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August 7, 2006After 2006 basketball signing day the Oklahoma basketball program had inked a hand full of the top prospects in the country. A few weeks later they were scrambling to find bodies to fill scholarships after three players asked out of their letter of intent upon the news of Kelvin Sampson's departure.
The only two men who remained loyal to their signatures were Tony Crocker and Keith Clark. Crocker has been looking impressive in pick-up games over the summer while Clark has been working hard in the classroom in an attempt to pass NCAA qualification standards. There have been some who have said qualifying would be a near impossible task for Clark to accomplish, but after a summer of slaving over his textbooks he finally heard the news he had been waiting to hear.
"I'm in," Clark said with a sense of relief. "I found out last night and it was just a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders. All my grades came in and everything was good. I did what I needed to do and now I'm officially a Sooner."
Clark was not expected to hear any official news until this afternoon, but he received a call from a familiar voice to tell him the good news.
"Coach Capel found out about it before I did," he said. "Coach called me and told me about it and I was excited about it. He was telling me that I did it. I worked hard and it all paid off for me and he told me he can't wait to have me on campus. He congratulated me on my hard work through the summer so he was real happy about it."
With the grades finally in order Clark can now concentrate on his future with Oklahoma. The news is still fresh off the press, but he has put into action a plan to get on campus as quickly as possible.
"I'm going up to enroll Wednesday or Thursday," he said. "I want to be up there and taking classes as soon as I can. I want to be working out with the other guys. I've gotten to play a little basketball with them, but I want to be able to play with them all the time and start to get used to the guys. Man, I can't wait to get up there.
Since new Sooner head coach Jeff Capel was named he has run around from coast to coast in an impressive attempt to draw some of the top talent in the country to Oklahoma. The idea of Crocker and Bobby Maze being the only qualifiers is something many Sooner fans had become content in believing. Now Clark adds a much-needed addition to the interior presence on the 2006-07 Oklahoma basketball team. Not only is it weight lifted off the shoulder of coach Capel, but Clark is finally able to relax.
"The past few months have been tough," he said. "I've been having to take classes all summer and I always knew I'd make it, but I had no idea what I'd do if I didn't. There was a lot of pressure on me, but over the summer it was a lot easier for me to focus on the classes and I did great in them.
"I've been waiting all summer for this."
RivalsHoops.com has Clark rated as the No. 57 player in the country and the No. 14 power forward in his class.