When people think about the Midwest basketball players, they usually envision blue-collar, sweatin’, hard workin’, go to the trenches kind of players. They think Keith Clark, a 6-foot-8, 215 pound forward from Putnam City HS in Oklahoma. The sophomore is one of the top big men in his class and colleges are seeing the potential in the youngster already.
Clark, the No. 34 player on the Rivals50 for the class of 2006, came onto the national scene last summer after a solid run with the Athletes First AAU squad on the Nike circuit. He’ll return to the program for another run this season as well as playing in the Nike All-American camp
The big man is averaging 13.5 points and 9.5 rebounds on the season for Putnam City HS (20-3) and still playing in the Oklahoma state playoffs. After transferring mid season from Midwest City, Clark said the transition has been seamless.
“We were just talking the other day and it seems like we’ve been playing together for a long time,” Clark said.
Clark, a thick-bodied true post player, has the versatility to play three positions but knows where his strength is.
“I can shoot the three but I prefer the post and just being around the basket. I’m 6-foot-8. It’s not like I’m going to play the one or two. I belong inside,” Clark said.
“That’s how the game is won – in the paint. If you don’t get the boards, you aren’t going to score. You gotta have some big men. I’d rather have 20 rebounds than 20 points because 20 points can come any night. 20 rebounds is different.”
And he should know. Clark pulled down 25 rebounds earlier in the year when he was still at Midwest City, setting a new school record.
“I’m just an all-around player that just hustles for everything. Here you have to work for everything you get. It’s not like we have a fab five or anything. Here you have to work as a team and work with what you’ve got. It makes you better because of that.”
With his do-whatever-it-takes attitude, Clark has already been a target for some of the best programs in the Big 12 as well as other schools on the East Coast. He said he’s heard from Florida State, Iowa, Kansas, NC State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Virginia.
“Right now, it’s just a lot of letters saying, ‘Hi, we are looking at you.’ It’s all the same stuff with everyone,” Clark said. “From last year to this year, the attention has really stepped up. This time next year, I think it will be the same hopefully just more schools.”
Stay tuned to RivalsHoops for updates on Clark and the rest of the class of 2006.