'We're almost there': Blue-chip Iowa PG Caitlin Clark is down to three finalists

Matthew Bain
The Des Moines Register

Top-five national 2020 prospect Caitlin Clark is nearing the end of her recruitment.

Dowling Catholic’s five-star point guard told the Register she has trimmed her list to three schools: Notre Dame, Iowa and Iowa State.

"It's down to those three now," said Clark, who also held offers from schools such as Texas, Oregon, Oregon State, Duke, Florida and Drake. "Very excited (for when this is over). No more questions from anyone. It's going to be nice. We're almost there."

Dowling's Caitlin Clark brings the ball down the court during the Class 5A Iowa girls' state basketball tournament quarterfinal between Dowling Catholic and Waukee on Monday, Feb. 25, 2019, in Wells Fargo Arena.

While she doesn’t have a timeframe set in stone, Clark said she hopes to make a commitment before her senior basketball season — with an outside shot of it happening before school starts later this month.

Clark also isn’t sure when or if she’ll take official visits. She was in Thailand for much of July, winning gold with Team USA at the U19 FIBA World Cup. As one of the youngest players on the team, which had four college players (including Iowa State’s Ashley Joens), Clark averaged 5.7 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game.

MORE ON CLARK: Inside the national recruitment of Dowling's blue-chip star

In June, she took unofficial visits to Iowa and Notre Dame with her parents. Her most recent unofficial visit to Ames came over the winter.

Iowa and Iowa State’s recruiting pitches are similar, Clark said.

"Both with Iowa and Iowa State, it’s like the do-something-special feel — the hometown kid," she said. "Obviously, they were good last year. (The Hawkeyes) have proven that they can be there in the Elite Eight. But, obviously, my goal is to win a national championship, and I think, wherever I go, that’s what I want to do. But just being able to stay close to home and playing in your home state would be a big deal."

Notre Dame, meanwhile, can offer a more juggernaut-caliber resume to the 5-foot-11 lead guard who made scoring 32.5 points per game last season look easy. Outside the in-state schools, the Fighting Irish were one of the first programs to recruit Clark.

"They’re more like the blue-blood I’ve got in my group," she said. "And then, obviously, the education is a big deal. They’ve been there before. They’ve proven it, for sure. They won the national championship two years ago. So I think they’re kind of more the powerhouse if I want to go that way, rather than doing something special or doing something that hasn’t been done. (It’d be) going to a school that’s proven themselves, Hall of Fame coach, more that route."

All three schools plan for her to play right away, Clark said.

"And I think that’s been one of the biggest things for me in the whole recruiting process," she added. "I never wanted to go somewhere and sit down. Obviously, you’re going to have to go and work your butt off just to get playing time — I don't want anything given to me. But you definitely have to look at the roster and see, 'Are there other point guards there? Who do they have in the recruiting class already?'"

ESPN ranks Clark the No. 4 overall prospect in the 2020 class. Blue Star pegs her at No. 6. She would be the highest-ranked recruit for any of her three finalist schools.

The Cyclones have put together a strong 2020 class with four guards and wings: ESPN’s No. 13 Lexi Donarski, No. 69 Aubrey Joens of Iowa City, No. 83 Emily Ryan and No. 92 Kylie Feuerbach. Clark said Iowa State thinks all four would play well with her off the ball.

Notre Dame has No. 20 Alli Campbell, a guard, and No. 35 Natalija Marshall, a 6-5 forward.

The Hawkeyes have landed in-state duo Sharon Goodman (forward, Crestwood) and Shateah Wetering (guard, Montezuma) and Minnesota guard Lauren Jensen. ESPN doesn't have those three ranked in its top 100 for 2020.

Matthew Bain covers recruiting, Iowa/Iowa State athletics and Drake basketball for the Des Moines Register and USA TODAY Network. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.

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