Originally a native of California, class of 2022 prospect Skyy Clark moved to Tennessee after his sophomore year to attend Brentwood Academy (TN). While in Nashville, Clark used his platform to make an impact that transcended the community, organizing a cleanup and prayer vigil with over 700 attendees during the aftermath of many social injustices in the U.S. Sporting over one-quarter of a million followers on Instagram, the five-star prospect joined powerhouse Montverde Academy (FL) for his senior year with the aspiration of helping the Eagles make their annual trip to GEICO Nationals. Making his season debut on January 6 in the NIBC, Clark returned to the hardwood less than six months after sustaining a serious knee injury, a testament to his resilience and drive during the recovery process. Prior to that, the 6’3” guard dedicated 8-10 hours a day to his rehabilitation, spending time in hyperbaric chambers and returning to the weight room to strengthen his body.
At the MAIT this year, Clark showcased his clutch shooting ability, nailing the game-winning buzzer-beating three in the championship game. He possesses an elite basketball IQ as a floor general, capable of scoring at all three levels and finding his teammates. As Kentucky’s first commit in the 2022 class, the future Wildcat will team up with blue chip counterparts in Chris Livingston, Cason Wallace, and early enrollee Shaedon Sharpe next season. In the meantime, the loaded Montverde Academy team of Dariq Whitehead, Dillon Mitchell, Jalen Hood-Schifino, Malik Reneau, Kwame Evans, and Derik Queen among others is poised to make a run at another GEICO National Championship.
As part of the Pro Insight Q&A series, Clark talked about hooping against his brother ZZ, his dedication to training and persevering through injury, what Kentucky fans can expect from him next year, leaving a bigger impact beyond basketball, and much more.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present Kentucky commit Skyy Clark, from Los Angeles, California:
Pro Insight: Talk a bit about your background.
Skyy Clark: Thank you for having me. A little bit about me…I play basketball, obviously. I started when I was around 9 or 10 years old and so I'm kind of a late starter, but it's done a lot of great things for me.
PI: You come from an athletic family background — can you elaborate a bit more on what that’s like?
SC: Yeah my dad’s side, that's the athletic side. My mom’s side got no athleticism at all (smiles). But my dad played in the NFL. I got a few other uncles who played in the NFL. I've had an uncle who played overseas and played in the [formerly] D-League and he was a great college player, so there've been a lot of big-time athletes on my dad’s side of the family. It's translated.
PI: How did you get into basketball? What made you fall in love with the game?
SC: Yeah, when I started playing, I was kind of an all-sport kind of kid growing up. I started off with baseball and if I didn't do basketball, that's what I probably would have stuck with. Baseball, flag football, volleyball. I did it all and then once I started playing basketball, that's the one I fell in love with the most. Kobe [Bryant] obviously inspired me. Once I started hooping and my pops put me on who Kobe was, then it was like every day growing up, it was like I wanted to be like him.
PI: Did you ever have a chance to meet Kobe?
SC: Nah, I hadn’t. My brother ZZ, actually went to a little team thing and he met Kobe and Gigi and I think I had a chance to go. I don't know why I didn't, but I regret that every single day.
PI: What’s it like hooping with your brother ZZ?
SC: Oh yeah. Me and ZZ, we play one-on-one. Before I got injured, we were playing one-on-one after every workout. It's always fun. He's probably one of the hardest people I've ever guarded, and even though we play all the time, he's always hitting me with some new moves.
PI: For those who aren’t familiar with your game, what are your greatest strengths?
SC: My game, I feel like I bring a lot to the table. I can shoot. I can pass. I can dribble. I love to play defense. I play with a lot of energy and so I'm just kind of a guy that brings it all and I feel like I have a really good IQ and all those things can only get a lot better, obviously. So I’d say I have a lot of strengths and there's definitely weaknesses that can be improved.
PI: What do you feel you still need to improve on the most? What have you been working on?
SC: Yeah, right now with my finger [injury], it's my right hand, so I work on a lot of left hand stuff. So when I get back for GEICO, my left hand is gonna be just like my right.
PI: Who do you model your game after and try to study on film?
SC: The three people I watch most…Steve Nash, Kyrie Irving, and Jason Williams — and I watch a lot of Chris Paul. So those are like the main four.
