Big men like Montray Clemons have become a hot commodity during the spring NCAA signing period. Clemons had received interest from a variety of mid-major schools and some high-major schools, but wasn't a qualifier in the fall signing period.
Once Clemons received his standardized test score last month, his recruitment began to take off. Coaches like Auburn's Tony Barbee, DePaul's Oliver Purnell, and Illinois' Bruce Weber all made their way to Charlotte to see Clemons in action.
Alabama, Tennessee, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Seton Hall, Texas Tech and Virginia Tech all showed increased interest in the 6-8, 220 lb. forward who grew up in Baltimore.
"He got his score and his recruitment just went through the roof," said Cecil Kirk AAU coach Anthony Lewis.
Clemons planned his first official visit to DePaul for this weekend and didn't need to look any further.
"It was a great experience," said Montray. "It was a great visit. I felt like I fit right into the program."
Clemons had considered visiting Illinois and Texas Tech later in the week, but on Sunday afternoon Clemons told Purnell that he wanted to become a Blue Demon.
"He was happy to hear it," Clemons said of Purnell.
Clemons is both relieved and happy to have this decision behind him.
"I'm glad it's over," said Montray. "I finally know where I'm going and can stay focused on that now."
A big part of Clemons' decision was Purnell's high-octane uptempo style of basketball and the attraction of playing in the Big East conference.
"It's a great opportunity, a chance to play basketball in the Big East," said Clemons. "Their style of play is great. My style is the same as DePaul plays."
Another factor for Clemons was studying in the City of Chicago.
"I like the city and the people," said Clemon. "The team was great. It had everything I ever wanted in a college."
Clemons will give Purnell some much needed size, a rebounder, and depth in the frontcourt, which is something the Blue Demons lacked this season.
Montray knows that in order to play in the Big East there are some things that he'll have to work on.
"I'm a four and I can face-up," said Clemons. "Being in the Big East I know you have to be strong. I have to get stronger going forward."
Clemons becomes the third member of the Blue Demons from Baltimore. He joins current freshmen Brandon Young and Cleveland Melvin who both hail from Baltimore. Clemons and Melvin both played for Lewis on the Cecil Kirk team and have been friends for a long time. He was especially happy for Melvin when he won the Big East's Rookie of the Year award in March.
"I was proud of him of course when he got Big East Rookie of the Year," said Montray. "We played AAU all our lives together. We grew up together."
Clemons told WeAreDePaul.com that he plans to sign his national letter of intent later tonight or tomorrow once he returns to Baltimore.
Clemons Talks More About Decision
We Are DePaul Top Stories
On Campus: Weekend of September 24thA number of the nation's top prospects will take official and unofficial visits this weekend. Who is headed where? Scout breaks down the key visits of the weekend.
Scout HoopsFriday at 5:07 AM
DePaul Learns Big East ScheduleCHICAGO – The Big East conference unveiled the 2016-17 conference schedule today as well as TV assignments for FOX and CBS coverage with the Blue Demons opening on the road at…
We Are DePaul09/13/2016
Hoops Recruiting Inside ScoopWhat's the latest on the top recruits in the country? Scout's basketball recruiting team -- Evan Daniels, Brian Snow and Josh Gershon -- break down the latest.
Updated 2018 Top 100The 2018 player rankings have been extended from a top 75 to a top 100. Marvin Bagley, a 6-foot-10 power forward, held on to the No. 1 spot, while Zion Williamson and Romeo…