This was supposed to be the year the rest of the Oklahoma high school basketball scene caught up to junior point guard Stevie Clark (Oklahoma City/Douglass) and the Douglass Trojans.
The Trojans, the two-time defending Class 4A state champions, graduated 10 of their top 12 players from last season's team.
If Douglass was going to make another run this season, it was going to have to be because Clark changed his style of play. A natural shooter as a freshman and sophomore, Clark changed his game to become an all-around point guard.
With that came offers from top programs such as Missouri, Marquette, Connecticut and Florida State, among several others. It also came with a No. 58 ranking in the ESPNU Super 60 for the 5-foot-10, 160-pound prospect. And after some early mis-communication, Clark's offer from Oklahoma arrived last month.
"We're very excited about getting to know Coach [Lon] Kruger and happy to have our issues resolved," said Dorshell Clark, Stevie's mother. "He is a great guy, and we're looking forward to building on our relationship."
Stevie Clark started the season with a 40-point outburst in Texas and became a prospect to watch after scoring 65 and 51 in back-to-back games in January.
In the state semifinals and championship game, Clark put on yet another show. Against Tulsa (Okla.) Cascia Hall, Clark made nine 3-pointers in scoring 40 points with eight assists despite not playing most of the fourth quarter.
And on the biggest stage possible, Clark had 40 points and seven assists, while connecting on six 3-pointers in an 86-53 championship victory against Anadarko, Okla.
"This one does feel a little more special because I had to step up and be a leader this season," Clark said. "Everybody thought we weren't going to be here. But the younger guys stepped up, and I knew what I had to do."
Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford was in attendance for Clark's state tournament performances. The Cowboys were one of the first schools to offer the in-state star.
Oklahoma City Douglass outscored its three state tournament opponents by 138 points, winning by scores of 82-20, 86-43 and 86-53. In the quarterfinal game, Clark scored a mere 19 points because the Trojans were up 52-5 at halftime.
"Stevie is just a special kid," Douglass coach Terry Long said. "We asked a lot of him this season, and he delivered every time. The young kids looked up to him and followed his example."
Clark took an unofficial visit to Missouri in February and said he loved the atmosphere. And after a late start with the Sooners, Clark attended three of OU's final four home games, including a Bedlam win against Oklahoma State.
• Clark's AAU teammate junior Jordan Woodard (Edmond, Okla./Memorial) was also involved in a state championship game as Edmond Memorial fell 37-36 to Tulsa (Okla.) Union in the Class 6A title contest Saturday night.
Woodard, a four-star prospect with offers from OU, Memphis and San Francisco, missed the potential championship-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer as his shot hit the back of the rim.
"We trust Jordan. That's the kid we want to take that shot," Edmond Memorial coach Shane Cowherd said. "And he's the type of kid who wants to take that shot."
Woodard had nine points, three rebounds and two steals in the loss as Edmond Memorial was denied its bid for back-to-back championships.
Woodard took unofficial visits to Memphis and Kansas this season and had one of his best games of the season when Kansas coach Bill Self was in attendance in January.
Woodard has made several unofficial visits to OU and said he really likes the progress the Sooners are making with Kruger.