PI: You play on a Montverde Academy team with a lot of depth and talent — how would you describe your role?
SC: Yeah, I feel like my role on the team is really just playing my game and doing what I do. Bring the defensive intensity, the scoring, the passing. Just running the team, being a point guard, being a leader.
PI: Do you have a training regimen? Who do you train with?
SC: Yeah, my workouts consist of a lot of shooting. My day kind of goes like before the injury it went…I woke up, got into the gym at 6AM and got on the shooting machine. Get up about 750 shots and free throws and floaters and stuff. Get a workout in with the trainer Jamal Richardson or Andrew Fleming from about 6AM to 8AM. Then I’d come home, lay back down. Get back up around 1PM. Go back to the gym from about 1PM to 3PM, do a skills workout. And then come back home and then if I choose to, I go back in late at night and get some shots up from about 9PM to 10PM, trying to get more shots, dribble work, skill work, but that's kind of like what a typical day is. I was doing cryotherapy and stuff like that, so in between. So I kind of take it like a professional. My training, my therapy. I take everything really seriously.
PI: This is definitely a testament to how quickly you got back onto the court after the knee injury.
SC: I was doing rehab 8 to 10 hours a day, trying to get back, and sleeping in hyperbaric chambers. Just trying to get back and it paid off for it.
PI: How do you stay engaged and persistent during the recovery process?
SC: Yeah, you just gotta focus on the bigger picture and just know like this injury is just a minor setback for something major and the main goal is the NBA. You can't let anything stop you from getting there so you gotta go through it every day and push through it and you are going to get the results that you want.
PI: Have you been able to achieve your physical measurement goals post-injury?
SC: Oh yeah, definitely. My wingspan is…I think the last time we measured was like 6’6”. Yeah, the last time we measured was like a month ago. It's like 6’6” and I'm starting to slim down so everything has been going great.
PI: Describe this past summer with MoKan Elite.
SC: Yeah, I was actually just watching a lot of video from MoKan today. MoKan was great. Coach Perry, we still talk to this day. He's a great dude, a great coach, and he taught me a lot about being a point guard by being a leader and that experience was really good for me 'cause it helped me grow as a player and a human and playing with the team, all my guys, was a lot of fun. Sadly I couldn't finish out the Peach Jam, which I feel like we had a good chance of winning, but that experience was a lot of fun.
PI: Who has been the toughest individual matchup you’ve ever faced?
SC: This year, probably the person that gave us the most problems for the games I played was Gradey [Dick] at Sunrise. The game we played my first game back, they had an outstanding shooting game against us so probably him.
PI: How has your experience at Montverde been?
SC: Yeah, Montverde, it's not for everybody. It's definitely something you gotta get used to. Gotta get used to like Coach Boyle, Coach Rae, Coach KBJ. They're very different from other coaches. Once you get used to it, it gets a lot easier and just all the traveling and then trying to stay on top of schoolwork. You gotta learn how to manage that too, which is good — doing it before I get to college, 'cause that's how college is going to be. Montverde has been a great experience just going against top guys every day at practice. It only helps your game that much. Coach Boyle and Coach KBJ, they're great minds at a basketball game and some of the plays that they run like they'll draw up a play in a big game and then it'll work. So it's been a great experience.
PI: What are your short term goals you have for yourself as a player?
SC: Some short term goals…definitely end off the season with that GEICO National Championship. I feel like we've been rolling as a team recently, so I definitely feel like we have a great chance of winning that and I’d say just stay getting prepared for college.
PI: Congratulations again on your commitment! What was Coach Cal’s reaction when you told him?
SC: He was ecstatic. Coach Cal, he was super happy. I was one of the first players that they recruited for 2022, so when he got me, the whole coaching staff was super happy.
PI: What are you most looking forward to about Kentucky?
SC: Really just the atmosphere. The BBN fans, they’re a lot of fun and every road trip I've been on this year they've all been out. There's at least a few Kentucky fans I see in the stands at every game, and I'll talk to some after the games, but they're really good people. So really just the atmosphere and then just to…everyday try, going to practice, and working out.
PI: What can Kentucky fans expect from you on the court?
