Among Keady's incoming recruits, Luther Clay is the prize. After
battling back from a torn knee ligament, Clay led Maine Central Institute
to a 34-6 record this season. He shot 58.9 percent from the field and
70.1 percent from the line. He scored an average of 17.3 points per game
and 11.1 rebounds. Clay, a 6'8", 215 pound forward, is widely considered
one of the nations top 20 seniors and was named a McDonald's High School
MCI coach Max Good, who helped groom Miller and Austin, says that
Clay is the real deal. "He started out slowly because of the injury but
played pretty darn well down the stretch," Good said. "The last 10 or
12 games he was back to normal. He's an explosive kid and a good
Good, however, said Clay will have an eye-opening experience when
he begins to play for Keady. "He's going to have to sustain his defensive
effort, and he's going to have to become much tougher mentally," Good
said. "He's also got to become more consistent."
Clay also must pass a college entrance exam. He'll take the
SAT and ACT on consecutive weekends in April. "I don't have an idea if he
will pass it," Keady said. "If he doesn't, he'll probably go to school
here like Glenn Robinson did. He'll have to work this summer and save
some money, and he'll get a Pell Grant."
If Clay is eligible, Keady plans to give the forward plenty of
minutes. "Luther is going to give us some athleticism so that maybe we can
press again," Keady said. "I would like to be more active there, but
Waddell and Cuonzo just wouldn't let you do that. They were too limited
because of their knee surgeries, but they played good half court defense."
Luther Clay has signed a national letter of intent and will enroll
Luther was chosen to play in the McDonalds All-Star game on April 2.
Coming off the bench, he was primarily concentrating on defense. He
finished 1-1 from the field (dunk) and 1-2 from the line with 3 points.
Luther Clay was listed as a possible participant in the Run & Slam AAU
tourney on May 5-7 but was not in attendance.
5-17-95...Luther Clay has officially signed to play for Purdue, but
as of now, he is not eligible to play next year. Clay still has not
received the minimum score on either the SAT or ACT according to Max Good.
Good has said that Clay just took the most recent SAT and ACT tests that
were offered and he believes he paid the extra money to get his scores
But a more immediate problem is that Clay doesn't meet the NCAA
core class requirements. Clay's absence from many all-star games this
summer has been due to his concentration on his studies to meet these
requirements. According to Good, "He's on a tightrope with that."
5-18-95...Clay, along with sophmore Brad Miller, are two of 42
players that have been invited to the 1995 USA Men's Junior World
Championship Trials. The trials will be held June 9-11 at the US
Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. The players were selected
by USA Basketball's 10 member Men's Collegiate Committee, chaired by
former USC coach George Raveling. The squad will be chosen following
the completion of the trials. Kelvin Sampson (Oklahoma) will direct
the USA squad while Perry Clark (Tulane) and Bill Herrion (Drexel) will
assist. Some of the other players selected to compete include Kevin
Garnett, Charlie Miller, Maceo Baston, Maurice Taylor, and Jerod Ward.
The 1995 Junior World Championships will be held July 12-22 in Athens,
6-09-95...Max Good said today that Clay has scored a 890 on his latest
SAT, surpassing the NCAA's freshman eligibility minimum score of 830. Clay
completed the graduation requirements for MCI last week and participated in
commencement on Sunday. Clay arrived at MCI three years ago with an
academic background that included several special education classes. Coach
Good said, "Luther's only problem was that for a long time, he was told that
he couldn't do it in the classroom. I said all along that he could do it."
Now Clay and Purdue must wait for the NCAA's academic clearinghouse's
review of transcripts and the SAT score. The review of the transcripts will
determine if Clay has reached the NCAA's core class requirements. If the
review on both issues if favorable, Clay will be eligible for the 1995-96
7-07-95...In a televised interview, Coach Price said the program
is still awaiting word from the NCAA as to whether Clay meets core
eligibility. He expects a decision in a few weeks (early August). Gene
Keady was recently quoted in a J&C article saying he was "cautiously
7-12-95...Luther found himself guarding Cuonzo Martin in scrimmages
in Mackey arena this week. Martin said, "He's a pretty good ball player.
He's going to be a big time player for Purdue." Although Martin showed that
he had not lost his 3-point shooting touch, Luther was impressive in his
first scrimmage with the team. The third play of the first game was an
impressive two-handed dunk. "Everybody gets butterflies when they first play
with guys like this, but they didn't last," Clay said.
Clay said that along with scrimmaging with his new teammates, he
wants to get into the weight room. "I'll begin lifting as soon as I build up
enough courage," Clay said, "because all these guys have big bodies." Mass
isn't the only benefit Clay will see in the weight room. He is still
recovering from an injured knee ligament from last season at MCI. "It's
going to take a little bit of time because it's not healed up 100 percent,
it's about 80 percent." Former MCI teammate Chad Austin said, "He played
pretty good for the first time, but he is out of shape and he's got a bad
knee so he's just working on that right now."
7-20-95...Gene Keady stated that the problem with Clay's eligibility
revolves around his grade point average. Depending on the way it is
computed by the NCAA, he either has a 2.009 or a 1.998. The NCAA requires
a 2.0 to qualify. Keady went on to dispel the notion that Clay is going
to be the next Glenn Robinson. Keady instead described him as a better
8-18-95...Purdue continues to wait for the final word from the
NCAA clearinghouse on the eligibility of Luther Clay. A decision is
expected anyday. The clearinghouse processes transcripts and standardized
tests for each incoming Division 1 freshman. In an interview yesterday,
Bruce Weber said, "They're behind in opening the mail because everyone
is kind of jamming their stuff in at the last minute. I think they're a
few days behind. Once they get all of his mail together, we're hoping
to hear something by the end of the week.''
8-22-95...Luther Clay has been declared eligible to play for the
upcoming season. Considering Brantley will be sharing much of the
center position with Miller, that puts Clay in the mix with four senior
forwards. "If I got a guy breathing down my neck everyday, then I'm going
to hump it up and stay ready," Clay said. "If guys are competitive, then they
are going to bust their butt everyday because they want to get on the court."
Due to a student's right to privacy, the Purdue administration and
coaches were not permitted to discuss the status of Clay, but he made the
official announcement himself yesterday afternoon.
"He could have a hell of an impact," assistant coach Kendrick said.
"He is a legitimate 6-8 or 6-9, he has a long wing span, a 39 inch vertical
jump, runs the floor extremely quick, tremendous jump hook shot, great
shot blocker, and he is going to be a hell of a rebounder for us. I wouldn't
speak of him in the same breathe as Glenn because he doesn't have the same
work ethic as Glenn," commented Kendrick on the comparisons to Glenn
Robinson. "He also doesn't handle the ball as good as Glenn, and he's not
a warrior like Glenn. Those are three qualities that separate you from
becoming a great player."
Clay has been adapting to the Purdue style well so far with the
help of former teammates Miller and Austin. "Chad and Brad have helped out
a lot. Right now everything else is going pretty good, except it's so
damn hot here."
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