Chris Clover enrolled at St. Joe's last summer with quite the prep school resume. He was coming off a tremendous senior season playing for Speedy Morris at St. Joe's Prep that saw him average 20.7 points per game en route to Philadelphia Catholic League MVP honors. Things changed a bit when he got to St. Joe's, though.
Clover saw action in 20 games last year as a freshman, but was not a primary part of the Hawks' rotation. In fact, a year removed from scoring over 20 per game in the Catholic League, Clover scored a grand total of two field goals in his freshman year, shooting 2-22 from the field, including 2-13 from downtown. Confidence, or lack thereof, was certainly an issue for Clover. "I think he just needs that one breakthrough moment that gives him that much-needed shot of confidence," Hawk assistant coach Dave Duda said of the 6'3 Clover. "No one has put in more time to improve. He is getting many more baskets in practice, and we are encouraging him to take every good shot that is available."
A year ago, Clover was behind the likes of DeAndre Bembry and Aaron Brown on the wing. This year, St. Joe's has James Demery, who was profiled here on Friday, along with freshmen Charlie Brown and Nick Robinson. Minutes will be there this year for Clover, minutes that weren't a year ago. And that point is not lost on Chris or the coaches. "He knows that he will get his chance this year, and we all feel he is going to take advantage of it. He should play a much larger role this year," Duda explained.
Lamarr Kimble and Shavar Newkirk figure to play a lion's share of the minutes as ball-handlers this year. But beyond that, it's relatively wide open. If Phil Martelli elects to play Newkirk and Kimble together for long stretches, the Hawks could go small with the two 6-footers in the backcourt, Charlie Brown at the four, and then one of James Demery, Chris Clover, or Nick Robinson at the three. When one of Newkirk and Kimble sits, the Hawks could play two of those three, Demery, Robinson, and Clover.
This year's Hawk team does have some versatility and some movable parts. What it doesn't really have is an abundance of scoring options. Last year, Chris Clover wasn't a threat offensively on the court. If he can become that threat this year, and he has the frame and physicality to do so, he will see significant playing time. Opportunities will be there, and his assistant coach believes he's put in the work to take full advantage of them.