Dime Q&A: Central Florida’s Keith Clanton On NCAA Penalties And Turning Down Kentucky

By: 09.20.12
Keith Clanton

Keith Clanton (photo. UCF Athletics)

Dime: I’ve read that some have called your decision a small beacon for good in college sports because of the loyalty, the rare player who sticks around. Has the reception to your answer been surprising?
KC: It’s good attention but at the same time I didn’t think it was the best decision for me to leave.

Dime: It sounds black-and-white now, but it couldn’t have been that easy, right?
KC: It was harder than I expected, especially saying to coach (Leonard) Hamilton at Florida State I wouldn’t be coming. It was hard but every coach told me to do what’s best for them and I feel like I did that.

Dime: What was reaction close to you about your decision to stay and turn down the bigger schools?
KC: I had some people think I was crazy and that I should have gone to a different school but all the scouts know where to find players and they can find them anywhere. They found the dude Kenneth Faried at Morehead State. If they can find him there, if you have the talent, they’ll find you.

Dime: With your other seniors Marcus Jordan, C.J. Reed and Josh Crittle all gone (Jordan left unrelated to sanctions and is still in school at UCF), what is this team like?
KC: I feel like it’s business as usual but now we’re going to come out harder and with a chip on our shoulder to prove we’re an NCAA tournament team but just that we can’t make it. We can still finish in the Top 25 and win all our games. That’s our plan.

Dime: Have you talked with Crittle, Reed or Jordan since they left the team (Reed and Crittle transferred, while Jordan stayed in school but left the team)?
KC: Yeah I talk to them both. They’re still good friends, what they did was best for them. I can’t blame them for that.

Dime: With no postseason, what is there to look forward to about this season?
KC: This makes us want to play harder now actually. We can still beat Florida, we still beat Miami, South Florida.

Dime: So who are some of those young players you’re expecting now to step into roles opened by Josh and Marcus’ departures?
KC: Isaiah Sykes I really like and nobody gives it to him. I also really like our freshmen Matt Williams and Daiquan Walker. They’re going to be ready to play and they’re just as good as Marcus. We have a lot of pieces no one really has seen yet. I feel like everybody is playing well and no one’s spot is safe, not even mine. Everyone has to go out and prove themselves. Everybody just has to come out and play practices like it’s a game. We have to show everyone just because we can’t play in the NCAA Tournament doesn’t mean we can’t win all our games.

Dime: This might be the one chance to say you want to average a certain number or talk all about your personal goals and no one would bat an eye. With no postseason, do you come into this with personal benchmarks you want for yourself?
KC: I don’t feel like a number’s there or nothing I want to get but I want to show every time I’m on the court I’m the best player on the court.

Should he have stayed at Central Florida or played somewhere else?

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