ANDREW CLARK was just a college freshman hanging out in his dorm room at Pitt State when his friends filmed him performing what has become perhaps the most widely broadcast party trick any PSU student has ever recorded.
Clark, of Seneca, Mo., had perfected the art of spinning a basketball on the tip of a pencil back in high school while killing time in the locker room with his teammates. He got so good at it that he expanded the trick to spin as many as three balls at once, using even his toes to keep them moving.
Talk about productive downtime. Posting clips to YouTube this spring (as of July he’d received more than 25,000 views), his videos soon became viral sensations, twice being featured by ESPN as their “Video of the Week.” It wasn’t long before producers with major networks began calling, first from the “Tonight Show” and then Ellen Degeneres. Clark flew to California in June, meeting Leno and performing the trick in front of an audience of millions.
Now, the 19-year-old engineering technology major is back at PSU. A science guy at heart, he explains the friction that makes the trick work (he once kept a ball spinning for 14 minutes) and laughs at how such a simple skill has received so much attention.
“I know it looks hard, but you just have to keep the ball spinning,” he said. “I never thought all this would happen to me. I came back from doing Leno and decided to get even more balls and start practicing to see what else I can do.”