ORLANDO, Fla. (WCIA) — Less than 12 hours before Skyy Clark officially signed to become an Illini, the program’s highest rated recruit in 20 years was putting in some late night work. Getting shots up at midnight isn’t uncommon for the consensus 5-star prospect, who loves the grind of improving his game.
“Every day I’m working out at least 2-3 times a day so I don’t really do much besides workout,” says Clark.
The bright lights are nothing new for Clark, who helped Montverde Academy win a national championship this season. He was limited though, recovering from a torn ACL last July. Clark battled multiple injuries in his lone season here in Orlando but says the knee is back to 100 percent, he even got a tattoo to help him mentally in the recovery process.
“I got it on my knee just as a reminder that nothing happened, so I keep that in my head every day and that’s what’s been helping me confidence wise,” says Clark.
It’s that mentality that drives the 6-foot-3, 200 pound point guard, who says more anything else, he’s a winner. Illinois raising banners was a big sell in his recruitment.
“Coach Underwood wants to win, I want to win so we clicked right away on that. Illinois is a proven winning program, so it was perfect,” says Clark.
A big part of that winning attitude comes from his family. Skyy’s dad Kenny played for the Minnesota Vikings, one of five guys on his side of the family who suited up in the NFL, including his cousin Daunte Culpepper. Kenny and Skyy are close, spending countless hours together in the gym.
“You know it’s kind of ingrained in his DNA, the work ethic, the drive and all that that comes with it, it’s second nature,” says Kenny Clark.
“He always pushes me to go hard,” says Skyy Clark. “He’s been there with me, I don’t think he’s every missed a workout, missed a practice, missed a game so he’s always been by my side. He’s been through the process, he’s a professional, he knows how it goes.”
Clark is on his way to Chicago for the Jordan Brand Classic All-Star game Friday night, he’s still not sure if he’ll suit up or not coming off the knee injury but regardless he’s one of just two dozen players nationally with the honor. From there he’s heading to Champaign Monday for his official visit to Illinois, it will be his first time on campus.