Chris Clemons: The Ultimate Underdog

Early Life and Upbringing

Christoper Adam Clemons was born on July 23, 1997, in Raleigh, North Carolina. His parents divorced at a young age which led to him having 2 pairs of parents. Chris spent weekdays with his father and stepmother and spending weekends with his mother and stepfather. Due to spending a majority of his time with his father, Carlyton Clemons, he picked up a basketball at a very young age. Chris would sleep with a basketball at night, like it was his security blanket. Chris tired baseball and football but his love of basketball always drove him to the sport. Clemons would grow up idolizing Allen Iverson for his never-ending confidence and his short stature compared to other NBA stars. Chris would backup taller, often less talented players in middle school and rec league games. This frustrated him, but his father told him to keep his head up because the situation would soon change.

High School Career

Chris Clemons attended Millibrook High School in Raleigh, North Carolina from 2012-2015 where he has an amazing basketball legacy. Chris also played for North Carolina Red Storm AAU team where he became to starter after his sophomore year of high school. During his junior year of his school, Chris would start at for the MIllibrook Wildcats. During a tournament in 2014, Clemons and Millibrook took on the #2 ranked recruit in the nation Brandon Ingram and his team from Kinston. With all time great coaches, Mike Krzyzewski from Duke and Roy Williams from North Carolina in attendance, Ingram was outplayed by Clemons who is an entire foot shorter than he is. Clemons scored 37 and Ingram scored 5 in what ended up being a victory for Millibrook. Clemons left Millibrook as a 2-year starter. Chris holds multiple school and state records, such as most 3-pointers in a season with 100, most points in a single season with 699, and most points in a game with 41.

MaxPreps/Chris Clemons

College Career

Even after an amazing high school career, Clemons received little interest from colleges. Chris was offered 3 total scholarships, and eventually committed to Campbell University in Buies Creek, NC. Campbell coach Kevin McGeehan said that the program was attracted to Chris because of his high confidence and 44-inch vertical leap. Chris would become one of the greatest scorers in NCAA history. While being the Big South Freshman of the Year, Chris led his team to an impossible run through the Big South Tournament. In 3 tournament games, Chris put up 37.6 PPG. Including a performance against UNC-Ashville where he recorded 51 points. Clemons continued his dominance throughout his college career. He became the greatest player in Big South history, recording 3225 total points in his career which ranks 3rd all-time. Chris graduated from Campbell in 2019, receiving 3rd Team All-American honors from USBWA and hopeful for his NBA future.

NBA Draft and Summer League

Unfortunately, Chris Clemons was not selected in the 2019 NBA Draft. But that’s okay, Chris has always been an underdog. Shortly after the Draft, however, Clemons signed an Exhibit 10 contract with the Houston Rockets. As part of the deal, Clemons would play as part of the Rockets Summer League team. Clemons stole the show for Houston as he put up 20.8 PPG, 4,4 RPG, 1.6 SPG while shooting 43.1% from 3 on 11.6 attempts per game. Clemons finished one game with a double-double recording 18 points and 10 rebounds as a 5 foot 9 guard. After that game, Clemons said “They messed up and the Rockets didn’t.” referring to all 29 teams that did not select him in the Draft or sign him afterward.

How He Fits with the Rockets

To the naked eye, Chris Clemons skills translate very well to the NBA and especially to the system the Houston Rockets run. During his senior year at Campbell, Chris Clemons attempted more 3 point shots than 2 point shots, which the Rockets are the first team in NBA history to accomplish that. Another aspect of the game the Rockets are known for is getting to the free-throw line. Clemons shot a total of 860 free throws and made 733 of them. Clemons performed very well for Houston in the Summer League and many Rockets fans believe he deserves a roster spot. But after all, if he’s rejected it wouldn’t be the first time was an underdog.

Twitter: @ThaBestOps

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