April 27, 2009
As many as 16 former Clemson basketball lettermen have played or are currently playing professionally for the 2008-09 season. Two former Tiger basketball standouts, Greg Buckner and Will Solomon, played in the NBA during the regular season. Buckner played with Memphis, while Solomon played for both Toronto and Sacramento before heading to Europe.
Buckner completed his 10th season in the NBA in 2008-09. Buckner, who played at Clemson from 1994-98, appeared in 62 games for the Grizzlies with an average of 2.4 points and 2.1 rebounds per game. He had a season-high 13 points against the Los Angeles Clippers on Feb. 6. Solomon began the season with the Toronto Raptors, but was released and then signed by the Sacramento Kings. He averaged 4.9 points and 3.2 assists per game with Toronto, then 5.0 points per game with the Kings. Solomon recently signed to play with Fenerbahce Ulker in the Turkish Basketball League.
Five players who competed at Clemson under current Head Coach Oliver Purnell are playing professionally. Cliff Hammonds, like Solomon, plays in the Turkish Basketball League. The former third-team All-ACC performer has played in 22 games for Darussafaka and is averaging 13.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game. He is also shooting 46 percent on field goals as a professional rookie.
Hammonds’ former backcourt mates, Vernon Hamilton and Shawan Robinson, are competing professionally as well. Hamilton helped the Colorado 14ers to the NBA D-League championship, averaging 4.2 points and 2.0 assists in 21 games with the team. Robinson, a shooting guard for the Tigers from 2002-06, is playing in the Czech Republic. In 34 games, Robinson is averaging 11.9 points per game and shooting 43 percent from the field.
Sharrod Ford and Akin Akingbala, post players under Purnell, both compete in Europe. Ford, former third-team All-ACC player for Clemson, is averaging 12.0 points and 8.3 rebounds per game with La Fortezza Bologna in the Italian League. He scored a season-high 27 points versus Scavolini on Feb. 14. Akingbala is averaging 8.8 points and 6.6 rebounds per game for Sluc Nancy Pro in France.
A third post player under Purnell, James Mays, was playing professionally until an injury ended his season. Mays was averaging 18.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per game with the Colorado 14ers as one of the top rookies in the NBA D-League, but he suffered a torn Achilles on Dec. 30. Mays returned to Clemson for the spring semester and enrolled in classes.
Former Clemson point guards Terrell McIntyre and Edward Scott continue to excel overseas as well. McIntyre, former Italian League MVP and a three-time All-ACC honoree during his career at Clemson, has played in 41 games for Montepaschi Siena. He carried averages of 14.1 points, 5.0 assists, and 2.2 steals per game. He shot 40 percent on three-point goals. Scott played in 17 games for Polpharma in Poland, averaging 4.8 points and 2.4 rebounds per game.
Four additional players dating to the Rick Barnes era (1994-98) at Clemson are still competing overseas. Two of them, Iker Iturbe and Tom Wideman, are actually teammates with MMT Estudiantes in Madrid, Spain. Wideman is averaging 9.7 points and 4.3 rebounds per game, while Iturbe holds averages of 6.4 points and 1.6 rebounds per game. Iturbe, a native of Spain, is shooting 43 percent from beyond the three-point arc.
Harold Jamison has appeared in 26 games with Carife Ferrara in Italy, and has put up good numbers with that club. The Vance, SC native is averaging 14.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per game while shooting 68 percent on field goals. Andrius Jurkunas, who played at Clemson from 1995-2000, has appeared in 23 games with Szolnoki Olajbanyasz in Hungary, averaging 6.4 points and 4.7 rebounds per game.
Ray Henderson and Tomas Nagys, frontcourt players with the Tiger program from 1999-2003, also play in Europe. Henderson is averaging 14.3 points and 6.8 rebounds per game with Starwings Basket in Switzerland, while Nagys is at 9.4 points and 4.7 rebounds per game playing in Ludwigsburg, Germany.
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