You boys watch what you say about my baby cousin. I have know him since he was in diapers, although you may think he is a jackass on the court he is a really good kid.
Sounds like he understands what he's getting into.
OU gets Clark's verbal commitment
By GUERIN EMIG World Sports Writer
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Putnam City star expected to join the Sooners in fall 2006.
NORMAN -- Kermit Holmes hasn't been this crucial to Oklahoma basketball since he was a double-figure scorer and rebounder for Billy Tubbs in 1990-91.
It was on a Memorial Day weekend trip to New Orleans when Holmes went to work on Keith Clark, the double-double senior-to-be at Putnam City, now starring on Holmes' AAU team.
Clark is expected to star for the Sooners in 2006 now that he has verbally committed to OU.
"I told him after my first practice at OU, I wanted to quit," Holmes said. "From high school to college is the sun and the moon. I don't think there's anything he can do mentally or physically, from lifting weights to playing with the best (AAU) talent in the country, to prepare him for a college practice.
"Whether it's Kelvin Sampson's program or Roy Williams' or anybody's, it's going to be a rude awakening."
It seems ruder under Sampson, the kind of coach who can make a world of difference in a youngster's development if that youngster is willing to embrace tough love.
It's a question that hovers over all three nationally touted OU commitments for '06 -- Clark; Nacogdoches, Texas, forward Damion James; and Herndon,
Va., guard Scottie Reynolds -- but one in particular.
"Coach (Holmes) told me college ball is a totally different step," said Clark, who averaged 14 points and eight rebounds to help Putnam City to the '05 Class 6A semifinals.
"All of my bad habits have got to stop now."
"Like a lot of high school kids, I don't think he grasps at times how to battle through adversity," Holmes said.
"It's just frustration," Clark said. "If I think (teammates) can play a lot better than they are, I let it get to me. I know I have to learn how to criticize them the right way."
Clark isn't immune to another bug common in the systems of high school stars.
"There are times he turns it on and can dominate an entire game," said Matt Haas, whose recruiting service, Hoopmasters, has ranked Clark as high as No. 22 among national prospects. "And times you walk into the gym and say, 'Where's he at?' "
"High school players have a tendency to slack off. You can't afford to do that at the next level, especially at a place like Oklahoma."
Said Holmes, "Everyone knows how hard-nosed coach Sampson is. If you accept it and are willing to learn, it will be an easier transition. If you want to rebel against it, you're going to have a tougher time."
It is a message that appears to be sinking in.
"I already know you've got to be thick-skinned," Clark said. "After (college coaches) find out how much you can take, that's when they'll teach you things. First they see where your head is."
Clark could have a future as bright as anyone who steps foot on any campus come fall '06.
"Keith has the talent to be one of the best combination forwards in the country," said Dave Telep, national recruiting director for Scout.com. "He has good size (6-8), athleticism, and he can legitimately play inside and out, which is a huge bonus.
"Going to an in-state school that's close to home where he can play right away, it's an unbelievable opportunity for him. He has a chance to set himself up for rest of his life."
So where is Clark's head 15 months before his scheduled arrival?
"I've got it in my mind from now on, when I step onto the court, I'm playing," he said.
Holmes said, "I told Keith, 'Some of the habits you have, break them. Why not start now?' "
Guerin Emig 581-8355