Class of 2022 Star Skyy Clark Is Married to the Sport

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This function was written and shot weeks earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic led to the suspension of basketball seasons.

Gilbert Arenas realized Skyy Clark was particular very early on. The 12-year NBA vet first caught a glimpse of how particular Clark, now a five-star PG within the Class of 2022, was earlier than he stepped foot on a highschool campus. 

“We lived subsequent to one another, so I obtained to see him earlier than he began his basketball profession,” Arenas tells SLAM. “He was only a younger child enjoying round. Me and his dad performed in a rec league collectively and we have been blowing a crew out so dangerous [and] he went in there and hit 4 threes.”

Arenas additionally signed off on Clark utilizing the “Hibachi” nickname, one of many many monikers the three-time All-Star had within the NBA. 

“It was an honor for me {that a} younger child that gifted wished that title,” Arenas says. “I advised him in the event you’re going to be ‘Hibachi,’ you gotta burn these individuals up and he’s doing it. It’s simply an honor that he’d need to carry the title for the remainder of his profession.”

Clark comes from a lineage {of professional} athletes. His father Kenny performed within the NFL as a large receiver with the Minnesota Vikings. Dante Culpepper is his cousin. He does energy and conditioning with Arenas at EPX Facility in Woodland Hills, CA, and soaks up free sport on the courtroom. Solely a sophomore at Heritage Christian (CA) HS, Skyy has been uncovered to the professional way of life since delivery and is aware of the kind of work it takes to make the following stage. 

“The progress of Skyy’s growth’s been unbelievable,” Arenas says. “The dedication {that a} child has at this age is unreal. To see his growth and his ability stage at a peak proper now’s simply unreal. There’s no shock that he’s this gifted at this age.”

Throughout his freshman 12 months, the 6-2, 175-pound PG led the Warriors to a 24-6 document and averaged 20 ppg, 7 rpg, 7 apg and Four spg. He guided the Warriors to an Olympic League title and likewise earned Defensive MVP honors. 

“I truly prefer it higher than scoring 30,” Skyy says about locking up. “I’ve had video games the place I’ve had eight or 9 steals and people are the video games that you recognize you shut somebody down.”

This previous season, Heritage Christian went 26-5 (7-1 in league) and Clark posted numbers of 24.9 ppg, 5.1 rpg and 4.Four apg. He was additionally named league MVP. 

“Skyy is unquestionably one of many elite guards within the nation no matter class,” Heritage Christian head coach Paul Tait says. “He’s a pupil of the sport [and] he’s continuously watching movie and getting higher.”

He’s fielded affords from UCLA, Auburn, Arizona, Arizona State, Kansas, Memphis, Georgetown and Michigan. Clark additionally spent final summer season with Attempt for Greatness in its inaugural season on the EYBL circuit.  

“Having LeBron on the sideline is a unique sort of feeling,” he says. “Simply realizing that he’s obtained your again.”

When he’s not hooping, his hobbies differ from fishing—“Fishing takes numerous persistence,” he says—to dancing and making TikTok movies.

Relating to his sport, he’s a basketball savant. He attracts comparisons to Kyrie Irving for his explosiveness and deal with, however he research all types of gamers—each current and former—and doesn’t put a restrict to what he can do on the hardwood. 

“I watch Lou Williams, John Stockton for the pick-and-roll, a few of James Harden’s stuff,” he says. “I’m attempting to get Kobe’s submit stuff. I simply take numerous gamers—every thing they’re good at—and attempt to add it to my sport.”

With two extra seasons of highschool basketball left and the thought of the prep-to-pros rule being lifted, Skyy Clark’s able to take his sport to the following stage. 

“It may at all times return to sq. one,” he says, referencing his motivation. “That’s why I at all times put in as a lot work as I can and provides it my greatest, as a result of I do know there’s somebody on the market that could possibly be working more durable than me.”

Drew Ruiz is an Affiliate Editor at SLAM. Comply with him on Twitter @DrewRuiz90.

Portraits by Ryan Younger.

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