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.


  1. Jim, In regards to other Canadians who have played for Gannon. I believe former GU player David Mcquaid was from Toronto.

  2. Could be a reaL gem. It will tell us a lot about Canadian bouncey ball.

  3. such a myriad of conjecture to be discussed...

    as a whole the Cannucks aren't really known for basketball..

    presently there are a total of 4... not that this nec translates to the D-II level...

    from this there isn't much more that needs to be said...
    the kid is probably comparable to someone who has played maybe a year of Prep basketball, or at an American large High School - again great conjecture only to be determined by the court

  4. Looks promising so far. The size and apparent athleticism sounds promising.

    Did anyone else get a sense when reading the Welland Tribune article that the Brock coach was biting his tongue and wanting to expand more on Springer-Williams' departure?

    Did anyone else notice that the Welland story was written three weeks ago? Couple that with the fact that Springer-Williams' addition to the team along with the 3 others was uncermoniously announced by a simple roster update, and I see a massive gap in the PR machine of the Gannon basketball program. Reilly seems to fail to grasp the idea that there are quite a few Gannon fans that would love reading these tidbits about the team. Thats why we are fans. A press release on the new guys would have been great to see.

    A brief reason for the absence of Kyle Sevrance would be smart as well. As it stands, gossip can abound as to the reason he is no longer on the roster. If Reilly is frustrated at fans speculating about his team, then at least give the fans SOME supposedly reliable information to chew on.

  5. Jeremy - I agree that would be nice however I think we all should have leaned by now that Coach Reilly isn't all about that kind of "recognition". I remember the one time on his radio show he was asked about how their national ranking affected the way he coached. He replied something like "I pay no attention to that. I don't really read the paper or watch the sports news because I don't wantto hear any of it. It has no meaning to me." now I have no proof that he doesn't actually read paper or watch news but I'd say it's a safe bet to believe him. I also think it's not a bad way of detracting scouting by opponents. I mean as soon as a team mentions they signed someone or lost someone, everyone evaluates the situation. "Oh he's someone to watch out for" or "Thats a huge blow to the team". Whereas by Gannon not releasing information on every player, we as well as opponents, can't really figure out the situation.

    But all in all i do agree it'd be nice to know when someone gets hurt and when someone signs anonymously.

  6. Hope that Sevrance's departure doesn't mean the Reilly will receive sevrance pay next year. (Sorry ... too easy to pass up)

    Jeremy, in Reilly's and the GU PR "machine" defense, there are all kinds of NCAA regulations regarding announcing recruits. I'm sure that Dan Teliski didn't simply overlook an writing an announcement for the new players.

  7. It could be that announcements weren't made because these kids may be redshirting this year, maybe due to academic, eligibility, or transfer issues (just conjecture on my part). I was told that the unannounced kids are both pretty good.

    I also hear that one of the ommissions from the roster (a subject of discussion earlier on this blog) is legitimate because that individual HAS left the program.

  8. WOW checkout the disfunctonality of Brock.. no wonder the kid left...

    Player revolt...

    Sounds like a day in this blog....

  9. they do put the FUN in disFUNctional

  10. Interesting coach speak in the Welland Tribune Article of the articles:

    brackets and caps are solely MY input... just for kicks....

    "We hope he reaches his potential." {ATTITUDE EFFORT NEEDS TO IMPROVE - must be defense or passing, hihe lit up the scoreboard}

    "Every program has its own way of doing things and every coach has his own philosophy," { AND HE DIDN'T LIKE MINE} Rootes said. "At the end of the day, you want people who want to be here" {AND HE DIDN'T}

    "It wasn't negative the way he left,{COACH SPEAK - SCREAMING} but at the same time, when I met with the players and told them this is the direction the program is going to go in and here's my philosophy {WHICH HE DIDN"T LIKE, SO I AM NOT SURPRISED HE LEFT}

    Just me being Mr Negative.....
    and please really... Davidson? and now he is coming to GU... How deep is this stuff

  11. Coach Corey: This is not about "recognition" or showing off. Its about informing those fans that pay money and spend their winter evenings to watch your team who they are even going to watch. The idea that it was done to hide the players from opponents is laughable at best. The other teams probably already knew who Gannon was looking at based on talk within the basketball world. Your idea makes it sound like the opponents don’t already scout the teams, and come in blind on day one. Our PSAC opponents will find out sooner or later.

