By defeating Alabama 44-16 in the National Championship, this Clemson Football team proved that they deserve to be ranked among the best ever. You may have thought that now is the time the players rest because the football season is over, but a lot of them don’t, as intramural basketball season has begun.
If you think about it, it really isn’t surprising that these players are playing intramural basketball, because all of them love to compete and many of them played basketball in high school.
Before committing to play football at Clemson, Tee Higgins had basketball scholarship offers from Louisville, Tennessee and Auburn. Justyn Ross also has a basketball background, as he was the Alabama dunk champion and he once considered leaving football for basketball in high school. With bright futures in the NFL ahead of them, it is safe to say that Higgins and Ross made the right call choosing football, though they probably jumped at the chance to play some basketball again.
Lots of Clemson football players are playing intramural basketball, but some teams stand out because they are composed almost entirely by football-based players. “Clemson Football,” “ROY,” “Natty Daddys” and “Slate Nation” are all intramural basketball teams that are filled with some of Clemson’s best football players. They are not the only teams with football players, however, as some players like Will Swinney and Will Spiers are on other teams.
The “Clemson Football” team is a powerhouse with Cornell Powell (captain), Chase Brice, Travis Etienne, Tee Higgins, Jaelyn Lay, Diondre Overton, Nyles Pinckney, Justyn Ross, Isaiah Simmons and Shaq Smith. In person, “Clemson Football” looks like the best team in the league and might be the best team to ever play intramural basketball at Clemson. Although, “Roy” seems to be a close second to the “Clemson Football” team, as their roster consists of Tremayne Anchrum (captain), Eric Burks, Ty Lucas, Jackson Carman, David Jen, Trevor Lawrence, Isaac Moorhouse, Joseph Ngata, Darien Rencher, Aaron Walker and K’Von Wallace.
The “Clemson Football” team proved to be the better team when they beat “Roy” 47-39 on Feb. 10th. After the game, I caught up with Cornell Powell and Tee Higgins to talk about their team. They said that Clemson football players have been playing intramural basketball for years now and their team is the same team from last year. Head coach Dabo Swinney and the other coaches are all for it, as even some of them play.
Although there is a risk of injury (Jordan Williams will not be able to play football in the spring because he injured his leg playing basketball) Swinney does not think that that is a good enough reason for them not to play, saying “it is what it is” and “these guys need to be kids too.” In addition, Swinney understands how much fun his football team has and how they take intramural basketball seriously. He said that the older guys on the team are “like a bunch of vultures,” trying to evaluate the new guys to see who they want on their team.
Remember, too, that these future NFL players and champion-caliber athletes are playing basketball against your average Clemson student. Although there are more games left to play in intramural basketball, it is very likely that “ROY” and “Clemson Football” will see each other again in the playoffs.