Instead of visiting a handful of schools this week as he originally planned, Tulsa transfer Jordan Clarkson needed to see just one firsthand to make his selection.
The sophomore guard checked out Missouri this past weekend and accepted a scholarship offer on Monday afternoon, his father Mike Clarkson confirmed. The younger Clarkson had also received interest from UCLA, Illinois, Duke Arizona, among others.
What persuaded Clarkson to cancel his travel plans was the connection he established with Missouri's players and coaches and the appeal of the Tigers' up-tempo system. Point guard Phil Pressey, a fellow Texas native and longtime friend of Clarkson's, raved about his experience playing under Missouri coach Frank Haith and urged the 6-foot-4 wing to consider joining him.
"Jordan had a lot of talks with Phil about Missouri's style of play," Mike Clarkson said. "Jordan is more effective in the open court when you're running. He can play any style of basketball, but that's more conducive to what he likes to do, getting up and down and using his speed and agility. I think he looked at that really closely and that swayed him to pick Missouri."
The addition of Clarkson further cements Haith's reputation for being able to attract top transfers to Missouri. Among the other notable transfers Haith has landed in the past 12 months include UConn center Alex Oriakhi, Oregon wing Jabari Brown, Pepperdine guard Keion Bell and Auburn swingman Earnest Ross.
Clarkson, who averaged 16.5 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists as a sophomore at Tulsa, will not be eligible to play at Missouri until the 2013-14 season. He'll be part of a potentially potent Tigers backcourt in the 2013-14 season that could include Brown, Ross, Pressey and true freshman Travis Jorgenson if nobody leaves early next spring.
Tulsa originally only released Clarkson to Colorado, TCU and Vanderbilt when he informed the school he intended to transfer last month, but the Golden Hurricane eventually caved to media pressure and loosened the restrictions. One of the only schools Tulsa refused to budge on was Texas, which Mike Clarkson admitted would have been one of his son's top choices had it been an option.
The Clarksons are pleased with Jordan's choice, but they remain steadfastly in favor of altering the rule that allows coaches or administrators to place restrictions on which schools a transfer can contact. Mike Clarkson said the family will publicize the issue further later this month on a future segment of ESPN's "Outside the Lines."
"We don't want this to continue to affect young athletes," the elder Clarkson said. "It's terrible the way the system is set up and hopefully something will be done about it this summer. Maybe the NCAA can come up with a better system because in my opinion it's unethical the way they're doing it."