Hickman basketball's Chris Clark reopens college recruitment

Thursday, April 3, 2014 | 8:16 p.m. CDT
Hickman senior guard Chris Clark goes up for a layup against Hazelwood Central in the semifinals of the state championship tournament March 20 at Mizzou Arena. The Kewpies won 62-56.

COLUMBIA — Chris Clark is on the market.

The Hickman senior basketball star decommitted from the University of Tennessee at Martin this week following the Skyhawks' firing of coach Jason James last month after an 8-23 season.

UT-Martin on March 20 introduced former University of Nevada-Las Vegas assistant Heath Schroyer as its new coach.

The roster makeup under Schroyer wasn't as appealing to Clark as it would have been under James.

"The school was really great about staying in touch with us," Clark's father, Chris Clark Sr., said. "But Chris wanted to play for Coach James, and the new coach had some JUCO (junior college) players in mind. The athletic director still wanted Chris if he was interested, but it was just a combination of the JUCO guys and Chris wanting to play for Coach James."

UT-Martin granted Clark his release this week, which became official Wednesday afternoon.

NCAA schools were not permitted to contact Clark until his paperwork was finalized Wednesday. But the 6-foot-3, 178-pound guard had already heard from several junior colleges, he said.

Moberly Area Community College offered Clark a full scholarship and hosted him for a visit Thursday evening, Clark's father said.

Clark, who scored 41 points in two state tournament games at Mizzou Arena last month, is expected to draw more interest from Division I schools. Clark said Drake, Missouri State and Lipscomb have contacted him, and his father heard from Missouri-Kansas City. 

Missouri coach Frank Haith was in attendance for Clark's standout performance in the state title game, but it's unclear whether the Tigers have interest in the Kewpie. Missouri will have two additional scholarships to offer if guards Jordan Clarkson and Jabari Brown keep their names in the NBA draft after declaring this week.

Clark noted that some fans used Twitter to advocate for Missouri offering him a scholarship. He said that he would accept one but that he had not heard from Haith.

The NCAA's spring signing period begins April 16.

Clark's father said he also received calls from Division II schools Drury and Northwest Missouri State.

Supervising editor is Mark Selig.

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