    As far as NCAA regulations, that didn’t stop the roster changes from unceremoniously going on the website. It didn’t stop the recruits that were added in June from having a press release.

    If Reilly doesn’t follow the news how was he so informed about what the fans have been saying when he talked to John Dudley for that piece back in August?

    The fact is that Gannon is no longer the premiere community team in Erie as it was in years past. As the years go on, Erieites won’t attend Gannon games simply because it is Gannon; far too many other entertainment opportunities exist. If the school is serious about maintaining the basketball program as its showcase team, it has to make a strong public relations effort to build community awareness of the team and excitement for the games.

    One example is in the posters and schedule cards made at the beginning of each year. Those are great, but are simply left sitting on tables in Hammermill. Why not get those out to restaurants and businesses in the community? It’s like preaching to the choir: the people picking those up already know the game times.

    Look at the plush seats today and look at them again in 10-15 years. The sad truth is that many of those fans in the seats today won’t be there in 15 years. I am not seeing nearly enough younger fans to fill those seats in the future. A long-term mindset is imperative to sustaining an exciting program.

  12. Jeremy,
    I have to agree with you that GU needs a full time Sports PR team. Look at the way the seawolves or bayhawks sell themselves even in the off season. Take GU football, the stadium is a joke compared to most D3 fields and a lot high schools. Back to BB. I ck this blog everyday. It keeps the game alive all yr. GU needs to spend some money to push and keep the Knights as the top team in NW Pa. You need to keep selling all yr and GU sports needs a full time yr-round PR/fundraiser group.

  13. In regards to needing more PR for any of GU's sports - Are you guys going to help pay for that? I'm sure if you donate a large lump sum of money to Gannon and say that it is alotted for full-time year round PR; they'd be more than happy to consider your request.

    How does Coach Reilly stay informed? - He reads this blog. All fan reactions are here. I never saw on the news or read in the paper about major fan reactions. What I said was that he doesn't follow the polls, the critics, etc.

    And Jeremy to your comment "Look at the plush seats today and look at them again in 10-15 years. The sad truth is that many of those fans in the seats today won’t be there in 15 years." You are most certainly 100% correct. Because the plus seats are pricey and most of them are people who have been there already for 20 years. So in 10-15 years those fans will not be there; new ones will be.

    I do greatly agree that those posters and cards should be elsewhere besides the Audi for advertisement. However, you can't compare a college marketing system to any sort of "professional" marketing. Two totally different things...

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  15. Granted that the website is not nec the best...
    but it is also far from the worst...

    Also marketing in Erie would largely be wasteful,
    You have
    lovers - who will always be there
    haters - nough said
    independents- who will come if the product is good,
    not because of giveaways or Marketing

    While I would agree, investment in the program would be helpful - GU decided long ago (maybe with the advent of football), to diversify the GU athletic scene and budget, add the other programs since then and further see the dispersal.

    Advertising and PR may help... but putting a dress on a pig isn't going to solve anything, the reality is the facillities (The Audi) would be a better focus, I am sorry, but look at the top PSAC schools and top D-II schools in the area/region - and you will see far superior and updated dorms, lockerrooms, etc and these are the things that bring in players...winning does help, but not for many

    get them winning, and the people will come...

    Realistically, GU hasn't had any real sustainability in EXCELLENCE, since Chapman (and he got out when the recruiting rules started to change for him), Dukiet, Slocum, Reilly, have been able to be successful/solid but far from the glory days of the past

  16. I don't know this for a fact but I believe Gannon pays out the full amount of scholarships allowable under d1 rules while other psac schools do not. Does anyone know this to be true? If so you would think Gannon should compete in most years with that recruiting advantage.

  17. Gannon does have the max scholarships... I believe, (we used to) which is to say a total of 10... Which can be subsequently portioned down so that they are divided amongst more than 10 players...?

    As to the rest of the PSAC the scholarship dollars that they have come from any number of places and, to be frank, sources. Many of the schools athletic departments are entirely funded through alumni/booster that the scholarship dollars fluctuate, in that case the better the program, bigger the school, better the hoops history... the better the contributions, beat a rival... hit the boosters up for money. no wonder GU has always been 'the game' at McComb

    Interesting point - HOWEVER
    You must weigh that recruiting advantage vs the admission requirements, which are more restrictive than most of the PSAC. As a public State Run University system partof their mission to to provide opportunity to the disenfranchised.
    PLEASE DO NOT lead you to believe that all of the athletes at GU are more advanced academically than their state school counterparts, it's simply not true.
    But the fact is the State schools do have greater leeway to take chances on a player.

    I cannot speak to the scholarship dollars at GU, if they come from a budget, or are booster generated, some may have been set-up as permanent trusts...

  18. BMOC -- Response to your comment:

    "Realistically, GU hasn't had any real sustainability in EXCELLENCE, since Chapman (and he got out when the recruiting rules started to change for him), Dukiet, Slocum, Reilly, have been able to be successful/solid but far from the glory days of the past "

    I don't understand the comment 'sustainability in excellence.' Chapman basically had three good years -- 1985/86 to 1978/88. He made three regional finals, hosting all three, winning two. That's about it. Gannon has five regional championships in its history: Sparling (1975), Chapman (1987), Chapman (1988), Dukiet (1990) and Reilly (2009). GU won just as many regional championships since Chapman left.

    Chapman was a great coach, but he was also the beneficiary of the NCAA tournament system at the time. Gannon was not the #1 regional seed in the East Region in 1986 to 1988 and therefore would not have hosted the regional in any year (except maybe for Cheyney because its facility was poor). Hard to believe that GU would have won back-to-back regionals in 1987 (at Millersville) and 1988 (at Cal). Heck, Dukiet would have had to go the Morrow Field House and beat Slippery Rock in 1990 -- a much taller order indeed. Reilly's 2009 team was the first time that Gannon was seeded first in the region.

    Would Chapman have won the region if Gannon were in the Great Lakes Region like they were during Slocum's tenure (six straight NCAA appearance -- sustained excellence)? GU wouldn't have made it out of the region in the late 1980s if they were opposite Kentucky Wesleyan.

    Chapman was a great coach, but let's not make him out to be Coach K or Dean Smith -- they have decades of true sustained excellence. Chapman had basically four very good years and two great years, with the circumstances that allowed him to play postseason (confernece and NCAA) games at home. Chapman has one win NCAA win away from the Hammermill Center (Eastern Montana).

    Let's appreciate the late 1980's for what they were ... some of my best basketball memories ever. But those days are over and we've had a lot of great years since. Let's enjoy them for what they are.

  19. Golden89

    That sort of was my point... sorry if I lost it along the way...Trust me Tom Chapman is anything but a coaching Guru...

    The overall idea was that a full-time PR team is not going to have an impact on the product...

    Gannon like every other other school has a PR dept... it's called the SID office...

    But yes Chapman/Elwell were master manipulators it also helped that we could promise the money (guarantee), and adequate hotel space, and knew (because of the GM classic, and the Porreco cup) what hosting an event like that would cost, so Bud worked the numbers for it to be profitable, but also included the requisite needs of the NCAA's. Part of the reason for the rule changes (not solely GU but other similar schools exploited the system as well.

  20. I see Tom Church apparently did not want to put up with Erie winters. Florida Southern just announced him as a new assistant couch.

  21. Jesse Ogden, one of the leading scorers in Edinboro hoops history and their all-time leader in three-pointers, is Canadian. Just saw that in the Edinboro alumni magazine.

    I still have a headache from hearing over the PA at McComb Fieldhouse: "THREEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!! Thaaaaaaat's Jesseeee Ogdennnnnn!!!!!"