It doesn't take a rocket scientist – or a scientific rocket as former University of Arkansas football Danny Ford used to say – to see that Andre Clark really likes the Razorbacks.
Why else would he get on a bus in Mendenhall, Mississippi at 11 p.m. one night and arrive at his destination in Arkansas at 11 a.m. the next morning?
That's just what Clark (6-10, 205) – the former North Little Rock prospect now at Genesis One Christian Academy - did this past weekend to attend Arkansas' first practice.
"That was one long bus ride," Clark said. "But this is a place I wanted to get up to and check things out right now and not wait any longer."
So Monday, he decided to go ahead and commit to Arkansas, giving the Razorbacks four commitments in the 2008 class.
"I talked with mom and we both just felt that this was the right place at the right time for me," Clark said Monday afternoon. "She and I both got a great feel for things up there."
Clark – a post-graduate who originally committed to Oklahoma when he was a 2007 prospect - could not take an official visit until after Oct. 15, but wanted to be on hand for practice number one.
He joined New Orleans (La.) Holy Cross forward Brandon Moore (6-9, 215 as top-notch recruits on hand to see the Razorbacks.
"I think they look great," Clark said. "They have so much experience, guys who have been here, know how to use that and know what to expect and how to get it done. But they also have a lot of great young players as well.
"I look at this as a place that I could come to – and with the guys leaving – be able to help as much as I can," Clark added. "I think there will be a lot of talent here to keep it going."
Clark becomes the second Genesis One product and the third in three seasons to make it to Arkansas.
The Razorbacks also have a commit from Genesis One point guard Terrance Joyner (6-2, 180) and a Genesis alum in current Razorback Michael Washington.
"They (the Arkansas coaches) came down here to see me with along with Terrance Joyner and I am real impressed with where I think they are going to take the program," Clark said.
Clark and Moore join point guards Joyner and Courtney Fortson as UA commits.
"We all four have played basketball with each other and we are all very unselfish so I think that is going to work great," Clark said. "We will all look to pass and that will just make the defense work even harder."
Clark was an unheralded prospect out of North Little Rock before blowing up over the summer in AAU ball.
He suddenly found himself with offers from Kentucky, Oklahoma, Indiana and Colorado and even two-time national champion Florida was sniffing around.
"Any time you get to the end of the summer and Florida has you wanting to take an official visit and if you do has a scholarship for you along with Kentucky, Oklahoma and Indiana, you know the kid can play," Ingram said.
Arkansas did not have a big man scholarship available at that time in 2007, but was like the other schools was following him around in case he became a 2008 prospect.
"For me to come where I have came from in such a short amount of time and just to blow up in that short amount of time, it is just really a blessing and I thank God every day for it," Clark said. "I was stunned, but thankful for the amount of coaches and schools that were calling and interested."
He chose the Sooners – in part because that is where former Razorback assistant coach Orande Taliaferro landed after the former UA staff was let go.
But he decided to de-commit from Oklahoma when Arkansas began showing interest.
"It was tough de-commiting from Oklahoma because they have great coaches and have been very loyal," Clark said, "but I just have always really liked Arkansas and just needed to check my options now that it was available for me."
Clark said his development over the summer had to do as much with him relaxing on the floor as being aggressive.
"I think really it was getting the opportunity to go out and do what I could do without feeling like I have to hold anything back or worry about the coach taking me out of the game if I make one mistake," Clark said. "I owe much of my accomplishments to Bill Ingram, my AAU coach for just giving me a chance to show what I can do and show my God-given ability that I have been blessed with."
Clark is happy that he has landed at Genesis One and feels like he will grow on and off the court.
"Genesis One has – in many ways – been a learning experience and a humbling experience," Clark said. "I know I can't take things for granted. I am out there in the middle of nowhere and able to just concentrate on grades and basketball. I am really learning how to stay focused and am learning a lot," Clark said.
Ingram proclaimed at the first of the spring that Clark would be a household name by the end of the AAU campaign.
"The physical tools were already there," Ingram said. "But with his skill level, he just took it to another level. You could just see it in him and now he is just making everything I thought come true and more.
"The best part about it is he is more skilled than half the big guys in the top five," Ingram added. "Now his body is also beginning to develop and now he is getting strong. Now he is really turning into a big-time player."
Clark to Arkansas
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