Clanton Looking Forward to Experience Overseas

May 17, 2011

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By Doug Richards

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - A self-described basketball junkie, Keith Clanton always seems to be talking about the game. The power forward, who is entering his junior campaign at UCF, constantly tries to learn more about the sport he loves, through playing, watching and listening.

The Orlando native will have plenty of learning opportunities in the coming weeks as he embarked on a trip to the Far East Tuesday as part of a cultural exchange trip. Clanton will compete on a college all-star team that will play nine games in China against club squads.

"I am real excited to go play in another country," he said. "It is a good chance to play against different players from overseas. I think it will be a good experience for me."

Clanton made great strides as a sophomore in 2010-11 for the Knights . An All-Conference USA Third Team pick, he averaged 14.2 points and a team-high 7.7 rebounds. He ranked third in C-USA in rebounds per game and was third in the league in field goal percentage (52.9).

The former Orlando Christian Prep star knows what aspects of his game that he wants to work on during the summer, and thinks the trip overseas will help him get a head start.

"I am trying to shoot the ball better. I am trying to get in better shape and be able to defend better."

Clanton will have some talented teammates, as his Reach USA squad features standouts including Jordan Hulls and Victor Oladipo of Indiana, Malik Story of Nevada, Garlon Green of TCU and Eloy Vargas of Kentucky. Hulls started all 32 games this past season, and averaged 11.0 points. Oladipo averaged 7.4 points for the Hoosiers. Story averaged a team-high 14.5 points and Green was second on his team in scoring at 11.2 points an outing. A member of Kentucky's Final Four squad, Vargas appeared in all 38 contests for the Wildcats.

UCF head coach Donnie Jones has had his players head overseas for similar tours in the past, and thinks that Clanton will certainly benefit from the time in the Far East.

"It is a great opportunity for him to travel and get to see a different country," Jones said. "He will get some game experience playing against, and with, some good players. It is a great opportunity for him to improve his game over the summer."

Clanton knows that he will learn off the court as well. He is looking forward to immersing himself in a different culture as well.

"It will be real cool. I am real excited. I will be able to see the Great Wall of China. I have always wanted to see that. It is a once-in-lifetime experience," he said.