SC: The same thing. Just someone who loves to win and tries to bring a lot of excitement to the game and a big afro.
SC: Yeah, we have. We’ve talked a little bit about it. There's definitely…our goal is to win a championship, which is definitely definitely possible. But yeah, just really just getting each other better every day and since we all know what our long term goal is so just helping each other out to get there.
PI: Your signature hairstyle is the big afro — was there anyone that inspired you to grow it?
SC: Not really, I just started growing it my freshman year and then it just became me and I've always wanted to keep the afro since then.
PI: What are your biggest interests outside of basketball?
SC: Fashion is one of them. I love to game. I love to fish. I like to go to Topgolf, but I'm not good at it, but it's still a fun hobby. And just be with my family.
PI: What are your favorite music artists?
SC: Before a game, I listen to a lot of Al Green and Bob Marley, but my favorite artist of all-time is Tupac. I’m an old-school guy.
PI: If you were stuck forever on a deserted island and had all the food, water, and shelter you needed — what three personal items would you bring?
SC: A Bible, a basketball, and a hoop and I'll be good. That'll keep me sane.
PI: You have one hashtag to describe yourself. What is it?
PI: If you weren’t pursuing a career as a professional hooper, what do you think you would choose to do?
SC: Like I said earlier, I probably would have stuck to baseball. That probably would have been my sport. Outside of sports, I’m not sure yet.
PI: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
SC: My dad has told me a lot. He’s given me a lot of advice. But I think just, it was probably during my injury, he just kept telling me every day to “keep pushing at it and just never give up. Keep pushing.” Whatever I put in life is what I’m gonna get out. That's why I worked so hard. So I think that's probably one of the most important things he always left me with, 'cause that's gonna take me all the way through life. What I put in — what I put into your relationship with whoever, whether it be God, your parents, your brother, sisters, your craft, everything. What you put in it is what you're gonna get out of it, so that's kind of one of the things he’s tried to keep in my mind.
PI: How important is your faith amidst everything?
SC: It’s helped me the most out of anything. It just gives me a different kind of peace of mind, just knowing He's always there for me and He always will be no matter how far I go away from Him or whatever the case may be, that just He's always there waiting for me, so it's just great. It helps out a lot.
PI: How would you define the word ‘success?’
SC: Success means...it could mean whatever you want it to be. I want to be successful in life, just being able to sustain a good living for my family now, my future family later, and for their kids, and for their kids. So kind of building that generational wealth further for the next generations.
PI: Who’s someone you really look up to?
SC: Who I look up to…my parents. Kobe. Steph Curry is another one. Yeah, those are probably the main ones.
PI: Besides the NBA, where do you see yourself in five years?
SC: I see myself as a business mogul, because basketball is gonna be the least of my accomplishments. My dad played in the NFL. His career ended early because of a bad injury. I learned to always have my business mind on and think like a businessman. So for me, making it to the NBA will be the least of my accomplishments because I got so much more to give to this world than just a basketball goal.
PI: You and your family also previously organized a cleanup and prayer vigil in the Nashville community, right?
SC: Yeah, we did a nation rally and we only expected 30 or 40 people to come out, but it ended up being like 700 people here on just like a week's notice. Other things I want to do outside of sports…I want to build community centers named after myself. I want to help the homeless. I want to be an advocate for autism. Stuff like that, so my impact is greater than basketball.
PI: Name four words that best describe you.
SC: Different. Genuine. Loyal. Creative.
PI: At the end of the day, what do you hope to be remembered for?
SC: Just leaving a bigger impact in basketball and that people not just know me as a great basketball player, but also as an even better human being. And then hopefully I inspired and touched a lot of people's lives and kind of like how Kobe did. Kobe, he didn't just inspire basketball players. He inspired other sports. He inspired business people. He inspired just everyday regular people that just go to the gym and just weight lift. Whatever they did, Kobe inspired through his mentality, so something like that. I want to be remembered for leaving a lasting impact on individuals. If I can make just one person better, I did my job. That's been the whole thing. I want to be an example for people to look up to, but I hope to leave a greater impact once I get on that stage and show who Skyy Clark really is. So that's it. Just leaving a lasting impact.