Douglass basketball star Stephen Clark signed his name several times Friday afternoon, celebrating the fact that he signed it one very important time on Nov. 21.
On that evening, in the closing hours of college basketball's early national letter of intent signing period, Clark and his mother were scrambling to fax in the signed paperwork that would finalize his decision to go to Oklahoma State.
They got the job done, and kept his Cowboy future a secret for more than a week, making the official announcement on Friday in the Douglass auditorium.
Afterward, he signed photos of himself in a No. 5 OSU jersey for fans and family, celebrating the end of a long and winding recruitment process.
“I've been waiting on this day for the longest,” Clark said. “Me and my mom have been stressing through the whole process. We slowed everything down and narrowed it down to figure out where I'm going to school.
“This will make it a lot easier to focus on making myself a better basketball player and buckling down in the classroom to make sure I finish the year with all A's.”
Clark had been close to announcing his decision on previous occasions, but backed off to make official visits to UCLA and Baylor.
Yet the 5-foot-11, 175-pound scoring point guard settled on staying close to home, where he seems to be an ideal fit for OSU coach Travis Ford's fast-paced system.
Point guard has been hit-and-miss for Ford. Keiton Page was reliable, but others like Cezar Guerrero, Ray Penn, Fred Gulley and Reger Dowell haven't lasted.
Clark is the total package. He averaged 25 points and 11 assists as a junior.
“He gets a lot of publicity for how he can score the basketball, but he is also a great passer and a great ballhandler,” Ford said. “He's a winner. His team has won three state championships, and are looking forward to trying to win a fourth.”
Clark has been heavily recruited since his freshman year with offers from top programs nationwide.
In August, he enrolled at Quest Prep in Las Vegas, a school that he felt would put him up against top national competition to prepare him for college.
However, the first-year school was slow to develop its program, and Clark moved home after just a few weeks.
He took three official visits in October as the family went back and forth on the best destination for his college career. Ultimately, Ford's loyalty through the recruiting process won out.
“It came down right to the end,” Clark said. “We talked to coach (Ford) about certain situations. He said everything was gonna be all right, and he had my back, so I've got his back.
“Coach Ford has been there through it all, and he can make me a better basketball player.”