, the former Douglass High School star who washed out of Oklahoma State without even completing a season in Stillwater.
>> Feb. 2: Clark arrested for second time in span of month
>> Feb. 1: Meet the mother behind Stevie Clark and football standout Deondre Clark
>> Jan. 1: Clark arrested in Edmond on possession of marijuana
>> Nov. 25: Clark suspended indefinitely from OSU team
The Men's Journal piece details how Clark is trying to get back on track under the tutelage of Lucas. From the piece (NOTE: The story does not have a byline):
"Late that afternoon, I catch a whiff – literally – of why 2014 is proving so hard for Lucas. A cloud of smoke hovers above the Drury Inn's postage-stamp-size swimming pool, smelling like very bad pot or cheap pipe tobacco. Stevie Clark's head emerges from behind a retaining wall. An Oklahoma State freshman point guard until a second marijuana arrest, Clark is one of the great new talents: among the best point-guard recruits, his path to the pros seemingly cut in hardwood. The smell is just a Black & Mild cigar, which players are increasingly using to catch a light buzz, or to kill the pot smell. "Coach Luc don't like it," Clark says, grinning, "but it takes the edge off."
Clark is taken through a workout - what Lucas calls a "lab" - where the former Cowboy goes through, sprints, skill drills and plays one-on-one against ex-pro player Mike James.
At the end of one such one-on-one game where Clark isn't responsive to Lucas's instruction, Lucas gives his assessment of not just Clark but a myriad of athletes that have passed through his doors.
"Something happens on the fourth drill, one-on-one, 10 seconds from half-court to the rim. Clark keeps pulling up short for jumpers, eight, nine lazy seconds in. The more adamantly Lucas yells – "This drill's not about your three-ball; it's about penetration" – the farther off shots land. Clark airs out two more before collapsing on the bleachers. He checks his phone, throws a towel over his head, then says, "I'm done."
And he means it, too: He's only a few days from graduation (from Lucas' program) and a sure ticket back to Division I, but Clark's done. He'll be back in Oklahoma City in a week.
Everyone in the gym seems baffled except for Lucas. "His choice," he shrugs.
After lab is over, we pass Clark in the lobby, all cleaned up, pack on his back, dialing a number repeatedly. Lucas gives me a smile that looks a thousand years old, over-enunciating the word: denial. "They always think there's someone on the end of the line. This is the last house on the block. They just don't know what that looks like yet."