April 17, 2019 / Trailblazer basketball player Keith Clemons signs with 2018 NCAA Division I Final Four program
Keith Clemons photo
VINCENNES, Ind. – Vincennes University sophomore men’s basketball player Keith Clemons is going from one winning program to another.
The 6-foot-1 sophomore guard has signed a letter of intent to play for Loyola University Chicago, which reached the NCAA Division I Final Four in 2018.
The Ramblers won the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season title the past two seasons.
“They’ve had some good success over the past few years and they’ve had a good stretch in the tournament with the Final Four,” Clemons said.
Clemons played a huge role in helping the Trailblazers win the 2019 NJCAA Division I national championship in March.
“Keith is an absolute winner who was a state champion in high school and a national champion at the junior college level,” Loyola-Chicago Coach Porter Moser said. “He’s an extremely competitive defender and has the speed to play the pace we like. He has a high basketball IQ and is the ultimate competitor.”
Clemons averaged a team-high 4.4 assists per game and was second in scoring with 15.1 points per game for the Trailblazers this season. In the national title game, he scored 17 points, tallied seven assists, drained two 3-pointers and grabbed two rebounds in an 87-77 victory over Ranger (Texas). It was VU’s first national championship since 1972 and fourth in program history.
In recognition of his performance in the tourney, Clemons was named to the All-Tournament Team.
He also received All-Region 24 honors.
Clemons averaged 10.9 points and 2.3 assists in his first season at VU.
“With the freshmen coming in, combined with (Paris Junior College transfer Jalon Pipkins) and Keith, we have added as much athleticism and skill in one class since I’ve been at Loyola,” said Moser, who has coached the Ramblers for eight seasons. “All of them fit the mold of, high-character individuals who are competitors, winners and good students.”
Loyola-Chicago was 20-14 overall this season and played in the National Invitation Tournament.
“It’s a good fit for (Clemons) in terms of level and they have a need,” VU Coach Todd Franklin said. “They have been good and for them to continue to be good, they are going to have to have guards to come in and step in because their guards are gone. Keith has an opportunity to do that.”
Clemons is excited about the prospect of playing immediately.
“They’re graduating two guards and that will give me a chance to come in and pick up where I left off here, and hopefully I can be a fast impact and play right away,” Clemons said. “I think it would be great for me to go into a winning program and have the chance to play right away.
There were other factors why Clemons chose Loyola-Chicago.
“The Missouri Valley is one of the best mid-major conferences,” he said. “(Loyola-Chicago) has a great academic graduation rate and on my visit I had a great connection with the players and the entire coaching staff.”
Clemons plans to major in business at Loyola-Chicago. He is studying sports management at VU.
“With all that has happened in the last few years, Loyola is up and coming,” Franklin said. “There is a lot of facility growth. Coach Moser just turned down a lot of money to stay there instead of going to St. John’s. The commitment at Loyola has been really good. We like our guys to go to places where there is some stability and a winning culture. Our guys are used to that. Loyola now has an expectation to win.”
Vincennes University Newsroom
Vincennes University Trailblazer Athletics
MARCIA MARTINEZ, Sports Information Director & University Life Reporter
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VINCENNES UNIVERSITY, Department of University Relations, www.vinu.edu/newsroom