The news has been slow to develop about Clent Stewart's official visit to Stanford a week ago. Fans have been right to be antsy over the information. After all, Stanford has searched for the last two years now for a point guard recruit, and Stewart is the first guard to take an official visit in this entire recruiting class. In fact, his visit a week ago was the first by a recruit under 6'4" in the last two years.
Even more heartening to Cardinalmaniacs™ is the fact that the Oklahoman is the first visiting recruit under 6'4" to fill out and submit an application since Jason Haas. We chased several red herrings in the 2003 class, including Derek Raivio, Ryan Appleby and Omar Wilkes. The first two did not have the academic credentials to even go through Stanford's admissions process, while Wilkes strung out the Cardinal coaches for half a year of empty promises before canceling his September official visit in the last week. He then revealed that he never put pen to paper with his application which had been in his hands since April.
This year we salivated over Jordan Farmar through the fall and winter, only to have him shun the application and an invitation to an official visit. Our sights moved to Zam Frederick, who looked in play for quite some time, but his application never reached Old Union and he never took his frequently promised official trip. Along the way, Danny Morrissey and Mike Walker decided they could not go as far away from home as the West Coast.
You see, this is why we all have fallen in love with Clent Stewart. He has been all business during his recruitment, and nothing less than straight with his schools of interest. When in-state power Oklahoma offered him early but he was disinclined to follow a class rife with guards, he shut the door early but respectfully on the Sooners. He has not "played" the recruiting game of deception or manipulation with the remainder of his schools, either in direct communications or comments to the media.
This mature and well-mannered young man has an admirable disposition that rivals his on-court abilities, and that has made for quite a cozy relationship with the Stanford coaches. They can't ask much more than a kid to tell him the straight scoop, submit a completed application before his official visit, and then get on a plane when promised for said visit.
As a just reward, Stewart was informed Thursday night October the 2nd by Stanford assistant coach Tony Fuller that he had earned admission to the University, as the coach picked up the recruit from the airport. He is only the third basketball prospective recruit to be admitted to Stanford this year; the other two have committed to the Cardinal.
"It was really great to hear that," Stewart recalls of the positive admissions answer. "I understand how few people can get admitted to Stanford, so this was big news."
The visiting recruit did not set foot on campus until Friday morning, when his 48-hour visit clock began, but he was particularly impacted by the very first glimpse he gleaned of The Farm. "We were driving down Palm Drive, and I just thought 'whoah - this is amazing,'" he tells. "That was a heck of an introduction to the school. I have to say it's a lot nicer than what home looks like in Tulsa."
The remainder of the weekend did not disappoint. Stewart spent much time with Tim Morris and Josh Childress, and speaks very fondly of both. He went with guys on the team to a rousing battle of Laser Tag. He even took a trip with assistant coaches Tony Fuller and Russell Turner to Half Moon Bay for a brief time at the beach.
"It was so hot at Stanford, then we went over the mountains to the beach and it was cold," he remarks with a chuckle. "It was a little crazy, and we didn't stay long."
One surprise Stewart found was the diversity of the makeup of the Stanford squad. "There were players from Georgia, Missouri, Illinois - all over the place," he notes. "I thought most guys would be from Stanford, but it makes me feel better to know there are so many guys from so many different places. That means I wouldn't be such an outsider coming in. And they all seem to be really at home despite being away from home."
Don't think that distance is off the list of concerns, though, for this recruit and his family. Stanford is at a decided disadvantage when it comes to proximity to his Tulsa home. Not only do the in-town Golden Hurricanes have an attractive offer on the table, right in his backyard; but also he has closer options in Kansas State, Vanderbilt and South Carolina.
"I really had a great time on my visit," Stewart begins. "I only wish my mom could have been there to see it all with me. She might take her own visit to check Stanford out because she has said she needs to see a place before I commit there."
No such unofficial for Vanessa Stewart has been scheduled at this time, as the 6'3" son explains that she will wait and see how his recruiting leanings look after he finishes his official visits. He saw K-State two weeks before Stanford, and this coming weekend he will head to Vandy. The following week he will trek to South Carolina. A fifth and final visit is being discussed to Tulsa on November 2, even though he has countless unofficial visits already under his belt. If after all the dust settles he likes Stanford best, then Mrs. Stewart will hop on a plane and give Mike Montgomery and the campus a look-see for her all-important stamp of approval.
I have asked the combo guard recruit point-blank for any negatives or disappointments that came from the visit. He has none to offer, and only the highest of praise for the coaches, student-athletes and campus. While Stewart will not name a favorite right now, he does say that Stanford's prospects are "very high" at this time after this trip and his admissions acceptance.
All that remains is a waiting game, which apparently will extend into early November for this to play out. We will keep you updated on Stewart's latest in the next few weeks as he takes visits and builds toward a decision.
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