Montray Clemons spent his first two years of college in the Midwest and his third in the Southeast. For his final two years, the Baltimore native is headed west.
Clemons, a 2010 Poly graduate and former DePaul and Pensacola (Fla.) State College player, committed this week to San Francisco.
“I’m excited, moving from the East Coast to the West Coast,” said Clemons, who was also recruited by Morehead State, Kent State, Towson, Tennessee Tech, Marshall, Hofstra, Duquesne, Louisiana Tech, Illinois-Chicago, Robert Morris, Iona, Albany, Western Illinois and UMBC. “It was my first time really being in Cali. I’m excited about the experience and playing in a different league.”
Clemons, who completed a post-grad year at MACK Academy in North Carolina after graduating from Poly, took a medical redshirt his freshman season in DePaul. During his second season in Chicago, the 6-foot-7, 230-pound forward appeared in 19 games for the Blue Demons, averaging 1.3 points and 1.1 rebounds. He decided to leave DePaul after that 2012-13 season.
“It wasn’t the right fit anymore,” Clemons said. “After I got injured [the year before], coming back, I think I just needed a fresh start. That pretty much was the majority of it. I just needed a fresh start coming off the redshirt year, start all over.”
Clemons then headed to Pensacola, where he played half the year and earned his associate's degree by January. Transitioning from the Big East to junior college “was definitely tough.”
“It was a humbling experience, very humbling,” he said. “It makes you more appreciative of everything you get when you do get to the next level. Coming out of prep school and going right to the Big East, a high-major conference, you almost get spoiled and start believing things that happened to you are supposed to happen. Going back to JUCO was not supposed to happen. It definitely humbled me a lot, made me more appreciative of everything I’ve got.”
With his degree in hand, Clemons left Pensacola in the winter and returned to Baltimore, where he focused on recruiting and picking a new school. He initially expressed reservations about going out to the West Coast, but after talking with a former prep school (Chris Adams) teammate and a former DePaul teammate (Derrell Robertson), both of whom currently play for the Dons, he decided to take the leap.
“They play inside-out, come down, try to get the big man the ball and work off him, spread the floor with shooters,” Clemons said. “I’ve got a chance to come right in and start if I work hard. The opportunity is definitely there.”
He’s excited about “just finally getting a chance to play on a winning team and finally getting a chance to do what I love,” Clemons said. “I just want to play ball and win. I think going to San Francisco is the best opportunity for me to do those things. Since I got to college, I haven’t had the career I’ve wanted to have. I think it’s my chance to have the career I’ve always wanted to have.”