Sunday, September 12, 2010
New Knight: Clinton Springer-Williams 6-4 F soph.
I remember when Mercyhurst scrimmaged a Canadian college basketball team several years ago and someone in the stands quipped: "Do you know who Canadian basketball players are? The kids who got cut from the hockey team." I hope that's not the case for Clinton Springer-Williams, a Canadian native and transfer to Gannon from Brock University (St. Catherines, ONT).
I'm not sure how many Canadians have played hoops for Gannon. The only one I can recall is Kwame Manu, and his athletic resume won't get him into the GU sports Hall of Fame anytime soon. But I have to say that looking at the accomplishments of Springer-Williams has me excited.
As a freshman at Brock, he was named Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) Rookie of the Year. Basically, that's equivalent to being named NCAA Freshman of the Year for Canada. His stats are eye-popping for a first-year player. He averaged 21.2 ppg -- best among CIS rookies and 6th among all CIS players -- while shooting 46% from the field. In his conference (the Ontario University Athletics Conference), he ranked in the top 10 in three other offensive categories -- 5th in field goals made (143), 4th in free throws made (121), and 8th in free throw percentage (82.3). He also reached double figures in 30-of-31 games, including 13 with 20 points or more, six with 30 or more and a season-high 40 in Brock's season finale. Springer-Williams also averaged 6.2 rebounds per game.
If those numbers don't get your attention, maybe the comments for his former head coach will. Brock's Ken Murray, who resigned after the 2009-2010 season, his 20th for the Badgers, has said plenty about Springer-Williams:
* Soon after Springer-Williams signed with Brock: "We stole the (Springer-Williams) kid. He had some big American schools after him. He's probably going to be the most exciting player we've had in our lineup in a long, long, time."
* "[Clinton] is the one guy that will always give that extra effort. He's playing until the final buzzer. He's just a great offensive talent. He's very difficult to stop. The only one who stops Clinton is himself."
* "Clinton had one of the best seasons I have seen by a rookie in my 30-plus years of coaching. He has clearly shown people across the country his pure athleticism and scoring ability."
According to The CIS Blog, Springer-Williams "was a HoopStars Canada top 50 player, had a tryout for Canada's junior national team, drew NCAA D-1 interest from the likes of Davidson, which had its Cinderella run to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament in 2008 — not unlike Brock did in the Final 8, eh." I know that last statement about Brock in the Final 8 means nothing to all of us, but I couldn't edit out the "eh" part. It proves the quote is from a legit Canadian website.
At Regina Mundi Catholic HS, Springer-Williams averaged 26 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists per game and was twice the team MVP. The Brock U website also claims that when Springer-Williams signed with them, he "just recently turned downed numerous Division 1 scholarship offers including one from Davidson College."
Now if after all this you're still scoffing about Canadian basketball, maybe this info will win you over: In an exhibition game just prior to last season -- one of his first in a college uniform -- Springer-Williams scored 30 points in a 4-point loss to the University of Findlay. Yes, that Findlay.
Here are additional links on Springer-Williams:
* Here's a feature story from The Brock Press.
* This is an article from the Welland Tribune about Springer-Williams' transfer to Gannon.
* This video is from a high school dunk contest. The crowd kind of overreacts, don't you think?
* Here's a photo of him winning the CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) Rookie of the Year award.
* That last photo was kind of boring. Here are a couple action photos: driving to his left and flipping up a shot during a Brock game.