Pitino adds another likely McDonald's All-American

Earl Clark, a 6-7 1/2 guard/forward from Rahway, New Jersey and Scout.com's No. 21 rated prospect nationally, picked Louisville over Villanova during a Tuesday afternoon press conference at his school.

Earl Clark, a multi-talented 6-7½ swingman from Rahway, NJ, verbally committed to Rick Pitino and the University of Louisville Tuesday afternoon during a scheduled press conference.

Clark, who made an official visit to Louisville two weeks ago, chose the Cardinals over Big East rival Villanova. He's the fourth player from the Class of 2006 to cast his lot with Louisville, joining 6-9 All-America power forward Derrick Caracter, 6-2 point guard Edgar Sosa and 6-3 shooting guard Jerry Smith.

"The visit went very well and I felt comfortable with Coach P and the players," Clark said during his press conference. "I looked at tapes of Louisville's offense and I felt that I would thrive under his system because he lets his guards create."

The No. 21 prospect and 4th best small forward nationally by Scout.com, Clark is the second-highest rated recruit – behind Caracter – in Pitino's most recent recruiting haul. Caracter, a friend of Clark's since their middle school days, is ranked 13th nationally, while Sosa ranks No. 57 and Smith No. 68.

"I told Derrick Caracter on Saturday of my decision," Clark said. "It will be exciting playing with both Derrick and Edgar Sosa. It all worked out for us."

Dave Telep, Scout.com's national recruiting analyst, believes Clark's addition guarantees the Cardinals recruiting class will end up one of the Big East's top two hauls when all is said and done.

"I think Louisville and UConn should wind up with the two best recruiting classes in the league," Telep said. "Anytime you add two likely McDonald's All-Americans to your team it's a significant impact on your program. All of Louisville's recruits are all highly regarded players at their positions as well as nationally."

Clark's versatility and athleticism set him apart from others in his class. He can play four positions on the court from point guard to power forward. He's a gifted ball handler and passer and is adept at getting to the hole from the wing. On defense, he's proven an excellent shot blocker around the basket, and is skilled at posting smaller defenders up on the block and scoring with his back to the basket.

And though his outside jump shot needs continued development, he's shown flashes during AAU tournaments that he can get hot and be a very dangerous shooter from behind the three point line.

A Reebok ABCD camp All-Star each of the past two seasons, Clark averaged 19 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists as a junior.

Clark has not qualified academically to play yet as a freshman.


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