New Cal guard DeJuan Clayton, signing up for his 3rd higher education workforce in seven seasons at the age of 25, has programs for his just one and only season at Berkeley.
“I assume us to win this calendar year,” he said, “and I count on to enjoy a significant role, a huge component and be a chief of the team.”
Clayton, who invested five several years at Coppin Point out and performed two video games at Hartford past season before struggling a really should harm, was informed of Cal’s latest woes before signing this spring.
“I appeared at their document,” he claimed, referring to the truth that the Bears’ 12-20 record previous time was their fifth straight shedding year. “Didn’t scare me, didn’t transform just about anything. Just figured we had work to do.”
Clayton, a 6-foot-2 indigenous of Bowie, Maryland, is among what coach Mark Fox hopes is a four-man team of newcomers bolstering the Cal roster this season. Forwards ND Okafor and Grant Newell are freshmen, and the Bears nonetheless are waiting for junior guard Devin Askew – a previous four-star prospect who put in one particular year each individual at Kentucky and Texas — to acquire transfer eligibility from the NCAA.
The Bears’ leading 3 scorers from a calendar year in the past are gone, and Clayton is the highest-scoring grad transfer the method has landed, a 1,500-place scorer who also dished 425 assists for the duration of his time at Coppin.
“I can surely rating the ball, I can playmake,” he explained. “Whatever the staff wants, I’m joyful to offer.”
Returnee Joel Brown, who commenced 24 online games at issue guard very last time, is a slick ballhandler, a powerful defender and a capable passer. But he averaged just 4.8 details a year back and is not a fantastic shooter from the perimeter or the cost-free-toss line.
Askew, if he gets to be suitable as the coaching team expects, also plays issue.
If that implies Fox out of the blue has as well lots of options at the place, it is a difficulty he possible would welcome.
Clayton averaged 14.9 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 5.1 helps in 2020-21, main Coppin to the MEAC regular-period title.
His job has advanced since his times at St. John’s School Large School in Washington D.C. He was among three point guards on that league championship group, using a backseat to Anthony Cowan and Jeff Dowtin, who went on to enjoy at Maryland and Rhode Island, respectively, and both equally now are pros.
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“For me, it was just finding my specialized niche with individuals guys. I was largely a defender back then. Translated my activity to catch and shoot,” claimed Clayton, who averaged just 7.9 factors as a substantial university senior. “Then the I acquired to Coppin and I translated to a main position guard, which was hard for me. The ball was in my arms. But remaining a normal scorer, it was quick for me to playmake and rating at the exact time.”
So Clayton has come to be comfortable enjoying the function of scoring point guard “I assume it is ideal for me,” he mentioned.
Coppin was the only Division I college that made available Clayton a scholarship and he suggests it aided him that he performed at Coppin for Juan Dixon, who led Maryland to the 2002 nationwide championship and afterwards performed seven NBA seasons.
“I acquired anything. Juan Dixon was more than a mentor, he was a mentor for me,” Clayton states in the video clip over. “He taught me a lot with staying a leader, my tempo, and how to harmony scoring with getting a playmaker producing teammates happy.”
Coppin struggled outside of MEAC enjoy through all those years, going 4-47 in November and December in game titles Clayton played. The Eagles typically have been in above their heads in non-meeting engage in towards the likes of BYU, Utah, Georgetown, Oregon, Cincinnati, UConn, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Virginia, Miami and Duke.
“It was challenging for us actively playing a whole lot of substantial-majors every single 12 months,” Clayton claimed. “As the several years went by we absolutely bought greater and bought closer and closer.”
Now he’ll get the probability to engage in versus that amount opponent on a regular foundation. He mentioned he chose Cal simply because Fox and assistant mentor Chris Harriman “treated me like a guy and explained to me they enjoy what I introduced to the desk. Told me they’d enable me be myself and enable me enjoy my match.”
Clayton reported he likes his new teammates and the do the job ethic they are displaying each day in workouts.
“I certainly feel like we come in with a chip on our shoulder even nevertheless it’s the summer season,” he explained, “knowing we have operate to do and figuring out we have a likelihood to be fantastic this yr.”
And if that happens?
“It’d be fantastic for me, mainly because it’s sort of what I assume.”
Address photo of DeJuan Clayton by Gary Breedlove
Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Athletics Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo