Though he stands just 5’9″, Kihei Clark has proven time and time again that he has the ability to step up and make big plays when Virginia needs him most. Despite not leading the team in scoring (or any other major statistical category), Clark has shown to be an incredibly effective floor general for the Cavaliers. Despite his big-time play in the tournament, Clark was a relative unknown coming out of Taft High School in Woodland Hills, CA.
Despite averaging a robust 21.3 points, 8.3 assists, 5.8 rebounds, and 2.5 steals per game in his senior season at a high school known for producing NBA talent, Clark nearly went unrecruited. Overlooked by all of the Pac-12 schools including Los Angeles area programs UCLA and USC, his only two offers came from Virginia and UC Davis.
Where Did Kihei Clark, Virginia Guard, Go to High School?
The undersized freshman starred in his senior season at Taft High School in Woodland Hills, California. Nestled in the western end of Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley, Taft High School has a long and storied basketball history. Known for producing a number of NBA caliber guards throughout the years, it is somewhat surprising that Clark went so overlooked given his pedigree.
Taft has produced former NBA players Jordan Farmar and Bryce Dejean-Jones alongside current NBA guards Spencer Dinwiddie and Larry Drew II. Clark would follow in the footsteps of former guards that have come from Taft and helped lead the Toreadors to a deep run in the 2018 Division 1 California state basketball tournament.
Kihei Clark High School Recruiting
Only a three star recruit out of Taft High School, Clark flew under the radar of nearly every major college basketball program. Even after Clark’s graduation and recruitment to Virginia, fellow coaches were skeptical,
His high school coach, Derrick Taylor, recalled a story while coaching his son’s AAU team. Taylor said he was approached by a “middle of the road” Pac-12 team’s assistant coach.
“Congratulations on your guy Kihei earning a scholarship to Virginia.” The coach said, adding “But I have to be honest with you, don’t think you think that’s a little bit over his skis?”
The quote would wind up being the perfect encapsulation of how most coaches looked at Clark. At 5’9”, he was simply a feel-good story and fellow coaches were excited for Taylor thinking he had somehow fooled Virginia into taking a subpar prospect.
However, as shown by his increasingly strong play as the NCAA tournament rolls along, it seems that Kihei Clark and Virginia will be the ones getting the last laugh.