Utah Utes basketball: Will Clyburn shows steady improvement
Utah started recruiting him early, backed off a little, then came on strong late in the season. Clyburn said he chose Utah because of its playing style and because he thought coach Boylen could help him improve as a player. He has enjoyed it so far and calls Utah "the right place for me."
Clyburn was one of nine new players on a rebuilding Utah team this year and it didn't take long for him to establish himself as the team's best player.
Everyone talks about his "smoothness" on the hardwood and his versatility in being able to score around the hoop, with mid-range jumpers or from 3-point range.
"He rebounds, he steals the ball, he's a good shooter — he's the best overall player we've had since we've been here," says Boylen.
As smooth as Clyburn looks with his outside shooting and ability to glide down the lane for layups, one of the most impressive parts of his game has been his toughness on the boards. The only Ute players with better rebound averages over the past two decades are Luke Nevill, Andrew Bogut, Keith Van Horn and Josh Grant, who all played center or power forward.
When asked what makes Clyburn such a good rebounder as a 6-6, 200-pound small forward, Boylen says, "He goes. We tell guys when you go, good things happen and he consistently goes. He also has a great feel and values (rebounding) and has been very coachable about rebounding."
Clyburn says there are no secrets to rebounding. It helps having a 7-foot wingspan, jumping ability and good timing, but it's mostly effort.
"You never know where the ball is going to land," he says and then parrots his coach. "If you just go, good things happen. You never know if you don't go."
For Clyburn it's that effort he shows on the glass and in working hard in the gym that may allow him to play professionally, perhaps even in the NBA someday. Boylen, a longtime NBA assistant, believes Clyburn has a chance if he can put on more weight, increase his core strength and keep improving his defense.
"That's the dream," Clyburn says of making it to the next level. "I'm just going to keep working and take it day by day. I would love to get the opportunity."
If he keeps improving as much as he has the past couple of years, Clyburn just may accomplish his dream someday.
Will Clyburn by the numbers
Stat. . .Avg.. . .MWC rank
Points 19.3 2nd
Rebounds 8.3 2nd
Steals 1.4 9th
FG pct. 46.3 5th
3-Pt pct. 43.6 5th
FT pct. 78.6 3rd
Minutes 36.6 1st
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