It took numerous season’s, but the colossal black cloud of the IARP/NCAA has finally gone away from the University of Louisville basketball program and blue skies are seemingly ahead. Just days after landing 5 star big man Dennis Evans, Kenny Payne has struck big again. This time, landing his first commit through the transfer portal for the upcoming season in point guard Skyy Clark. The transfer from the University of lllinois is a former 4 star recruit that ranked 33rd (#6 PG) in the class of 2022 according to 247Sports. Based on a list On3 Sports released on March 14th of the Top 10 players available in the portal, Clark came in ranked as the 8th best. It seems obvious now that Kenny Payne and his staff were extremely restricted when trying to assemble top talent going into their first season because of the possible sanctions that were looming over the basketball program. Now that the worst days of this program have passed, This staff has full capability to build the vision they set forth when taking this job and that is exactly what is being put on display, less than two weeks after finishing the season.
The Montverde guard ranked as high as 10th in the ‘22 class before sustaining a partially torn ACL and a torn meniscus in July of 2021. Incredibly though, Clark made it back to the court in just 6 months. He would later commit to Illinois and play 13 games in the 2022-23 season, starting 12 of them before stepping away from the team in January due to personal reasons. In those games, he averaged 24 minutes, scoring 7 points per game alongside 3.7 rebounds and 2.2 assists. Skyy brings much of what Kenny Payne was missing out of the guard position in his first season on the sideline for the Cardinals. He’s a creative offensive player who loves to use his speed as an advantage and push the ball down the court quickly in transition. He sees the floor well and can create high quality shots for those around him. A left shoulder injury was something he dealt with during the season but still attacked the rim with aggression and had confidence in his jumpshot. If El Ellis decides to use his remaining year of eligibility, this helps him substantially by adding another primary ball handler to the floor and releasing some of the defensive pressure that was constantly thrown his way. Skyy is a true lead guard that would be able to set El up perfectly for off-ball scoring opportunities and allow him to rest a few minutes on the bench, something he rarely got to do in the 2022-23 season.
Skyy Clark Illinois Fighting Illini 2022 – 2023 Freshman Highlights
The 6’3, guard is scrappy on the defensive end as well and isn’t afraid to crash the glass to start fast break opportunities, where his quickness can be put on full display. He has a high ceiling as a defender and should continue to improve naturally as he adds more muscle. 2 years post ACL tear is typically when athletes gain their full explosiveness back so it will be intriguing to see the next step Skyy takes considering a large portion of his game is built through his athleticism.
Skyy Clark joins the incoming class of Dennis Evans (#18 in 247sports), Kaleb Glenn (#71 in 247sports), Curtis Williams (#104 in 247sports), and JUCO guard Koron Davis as part of the major roster shakeup that is evident for the 2023-24 season. With 5 star Trentyn Flowers (#21 in 2024 class) making his college decision March 17th and numerous predictions sending him to Louisville, the Cardinals are building up a massive amount of momentum on both the recruiting trail and in the transfer portal, something all fans were hoping to see.
today I am excited to announce my commitment to the University of Louisville. I am ready to play for Coach Kenny Payne and the city of Louisville. The time is now to chase my dream with Coach KP and staff but even bigger than that, the dream for Louisville Basketball! pic.twitter.com/DuK79Ebazl
— skyy clark (@skyyclark) March 16, 2023