September 27, 2022

Five-star Montverde (Fla.) Academy point guard Sky Clark became one of the hottest recruits in the class in early 2022 when he stepped down from his longtime commitment in Kentucky. About a month later, Big Ten has a new home.

Clarke, a 26th prospect in the 2022 class according to 247Sports, pledged in Illinois on Thursday night. Fighting Illini has been chosen by Tennessee Native Louisville, Maryland, USC, Tennessee and Washington, among others.

“Why not Illinois?” Clarke said after the promise, every 247 sports’ Travis Branham. “They are a proven winning program. Brad [Underwood] Lets his guards play, they have a proud tradition, [assistant coach] Tim Anderson is like an uncle to me and one of the best of their business power-and-conditioning coach Adam Fletcher. Illinois is just more understandable to me and what I’m trying to do.

“They all like each other and they work well together. They are good at player development, they are really cool off the court and I think they will bring out the best in me every day.”

Clarke came straight out of high school and had the opportunity to play professionally, but chose to take his talent to the college ranks. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound point guard blamed the decision on his family background and the importance of taking advantage of his basketball talent to get a college education.

“Both my mother and father are educated parents, they promote the importance of degrees and education,” Clark said. “They are my example, they are my role model. I want to be a parent like them, who sacrifice every day for their children.

Clark is the highest-ranked recruit in Illinois in two decades. Underwood’s 2022 recruiting class is now ranked in the top 10 nationally.

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