Prep's Clover commits to Hawks

Posted: August 05, 2014

LAST YEAR, St. Joseph's Prep star forward Chris Clover planned to announce himself as one of the city's top talents. Then a junior, all Clover did was average 22 points per game in Catholic League play and earn first-team honors from league coaches and the Daily News All-City squad.

Now, he can add a commitment to play college basketball at Saint Joseph's, a decision he made yesterday at SJU before the Prep played at the university's team camp.

However, don't for a second think that Clover believes his announcement is complete.

"It's getting there," he said yesterday during a phone interview. "Most definitely this season will be where I make my stamp. Last year, I still made the All-City team and averaged 22 points a game, and that was a statement, but this year I should definitely be one of the top players in the city, if not the top player."

At 6-4 and around 200 pounds, Clover is a forward with a voracious, but efficient appetite for points, scoring the bulk of the Hawks' baskets last season without bogging down the offense. His PCL total was second only to Bishop McDevitt's Tyrell Long (West Chester), who averaged 23 points per game as a senior.

Undoubtedly, Clover's efficiency has the fingerprints of Prep coach William "Speedy" Morris. And with his next skipper to be Saint Joe's Phil Martelli, the glut of coaching acumen at his disposal isn't lost on Clover.

"It's a great experience being coached by the top coaches," Clover said. "It'll help me become a better player and a better person, so it's a great feeling.

"Of course, Speedy is a great coach. So what Speedy teaches me I can use at the next level with Coach Martelli.

"Phil Martelli's a great guy and also a great coach. He talks mostly about family and I'm a family-type-of guy. My parents trust that he will make me become a better man and also one day, a pro."

Committing to the Hawks, Clover said, was a "family decision" made with help from his mother Crystal Brown and father Will Clover. But maybe an assist goes out to Ss. Neumann-Goretti guard Lamarr "Fresh" Kimble, who committed to the Hawks on Friday and persuaded Clover to follow suit.

"I kinda knew he was thinking St. Joe's and he knew I was kinda thinking St. Joe's, so he was like, we should do a package deal," Clover said with a laugh. "So he kinda influenced me to commit this early."

Kimble and Clover hope to follow St. John Neumann guard Rashid Bey (1994) and Archbishop Carroll's Bill Phillips (1997) - both in the SJU Basketball Hall of Fame (2005, 2010, respectively) - as most recent Hawk standouts that came from the Catholic League.

But there is time for that. For now, Clover is still focused.

"I'm satisfied, but I'm not," Clover said. "I can't go on what I did last year. I have to do the same thing and maybe even better."

Daily News sports writer Tyler R. Tynes contributed to this report

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