2005 Focus: Lewis Clinch

Lewis Clinch isn't your ordinary player. Instead of worrying about a possible logjam at his position, the Crisp County (Ga.) High 6-3 1/2 guard instead welcomes the challenge and lists one school at the top of his list that already has a pair of big-time in-state guards coming into the program.

Korvotney Barber isn't the only Georgia product to slip through the cracks. Lewis Clinch is another one whose nearly come out of nowhere.

The Crisp County (Ga.) 6-3 ½, 185-pound rising senior shooting guard averaged 26 points per game a year ago, but it took until this year – his first on the national AAU circuit – to get the attention of some of the big-time colleges down south.

``I think I bring something different to the table than a lot of the top guards in my class," Clinch said. "A lot of them can either shoot the 3-pointer or get to the basket. I can shoot the three-ball and also bring the dribble-drive."

Clinch, whose favorite player these days is Ben Gordon, gave up football a year ago even though he was slated to be the starting wide receiver this past season and the starting quarterback his senior campaign. He made the move to concentrate solely on basketball.

The 16-year-old Clinch has now become a big-time target for Georgia, Georgia Techm Auburn, Florida, Alabama, Miami and Indiana.

``Everything changed after the Charlie Weber tournament," Clinch said. "People were asking where I've been hiding, but I've been doing this for a while. I've just never played on the national level."

On one hand, Clinch said he'd like to go somewhere he can get some playing time and make an impact fairly quickly – as he was able to do early on in his high school career. However, he also said that he's not afraid to earn playing time – and that's why he's strongly considering Georgia – despite the fact coach Dennis Felton has already received commitments from in-state guards Louis Williams and Mike Mercer.

``A lot of people have told me not to look at Georgia," he added. "But I'm keeping them in there because they're trying to build a national championship program and that's something I can be a part of. It'd be a challenge for me to get playing time and step up my game with the guards they have coming in there."

``I'm going to be patient and see who will stick with my after July," Clinch continued." I want to see which schools have been with me before July and which stay with me afterwards. That way you know whose "A" list you're on."


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