Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Conflicted Eric McClellan

The undisputed star of the Gold Bombers is Eric McClellan. While Nate Watkins is the off-the-court leader of the Gold Team, Eric or "E", is the on-court leader both with his play and his vocal nature. E had to sit out this year after transferring here from Tulsa where he averaged 8.5 points for the Golden Hurricane last year, but decided to transfer when the head coach at Tulsa was let go.

The only reason E is on the Gold Team is because he is ineligible this year. If he were eligible he would be one of the best players on the team, and he will make a huge impact on the team next year. He is a 6'5" pure point guard who is also a very good shooter, and someone who can get to the rim easily. He also gives 100 percent every time he steps on the court. He doesn't coast or take plays off, even if he gets hit hard going to the rim.

Most importantly though, E is a vocal leader. It would be easy for a guy as talented as Eric to act like a jerk or be selfish while playing with the Gold Team because he is far and away the most talented player (other players in the past have done that), but he has never done that. He always looks to get his teammates involved and never gets mad or shows poor body language around them, and is relentlessly positive. He always shouts out "good play" or "good shot" when one of his teammates does something well and is the first person to help them up. I think part of the reason E fits in so well with the Gold Team is that he had no high-major offers coming out of high school, so he can identify with being in that underdog role trying to prove himself every day, and he certainly has.

For example, during pre-season workouts Eric was recovering from a foot injury and while a lot of guys would sulk or feel sorry for themselves, E did the exact opposite. He was at every workout cheering other guys on, clapping on the side, and being attentive during the drills. His positive approach to dealing with injury was the best I've seen of anybody during my time here. It was very impressive, as is his attitude during the games. Even though he doesn't play, nobody cheers harder than E for the team to succeed. After every made basket, he is like a human pogo stick, jumping up and down wildly because he is so happy for his teammates, and that is why next year will be so hard for E.

Due to the fact that he is one of our better players, E will certainly be on the Black Team in practice next year. There is no doubt, but E has become so infatuated with the #Gold4Life(G4L) culture of the Gold Bombers that he doesn't want to turn his back on Gold Team. I think what E may attempt to do is try to make Gold the new Black so that he can retain his personal G4L status and convert a whole new group to Gold as well. I don't expect that to happen, but while E will be playing a lot of minutes next season, part of him will be torn about leaving the Bombers behind.

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