The Virginia basketball program has picked up its second verbal commitment of the class of 2018. While Cavalier fans have been awaiting a decision from 4-star Jared Butler of Louisiana, head coach Tony Bennett headed further west to California, securing a pledge from Taft Charter (Woodland Hills, CA) point guard Kihei Clark.
Shortly after 247Sports broke the news that Virginia had offered a scholarship to the 5’9”, 155-pound senior, Jack Pollon of PollonPreps.com reported a commitment. Scout/247Sports National Basketball Recruiting Director Evan Daniels subsequently confirmed the pledge through Clark’s high school coach, Derrick Taylor.
Clark joins Australian wing Kody Stattmann in UVA’s class of 2018.
— Kihei Clark (@ClarkKihei) October 3, 2017
Clark, who is rated by Scout and ESPN as a 3-star recruit, helped Taft to a 26-8 record as a sophomore in 2015/2016. As a junior last season, he averaged 18.1 points and 7.5 assists per game (stats per Scout) while leading the Toreadors to a 27-11 mark and an appearance in the Southern California Division 1 regional semifinals. Taft fell to eventual state champion Roosevelt in that round despite holding a 19-point lead at one point. Clark had 17 points in the loss.
On the EYBL circuit this spring and summer, Clark played a key role in helping the Oakland Soldiers to a 2017 Peach Jam title. After averaging just 4.5 points, 2.7 assists and 1.1 turnovers per game in 16 games on the EYBL circuit, Clark came through with 7 points and 2.2 assists per game in five games of Peach Jam pool play. The Soldiers advanced to the final round of Peach Jam, the bracket round, where Clark averaged 16 points, 2.6 assists and 1.3 turnovers in three games. He poured in 18 points in the Peach Jam championship game victory over Team Takeover.
Clark made only 35.1% of his field goals and 23.1% of his 3-pointers during the EYBL “regular season” before turning it up at Peach Jam, where he made 41.7% of his field goals including 42.1% from 3 in pool play and 54.2% of his field goals including 50% of his 3s in bracket play.
Originally committed to UC-Davis, Clark reopened his recruitment this August 22. Georgia Tech and UCLA are among the other schools that were expressing interest before the Taft standout committed to Coach Bennett and company.
Virginia now has three scholarships available to use in the 2017 Class. Presumably, the Cavaliers remain in the running with Butler, who is considering Alabama and Baylor along with Virginia.
Below are highlights from one of Clark’s junior season games, courtesy of Baller Visions.