Posted On: 07/30/17 11:33 AM
Kihei Clark isn’t a guy who will blow you away with immense size, explosive athleticism or fancy dribble exhibitions, but to the basketball purist, the class of 2018 point guard is everything that’s right about the game.
The 5-foot-9, 150 pounder out of Taft high school in Woodland Hills is an elite decision maker, passer and leader who stays cool under pressure and is the first guy on the floor for the loose ball or to take responsibility something not going right.
That type of attitude is ingrained deep in the mind of Clark and he’s trying to relay that to his younger high school teammates through teachable moments.
“It’s kind of like my freshman year,” he said. “I’m just trying to get these guys to follow coach (Derrick) Taylor and what he teaches. If we follow that we’re going to be alright.”
Clark had that same effect on the Oakland Soldiers club team after spending his first three club seasons as high schooler with the Los Angeles Rockfish, even though the change was met with questions about whether he could compete at that level.
The Soliders finished fourth in their EYBL pool with a 9-7 record, but went on an epic run at Peach Jam, taking the title behind 18 points in the championship game from Clark, who averaged better than 15 points in the playoff slate.
“It was good,” Clark said of playing with the Soliders. “We had a talented group of guys and we did some big things. I just played my game because all the guys I played with are going to play Division I. I was just trying to be consistent, stay poised and not turn the ball over.”
In late May, Clark announced his commitment to UC Davis, the reigning Big West conference tournament champions, and described his decision as one in which many factors were considered, including style of play, coaching staff and the feel of the campus.
“I took an unofficial visit a couple days before I committed and I just fell in love with the campus,” he said. “Their playing style fits me because they use a lot of ball screens. The coaching staff is great. Coach (Jim) Les has played at the highest level and is another guy I can learn from and get ready for the next level after college.”
Clark believes that his game translates well to the Big West level, but knows there are some aspects of his game that need some fine tuning.
“I think my point guard skills and leadership translate to the Big West,” he said. “Being able to use the ball screen is important, as well, but I need to get stronger. That will help with my defense and consistently knocking down the open shot.”